Curatorial statement

The title of Sara Zahorjanová’s exhibition refers to one of her paintings, The Fragile Equilibrium (2022), but equally it is a precise metaphor and bonding moment for the things that Sara has long been thinking about. Absolute Equilibrium cannot possibly be achieved. And nevertheless most of us make a daily attempt to correct the tilt of a skewed world: from seeking balance
in interhuman relationships, through the steadying of our own mental composure, seeking a sustainable way of life on Earth, striving for justice, to the perhaps banal matter of a balanced diet. Equilibrium in essence is always fragile, just like our planet or the inner human being.

It is this condition that Sara expresses in her unembellished monochromatic paintings. She constructs situations that are played out in unidentifiable micro, or alternatively macro, worlds. Organic shapes reminiscent of hoses, arteries, roots or cables, play the principal roles. They entwine together, sometimes held by a thin string, at other times pouring out freely. They are smooth, or they have the form of sloughedoff snakeskin. We see only a cutout and most of the time we do not know where it begins or ends. Most probably it is only a small part of a larger system. Possibly infinite. Together with these, archetypal objects levitate in the paintings, such as a ship signifying Noah’s ark, a pearl representing purity and innocence, fossils adverting to mankind’s responsibility for its treatment of the planet, and an asteroid as a symbol of the cosmos. Sarah is thus moving in a broad space between deep past and dystopian future, linking eternity with the present.

While the paintings at first glance may give the impression of being purely a play of form, concern with the current problems of our civilisation is there in the background. Each work is
a relatively strong and welldefined statement. In her manner of working one can detect the artist’s training in graphic art (at the Prague AVU she transferred from Knížák’s studio to Jiří Lindovský and graduated with Dalibor Smutný). Space is almost absent, and in large part we are moving in a black-and-white scale. From a distance, or in reproduction, these images may resemble computer-generated shots or designs, but when we look more closely we find striking painterly qualities. The act of painting itself is fundamental for this artist: “…painting
is such a distressing utopia/addiction/privilege/passion/unfinished sympathy. / it’s a mess”, she writes in one of her poems.

Alongside these large format paintings, where one can almost “immerse” oneself physically, Sara produces smaller “diary entries”. These are not diaries in the proper sense of the word, meaning that they record her usual or unusual experiences (with the exception, perhaps, of her experience of music). Again, what they contain is rather micro-stories, mostly of a romantic nature: the relationship of two lovers, a lost necklace, night rain, a flowering plant, a flying asteroid. She works strikingly with materials ranging from velvet, via polyurethane foam, to embroidery with beads and semi-precious stones. These haptically rich works invite us to an intimate encounter, not least because a series of them mirrors the form of the person who
is looking. Sara has also included in the exhibition two objects entering the space, where she imaginatively materialises lines from her paintings.

Terezie Nekvindová, 2023