Juliana Mrvová
Dreams of Luka

The exhibition Dreams of Luka in White & Weiss Gallery presents the latest artwork of Juliana Mrvová, inspired by her long walks into the forest with her little son sleeping in a sling throughout last year. Luka was asleep, maybe dreaming about what we see on the pictures – animals and plants embedded deeply into his subconsciousness, potentially never vanishing from it again.

“Dreams of Luka” is the first exhibition where Juliana takes a relatively open stance on a personal topic: maternity. Naturally, she does it differently than what would be expected from an ordinary painter-mother. Juliana’s new maternal paintings are dominated by another motif: a wild boar. Instead of female breasts we can distinguish sow’s udders full of nutritious milk and its hungry piglets in great numbers. The wild boar is an overpopulated, abhorred and controversial animal in Europe, regularly sensationalized in the media. The terrified public, mostly mothers with children, are fearful to venture into the woods or take a walk around the cities…

“We dislike wild boars. And it is simply so beautiful. I feel like a lactating sow being suckled by her little piglets, meekly lying in the dust, motionless. There is a fellowship between us,” says the artist. 

“Juliana surely experiences no fear from wandering into the woods full of overpopulated wild boars and bellowing deer. The woods are a sanctuary for her, a refuge from the isolation ambushing her at home, a place of more interesting and inspirational solitude and wilderness. Juliana can experience excitement from the wilderness even in the forest by her backyard. To a great extent, it is her imagination, later in paintings, that gives the final touches to her whole experience from the wilderness… the volcano hills of the Hont region where she lives now are exotic table mountains in Venezuela for her, she has been dreaming about since her childhood. That is also why her latest paintings feature Malaysian bats in pitchers of carnivorous plants side by side with wild boars and various types of insects in our temperate zone,” says the curator Andrej Dúbravský.

For years, Juliana Mrvová has been one of the most distinctive painters in the Slovak artistic landscape. To label her art as layered notes drawn in the diary of a traveller and tracker – with topographic and botanical features from adventures and trips all the way from India and Lithuania to where she lives now, the Hont region in Slovakia – would come across as a superficial simplification. Her multi-layered paintings – both in their stories and forms – may seem literally encrypted. Andrej Dúbravský, a painter here in the role of curator, but also a farmer, breeder, and observer of nature, will take charge of decoding them at this exhibition titled “Dreams of Luka”