Magda Valčíková


Magda Valčíková is the North Star of Studio Valčík. Since the mid-nineties she has not moved beyond the boundaries of painting. Magda Valčíková’s world of painting is made up of landscapes, the still-life and bouquets and today, whether this is the result of the role that her father’s teachings played or her own natural inclinations is not important. The fact that Magda Valčíková has not ventured beyond the boundaries of painting does not however mean that her painterly world is one of pure painting, i.e. the subject-less environment of surfaces and colors with no sense of volume and space. This is contradicted by her interest in traditional genres of painting. In her landscapes, bouquets and still-life paintings we usually encounter natural, introduced and artificial objects. Their forms are highly varied and the way in which they are created ranges from generalized outlines to very specific collages and assemblages. Even though Magda Valčíková’s still-life paintings are stylized and her landscapes are sometimes specific and at others more universalized Moravian locations or even dreamy landscapes, they never abandon the world of things. On the contrary, it is in fact the world of things that interests her the most. We only find living beings, people or moving animals in paintings quite rarely. The living world is one exclusively of trees, fields and meadows. In the still-life we do encounter the animal world but reduced to a minimum in the form of sitting or sleeping cats or completely unmoving, e.g. a crayfish on a table. The same is true for her bouquets, where the flowers in vases are still alive but removed from their natural environment. This characteristically silent world may lead to the hypothesis that Magda Valčíková is a still-life painter, a painter of anesthetized nature. Although this hypothesis may seem attractive at first glance, it doesn’t hold completely. Her landscapes provide the strongest resistance. Even if we accept the possibility that nature here is really idealized, dream-like and universalized, there are cases where even the painting’s titles evoke specific locations. Although this is sometimes directly, others via the paintings of other artists, it does not diminish the fact that they deal with specific landscapes. Here nature, represented by the elements and most importantly vegetation, and civilization, represented by various types of human dwellings, contrast with one another. This contrast between nature and civilization is the basic building block of Magda Valčíková’s paintings, providing evidence against the idea of intentionally pure painting.
In the language of painting, this means that tension between geometric and organic forms can be seen in her paintings. Magda Valčíková’s interests in painted volumes and spaces are also in conflict with the previously stated intention. Using this latter interest, we may state that her paintings are both sculptural and architectural. Even though her dwellings are primarily geometric surfaces and her vegetation controlled by the laws of growth, these two contrasts together contribute to the creation of sculptural and spatial dimensions in her paintings. Paintings by Magda Valčíková built up from sculptural shapes always have illusorily defined depth to them. This depth is not however subject to geometric or empiric perspective using either color or aerial views. On the contrary, by defying both approaches with inverted or altered perspectives, elements of naďve painting styles make their way into Magda Valčíková’s world of painting. These have become a continual source of inspiration for the artist. However, when we do allow the artist’s brushwork to speak to us, we do gradually move from the world of concrete things and appearances to the world of pure painting, to the world of minute, distinct splotches of color that define the world of living nature and to an environment of flowing surfaces marking natural elements and dwellings. The fixed star of Magda Valčíková’s painting is this dialogue between elements of pure and hybrid painting. It seems that this dialogue will guarantee a permanent state of surprise in the constant revival of the themes and genres of traditional painting.

Professor Marian Zervan, Ph.D. (b. 1952) is a theoretician and esthetician in the fields of art and contemporary architecture. I is the author of books of sacred iconography and as a curator has organized exhibitions on Slovak architecture at home and abroad. He has also written the catalogs for these exhibitions. He is an assistant professor at both the Faculty of Architecture of the Slovak Technical University in Bratislava and the College of Fine Arts in Bratislava.