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Petra Feriancová

*1977 in Bratislava, Slovak Republic, lives in Bratislava.

Petra Feriancová circulates in her work around collecting and preserving of documents, images, objects and memories. This could be a box with private photographies, an historical collection of special artifacts and may end with visual traces of the memories in our mind. Her work deals also with order, organization and archiving of such fragments of remembrance. Her installations evoke spaces of recollection. By reconstructing the forgotten, the installations mediate new sensual and emotional experiences.

Now I can remember I was actually there, but I kept my eyes closed at the time (7. - 9. August 2011)

The title 'Now I can remember I was actually there, but I kept my eyes closed at the time (7.–9. August 2011)' reads like a personal statement. Without the photographic image the memory would have faded. Only the photography triggers the memory to the situation, which has passed. The photography does not convey what someone might have seen with the own eys. It shows a different image, the frozen moment in a very specific view, as if the own eyes were closed.

The title suggests that it is only when we look at a photograph or image that our memory is switched on. Oh yes! Now we recall that situation, that landscape, that light! Often we need pictures to trigger the images stored in our memories and bring them to conscious recollection. This is where archives and documents play an important role. The flood of images in the media and the digital memories in our hard-drives take over our brain’s capacity for visual memory. The digitally archived pictures of our lives replace our memories.

Enforcing the memory, that might be one of the functions of art – to remind us of the intellectual probing, the atmosphere, the search for cultural expression which were peculiar to a particular situation, a certain political and social era. And it also reminds us of what creativity can achieve.

Series Creator – From the Archive of O. Ferianc, New Breeds 1949-1952

The large series of 113 photographies was shown in 2013 at the Venice Biennale, when Petra Feriancova represented the Slowak Republic in the joint Czech and Slovak Pavilion.

The pictures of pigeons originate from the archive of her grandfather, Oscar Ferianc. The images document some rare and extravagant breeds of pigeons, which were shared by mail with other breeders. This piece is part of a large group of works that involve with the memories of her own family, the photo albums and 8 mm films of family life and holiday travel or the souvenirs taken from beaches and other spots.

What stays, what do we keep from such private documents and what might fade away over time in our private remembrance? How do we collect and recollect the memories of the past?

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The installation consists of remakes of 12 elephant tusks, which have been ornately carved and are part of historical collections. Such tusks have been valuable objects and were given as gift or tribute already in ancient times. With the colonization of the African continent and the Indian subcontinent by England, the Netherlands and Portugal started an industrial production of the precious raw material and the systematically killing of elephants. Growing demand for souvenirs and jewelry made from ebony in the last decades of the 20th century lead to the radical decimation or almost complete extinction of certain elephant populations. Only in the past 20 years growing effort is made to restrict the trade and to fight against the illegal trade with ebony.

The scarce material is attributed with magical might, like indomitable power and potency, but also purity, which lead to a broad use in Christian sacral art.

Such fields of meaning are of great interest for the artist. From them it becomes readable, how a medley of rational and irrational reasoning contributes to the fact, that some materials and objects are considered as precious. So that they are kept, become collected and preserved and are becoming part of a memory, which is based on objects, so that they are part of museum collections.

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