Anna Daučíkova’s work is displayed at Tensta konsthall

By on April 29, 2019

Her work was among the more talked about in recent Documenta in Kassel two years ago. Anna Daučíková’s artistry slips seamlessly between activism, under cover, glassblowing and exile. With a life that has always gone counter-current, she has chosen the perspective of the invisible and formulated what seemed to history impossible to pronounce. Now her film About Allomorphing is shown at Tensta Konsthall.

One could say that Anna/Anča Daučíková is the first Czech-Slovak feminist female artist. If it were not for Daučíkova’s work to just problematize the terms. Who can claim to be first and who can be active in the name of a nation? And can a person who has been assigned the sex woman oppose to this becoming a woman? The 16-minute video is divided into three image planes with three parallel stories. In one, a person slowly places different variants of heel shoes, sandals, pumps, boots on top of books in a bookshelf, in one stands a figure, which is the artist, and push glass sheets against her body and in the third the same person browses in a book on plane geometric art. A narration voice testifies about a life sentence.

Daučíková was born in 1950 in former Czechoslovakia and, after graduating from the Academy of Arts in Bratislava, she moved to Moscow during the eighties during a time when everyone else went in the opposite direction. That time it was the love that drew. She followed a woman to a country where homosexuality simply did not exist. In Moscow, she provided herself as a glassblower and an undercover lesbian, while devoting herself to automatic abstract painting (like the Dadists at the beginning of the last century), photo and writing. In secret, she worked with the Scene Book (2014), in which she used state-of-the-art surveillance techniques to create a script for a film that was never realized, a scientific and literary and hysterically unworthy testimony of her neighbors’ sex life. She often traveled to Ukraine and visited wind-driven artists and intellectual dissidents. But she never did it for political reasons, just by love.

Thanks to her glass works and paintings, Daučíková became a member of the Soviet artists’ union. But just as with her homosexuality, her conceptual works and videos became invisible in Moscow. Had it not been so, she could have become the first Soviet lesbian artist or even the first Soviet video artist to be transgender. Daučíková’s movement from to Anča (now Anna) included switching from glasswork and painting to video by using the camera and editing as prosthetic-like organs. She returned to Bratislava in 1991, when – again – most moved in the opposite direction, where she participated in the founding of the queer feminist magazine Aspekt. Daučíkova’s work can be described as a political anatomy performed through a series of self-portraits using documentary techniques, fiction, traits and challenging gender norms, the church and the state.

Anna Daučíková holds an artist presentation on May 15 at 2 pm led by Maria Lind, Tensta konsthall’s former boss.

Helena Olofsson, Culture & Music | Tensta