Q&A – (Irena Satkeová)

Q: What was the ultimate breakthrough moment in your works?

A: My diploma thesis UNFRAMED, the START POINT 2009 selection and attending THE SOVEREIGN EUROPEAN ART PRIZE 2010. With the help of my diploma thesis, I had finally managed to move away from my personal ideas about “how and what” to paint. On my way to Klatovy to Start Point, I had realized my responsibility to the fact that I have the chance to become a part of a professional business, which was a new and fundamental challenge for me. On the other hand, I attended a private display in Barnican Centre in London. It was a fancy and a rather snobbish event and I and Marek Kvetán ended up throwing paper airplanes made out of the catalogue of finalists at Nasser Azam, Tim Marlow of White Cube and Robert Pukenhkhofer of Art&Idea. We were brutally hungover the next morning, but our hangover wasn’t caused by alcohol, that’s for sure. The artists became only auction items and the whole preview was nothing more than an automatic transaction without any substantial content. And this is exactly what Artbanka should try to avoid.

Q: Do you collect anything?
A: Art, naturally. It’s become quite an obsession of mine recently and considering the fact that I like clean space, there’s a lot of things that have never been displayed in our home. While I personally prefer mostly abstraction, I collect works from Jaroslav Juřica, Ondřej Kotrč, René Hábl, Petr Kunčík, Pavel Preisner and others. I have a personal connection with most of the artists. In hindsight, I’ve realized that I prefer to come back to the works these artists had created during their studies, simply because they were still looking for their style. That is later replaced by efforts to have their works formally categorized. I especially like collecting works that were thrown away during school cleaning periods – they are real treasures! The author, however, often remains unknown. Generally, whenever I start collecting something, I need the complete set – whether it’s clothes, MTB accessories, humidors, cigar lighters or the set of Finnish fishing rules by RAPALA, which are becoming more and rustier as we speak.

Q: Why do you think people should collect contemporary art, yours in particular?
A: It’s a cliché, but art can be a good investment. People should, however, primarily invest into things that appeal to them. Collecting art for the sake of collecting art is about as clever as making money for the sake of having more money. If you buy something you don’t understand, not even in your own way, it won’t fulfill you, even if it were worth millions. Richard Adams obtained the basic elements of his collection despite his standard white-collar wages and nowadays it’s one of the most important collections in the Czech Republic. In my works, I try to create universal elements that can be transferred from gallery to common architecture. To me it is, however, fundamental to create fragments that can be combined with the supposed dispositions of “human criteria”. Actually, this is where my key cycle Transformers originates from, as I work with re-formatting of found items. These items have already been evaluated as well as used as regular objects. I don’t care if you collect lift shafts as long as you do it because you believe in it. Sugar is good, but it’s better when it’s a part of a cake.

Q: Would you like to try to be a female artist? Do you think you’d do things differently?
A: Absolutely not. It is quite an interesting topic in this time of hormonal swings, but I can only admire female artists from afar. There is obviously a definite gender inequality in art… I enjoy the works of Janet Echelman, Elena Elagina, Aleksandra Mir or Pipilotti Rist. If I had been forced to try something like this, I’d only want to live somebody else’s entire life, but Petra Dubova would most likely be an aggressive body designer leading a highly disorganized life – which is all I’m trying to avoid these days.

Q&A with Petr Dub (Irena Satkeová, Artbanka Interview, 6. 10. 2011)