Hrabušický, Aurel: Usefull Photography 2018


Petra Feriancová belongs to one of the first artists in Slovakia, who used the full potential of the archive sources without seeing these records as pure base material, on which they would demonstrate their (self)will. She generally doesn’t edit the visual press material (predominantly a large collection of older issues of the National Geographic magazine) 1.), she cuts out reproductions and uses them in their raw state 2.), she “pastes” them together anew, she orders them in a way that is reminiscent of photographic or film montage, while the individual parts of it remain free and can transform in a different manner. She also views her archive as something “entropic, organic, and volatile.”3.) More or less aleatory arrangements of found photographs, reproductions of photographs and later also her own photographs create the foundation of her asyntactic-syntactic work, which unfolds from “the connection of the world of a unique experience with processes of impersonal individualization conditioned by history, culture and civilization”. 4.) In one period only, a period which culminated before the year 2010, she created microsystems from two or three significantly enlarged color prints so that the important visual quality was not only formed by an asymmetric, associative montage of image bases, but also an over-sized, alienating print raster. The cuts from the reproduced photographs focus on some dominant, or even distinct motif, a detail or a semi-detailing – a hand for example – which create sophisticated, precious compositions, sometimes resembling paintings of Cinquecento and Seicento artists, as well as the dark-greyish paintings of Georges de la Tour. The Vedute-Views series (2013) also reminds you of the atmosphere of classic paintings, this time from a different period – romanticism. A sense of time stopping for a moment, but still constantly passing by, motives of onlookers who turn away from us, because they are devoted to something more important than us and our world, which we know well from the images of Caspar David Friedrich. Petra Feriancová used old color photographs taken by her aunt – an ornithologist. These are mostly common footage from hiking trips, some are interesting themselves, but only thanks to the artist's selection we realize that together with the photographer we stand by, that we are also observers, but that which is observed, the subject of interest or admiration is moved, "filtered" by this position, and thus distant. Some extensive collections with a certain theme have been assembled for many years and are not closed even today. The way the author creates the collections is well distinguishable in the Floods / Záplavy series (since 2002 until today). She is not trying to show some Apocalypse Now, stimulated by the global warming process - since the obvious references of Atlantis point us to an earlier ancient age. An idea of immersing and emerging from the apeiron, from the limitless, is created by the varied, often humorous and off-topic, seemingly unrelated images taken from the National Geographic magazine.

1. The images from the National Geographic had a strange appeal for her: “… they were taken at the beginning of the 70s on Kodak, reversal film, which had very specific coloring and atmosphere back then… suddenly the world is somehow different, ideal, it becomes a picture.” Email from P. Feriancová to the author of the study on 18th August 18, 2018.

2. Before her, only Július Koller used undisrupted visual archival material, however in a visual syntax, which is reminiscent of a traditional showcard,or an album of samples from various types of reproduced objects.

3. Ibid.

4. Pokorný, Marek: The Invariables of Petra Feriancová. Fotograf, 21/2013, volume 12, p. 76.