Martina Drozd Smutná High Heels, 2022


Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 51.5" x 35.4" [130 cm x 90 cm]


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Martina Drozd Smutná (b. 1989) is a PhD student at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague. She became an award holder of the Jindřich Chalupecký Art Award (2022), and finalist of the EXIT Award (2015), and took part in the residency programs in Madrid, Kiev or Bucharest. Her dissertation thesis focuses on the origins and consequences of the use of gender-based evaluation and the understanding of painting as a masculine discipline. Martina Drozd Smutná approaches her own artistic work as a language that can be used to talk about intimacy, vulnerability or the commonplace nature of personal stories that do not stand on their own, but are determined by other socio-political phenomena. In her paintings, she draws parallels between historical depictions of aristocracy and contemporary urban bourgeoisie and also shows how traditional gender roles affect our family, romantic and professional relationships. The subjects of her paintings are straddled between the past, the present and an apocalyptic future where the drive for a change goes hand in hand with disciplined inertia, creating a tension between power and powerlessness.

She has exhibited individually and in group exhibitions in theCzech Republic (e.g. at Galerie Mladých in Brno, gallery Dole in Ostrava, National Gallery in Prague, at NOD in Prague) as well as abroad (Kunsthalle Trafo in Szczecin, Baltic Triennial in Lithuania, Exile Gallery in Vienna and Arsenal Gallery in Bialystok). She is interested in the visual memory of Czechoslovak socialism, especially the depiction of labor and women workers.

Drozd Smutná’s work is featured in A PROFECÍA. Curated by Filipka Rutkowska as a continuation of Casa Filipka – an ongoing project organized together with Her Clique – A PROFECÍA is centered on an envisioned future through the female gaze; one that enables a more empowered, speculative relation to both time and space, plant, landscape, and animal; one that breaks the brutality of dualistic thinking and binary structures and replaces them with a spectrum, acknowledging and honoring the and rather than the or. Following principles of transfuturism, and emerging from histories like that of Casa Susanna, this exhibition is a frame for repositioning one's own body as the intermediary for a more intuitive knowledge; a knowledge that doesn’t make assumptions but rather listens, looks, smells, tastes, hears, feels, orients, and balances. A knowledge that doesn’t require eyes for seeing but presupposes sentience, non-human intelligence, time, cycles, and the fluidity of being (in its broadest possible definition), and exists within a continuum of experiences and knowledge, through-out (non-linear) time. And as this knowledge becomes accumulated and disseminated, and as personal mythologies merge with predominant norms, feminist histories, ecologies and states of being, through rose-tinged utopian lenses we divine a centered space that is Other – healing, forgiving, holistic, transparent, and visible – in and of itself.