BARBORA BÁLKOVÁ

GRANDMAS

30. 4. – 9. 6. 2013

“For a long time my grandmas have only been just a hazy memory from my childhood. I used to know both women only as some sort of a story that is usually perpetuated in families about people who are no more. Libuse died when I was only one-year-old; Jirina in my age of six, but then she had been a long time mentally ill so she never talked to me. Pieces of their lives form an environment in which I live though. Through these things I have begun looking for my grandmas. For instance, why is there a “Svatoborice” inscription on a small copper heart? And where that peculiar and hand-made doll came from? Why Jirina wrote a three-page letter asking a jumper and stockings? So my thoughts went to Svatoborice by Kyjov, where Libuse was imprisoned at her age of 16 because of her father, high general on the Western Front. Or to psychiatric clinic in Prague where Jirina was put from time to time. As I could not be with my grandmas, at least I replaced it by an imaginary encounter with them in the photography. I strived to empathize with them in the crucial situations of their lives in the way I read about them. These are not stylized self-portraits, nor the portraits of my grandmothers. These are impressions loosely filtered and interpreted by me. In the photographs I used their authentic belongings.”
Barbora Bálková (1978, AVU Prague, Veronika Bromova’s New Media) captures through series of set-up self-portraits authentic family stories reflecting more general historical facts of the 20th century in a very symbolic way. Ten large format colour photographs and one very unexpected installation. www.barborabalkova.cz