Olina Francová


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Olina Francová’s Sexual Travesty – Art Always Desires to Go Beyond Itself

A reproduction of a painting by a less well-known French paintress of the late 18th century Constance Marie Charpentier was published on the cover of a Czech art magazine Výtvarné umění No. 1/93. This portrait featured a young woman artist Miss Charlotte Duval d’Ogne who was drawing at a large window in her studio. She could see a young couple by the window. The work evokes a sophisticated question: is the viewer seeing the face of a young woman artist? Or is the work seeing the viewer? According to Mirka Vodrážková the painting by Charpentier evidences two “extreme situations”: on one hand the painting extends ecstatically beyond itself and on the other hand a man “extends” beyond his/her subject. These both extreme limits are preconditions of a spiritual profound understanding of art work and human existence. This symbolical space of doublets – which we enter “in” though an invisible window and get “out” through the featured window – is the story of our knowledge: through the never ending process of germination of reality our new subjectivity has been constituted. Every art work evokes a question whether we are the masters or mere tenants of ous sight, reality and subjectivity.

Corporeal Logos or feminine Discourse. There was a provocative subtitle under the above mentioned reproduction: FEMININE ART DOES NOT EXIST. This statement was a result of an opinion poll that had been organised among Czech leading woman artists (Adriena Šimotová, Gábina Fárová, Zorka Ságlová and others). When in the early 1990s the Czech post-communist society was confronted with feminism the reaction was nervous, self-preservative, negative and dogmatic. The Czech leading woman writers identified with asexual Art. Art was found to be a super-gender transcendence. These preconceptions echoed the traditional hypocritical statement that the faith in Christ eliminated all differences. Mirka Vodrážková asked a question whether the result of the above opinion poll evidenced the fear of corporeality, the feminine spiritual world and feminism.

New Forms of Artistic Subjectivity. In contradiction to the Western woman artists(Rosemary Trockel, Valie Export and others) Czech woman artists were disinterested in feminine themes. Mirka Vodrážková found this lack of interest by woman artist in the “imprints of theirs bodies” to manifest the “refusal ob the body”. Mirka Vodrážková asked a question whether this fact evidenced a “social cultural anorexia”. Rare representatives of the NEW FEMININE SUBJECTIVITY are members of the “first woman artists’ group” KOZA NOSTRA that was established in 1993. The founding members were Alexandra Horová(drawing, enamel, paper-maché, jewellery), Magdalena Cubrová (monumental drawing and painting) and Olina Francová(enamel sculpture and painting).

Rituals of the Mass Media Excommunication. Mirka Vodrážková described in detail how the mass media broadcast the (disrespectful) non-information about the KOZA NOSTRA group. The media focused on the – traditionally feminine – charity purpose of the activities of the group (collecting money for mammoghraphs)and/or on the “scandalous” dimension (male Playboy like “rabbits” hosts) but the artistic aspect, particularly the specific feminine approach to art was totally omitted.

Our Thing – the Phallus. The exhibition of the works by Olina Francová and Alexandra Horová that was entitled Our Thing was held in Regional Museum in Kolín from October 6 to November 12, 2000. Concerning Francová the theme of the majority of her works is dicky. In spite of the ironic and sarcastic undertone Francová’s works echo gender ambiguity, delicate inter-connections between two genders and the “ecstatic”desire for transcendence.

Second Culture and the Dicky Establishment. The message of the exhibition Our Thing concerned on the one hand the integral character of the communication between two genders and on the other hand the (im)possibility of mutual understanding. The works by Olina Francová are an ironic travesty of masculine metaphysics that can be found to be continuation of the “second culture” which has been opposite to the official “dicky” ideas.

-- Mirek Vodrážka