BARBORA BÁLKOVÁ

ILUMINATA

10. 11. – 09. 12. 2008

The Iluminata project depicts different moments reflecting essential life periods that every human, having a standard possibility to grow in all aspects of that word, goes through. It deals with basic changes of an individual that relate to the process of growth, evolvement and maturing. In those circumstances therefore it considers such topics as family, relationships, motherhood, issues of a life-path choice etc. In the Iluminata project I look at those topics from my specific perspective, which is logically based on values rather determined by my female experience. Such an experience is transformed into visual form, in which it is then confronted with mythology, subliminal archetypes as well as some works taken from the history of art and symbols deriving from them.
The collection well may be based on my imagination and personal experience, nevertheless it is put on a generally comprehensible level, transformed into the language of symbols understandable to everyone belonging to a similar cultural and social background. The photographs thus help us map certain paths that we tread, driven by a desire to create and visualise stories of our mind.
I deliberately highlight a feature of magic in the depicted themes. This is achieved by a technique of illuminated foil on the transparent perplex as well as by the way the photograph is processed. Such procedures poignantly represent perception of reality as transformed by a holotropic breathing experience or a “reality” of an ordinary dream. Both of these subliminally existing processes produce visions speaking in a symbolic, yet clear language. Human psyche has an ability to simplify the content of such visions and transform them into the archetypal patterns. Such patterns can take on different history-like forms and still be understandable in present time and within our cultural boundaries. In the Illuminata series I have tried to get as close to the visual form of this perception as possible, by transforming normally perceived reality into some kind of a kaleidoscope full of colour contours, which create a grid-like luminescent structure around each central feature, thus connecting them with the outer space.
Stanislav Grof was in his psychiatric career for a long time involved in a research of altered states of consciousness. By exploring contents of visions generated in such a way, he noticed that they are often related to archetypes that clearly cannot be created in the individual mind, but probably originate in a collective unconsciousness. He also observed that the themes of such visions stem from the near-death experience or serious illness, physical abuse, separation or even from the pre-natal experience and the birth trauma, which, according to the present scientific knowledge on brain, cannot be remembered; nevertheless they are recorded in the subconscious.
The photographic Illuminata series consists of nine items. Each of them reflects on certain essential stage in the life of a woman from birth to death, which can be loosely transposed into the nine-month pre-natal period starting with merging a sperm with and egg down to the moment of birth as the end of an essential period of life, possibly perceived by the child as a form of death.

Pre natal, 2008, 152 x 102 cm, illuminated photograph, digital print, clear perplex
The birth, 2008, 152 x 102 cm, illuminated photograph, digital print, clear perplex
Childhood, 2008, 152 x 102 cm, illuminated photograph, digital print, clear perplex
Guard of the temple, 2008, 152 x 102 cm, illuminated photograph, digital print, clear perplex
Sub rosa (the lover), 2008, 152 x 102 cm, illuminated photograph, digital print, clear perplex
The desire, 2008, 152 x 102 cm, illuminated photograph, digital print, clear perplex
Motherhood, 2008, 152 x 102 cm, illuminated photograph, digital print, clear perplex
The future, 2008, 152 x 102 cm, illuminated photograph, digital print, clear perplex
Memento mori, 2008, 152 x 102 cm, illuminated photograph, digital print, clear perplex

Illumination – grand festive lighting, coulor drawn or painted picture in the medieval manuscripts (replaced by a print in the XVI century).

Illuminator – enlightener, a bearer of new ideas living in the XVIII and XIX century, a libertine, in our country such people were members of a society founded in 1776 by Prof. A. Weishaupt , which then was quite well-spread and resembled free masons; their main goal was self-improving and self-recognition; the society was secularly and anti-religion orientated and in a different form is active even in present time.

Luminescence – radiation of light (fluorescence) induced by various physical phenomena except for a high temperature, radiation of a light energy influenced by a different kind of energy, also characterised as phosphorescence or fluorescence.