“The main theme of the paintings is the female experience”: The sharpness of femininity on display

Renata Machýčková

On Tuesday evening at the Platforma 15 gallery in Prague, Czech artist Renata Machýčková will debut her first show in 10 years in her native country. The exhibition titled “Blades on Heels” showcases her paintings as well as paper carvings that she has used to capture the diversity of the female form.

Platforma 15 | Photo: Amelia Mola-Schmidt,  Radio Prague International

Renata Machýčková, who is from Moravia, has been living and working in Bergamo, Italy for nearly a decade.

Her new exhibition of work will be her first show on Czech soil in 10 years, since she was a graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, where she studied in the painting studios of Czech artists Vladimír Skrepl and Jiří Kovanda.

I spoke to her about the exhibition and the personal ties she has to this new work.

“This whole exhibition has two main features that I wanted to focus on; half of it are the paintings, but also the paperwork.

"I make the paper by myself, and then use a scalpel to cut directly into the paper to create shapes. This part of my work is significantly tied to my family life because I do this at home with my family around me.”

That paperwork is something that Machýčková hopes viewers can see as a dialogue between her and the medium, as she explains.

“It’s supposed to be a dialogue between myself and the paper, it’s very therapeutic for me.

"It’s a theme in the paintings and the paperwork that I’m trying to work in the current moment with the feelings I am experiencing.”

Renata Machýčková | Photo: Amelia Mola-Schmidt,  Radio Prague International

For Machýčková, inspiration is in the everyday characteristics of the feminine experience, but she has also connected with a young Italian poet, whose work has been an inspiration for the artist.

“The main theme of the paintings is the female experience, female profiles and characteristics.

"But I also connected with a poet from Italy, Maria Grazia Nappa who you can find in some works where I use her original pictures as a subtle reference.

"I feel a very deep connection with Nappa and her work, as her written poems represent my connection to womanhood, and I try to portray this experience in my work.”

It being her first show in a decade in Czechia, Machýčková is experiencing mixed emotions ­– excitement about her opening, but also nerves from the potential response of viewers.

But what she hopes visitors can take away from her work is the intricacies and complexities of feminine identity.

“Since the whole exhibition is supposed to create a picture of myself, I am hoping that people will be able to pick up on this and seek and see who I am by looking at these paintings.

"But also by portraying that women can be so many people at the same time and have many different parts of themselves.

"This together creates a better picture of femininity and the feminine experience.”

Blades on Heels
Platforma 15
Písecká 15
Praha 3
Until 22.07.2023