Interview with Petra Feriancová

By Giulia Damiani.

The practice of the Slovak artist Petra Feriancová can be seen through mythical lens. Among other ideas, her work explores eternal returns, continuous transformations touching religious, mythological, political, autobiographical references, corporeality as well as airy, intangible matters. In her 2013 project for the Venice Biennale an archive of objects conveyed a shared inner space; in her intriguing show at Off Biennale Budapest everyday rituals were turned into historical gestures, and the domestic space became a political one. In 2014 she exhibited at the Fondazione Morra Greco in Naples, in a show entitled Things that Happen. Things that Are Done. On Beginnings and Matter. Through a vast variety of materials and media, at Morra Greco the artist succeeded in transforming the gallery in a diverse site for open-ended reflection, inspiring a feeling of veneration and wonder towards the act of creation. In the following interview, conducted in April 2015, we discussed her work in Naples, the immortality of the object, fascinating cosmogonies and the potential of the arts to expand the human soul.

*This interview was originally published in Homotopia, E.R.O.S Issue 6


GDDear Petra, in your exhibition Things that Happen. Things That Are Done. On Beginnings and Matter stones, casts of clay, egg boxes supporting shells, air chambers, passages from texts by Xenophanes and others, carved elephant tusks forming stalactites and stalagmites as well as totems, black and white prints and videos from different times were dispersed among the rooms. The show took its visitors through different historical periods and human attitudes; some objects seemed to ask for contemplation, others for empathy and identification.. 

I generally work with found, already existing images. I believe an image is meant to be found, observed and associated with some literal, historic, or political reference. I am essentially playing with the possibility of sharing the same feeling that I experienced when I found it. I am also exploring the possibility of people seeing as if through my eyes, even though I often work with quite complex or intimate topics. […]My work is closely related to my life, which is tremendously boring sometimes. There are even times when I willingly do not set foot out of my flat for periods of time and then even the act of taking out the rubbish becomes an emotional experience. That is perhaps why the more prevalent themes in my work are the internal space belonging to ideas in relation to the empirical experienced one. […] At Morra Greco I pondered the idea of the immortality of an object. There is a myth, according to which people are made of rock, or more precisely inorganic matter, which makes them immobile, but also allows them to live eternally. The material of vegetation is different – it moves only during growth and it too endures. In the myth it is also written that people were formed of rock and tears.


Pictures credits:

From the exhibition Things that Happen and Things that are Done. On Beginnings and Matter, 2014.
Courtesy Petra Feriancová, Photo by Amedeo Benestante
From the exhibition Things that Happen and Things that are Done. On Beginnings and Matter, 2014.
Courtesy Petra Feriancová