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Interview

Tereza Červeňová: “The idea of a blank canvas petrifies me"

text:
Futures Photography
Date:
January 23, 2020
Meet Tereza Červeňová, Futures talent of 2019, nominated by The Calvert Journal.⁠ Tereza is an artist from Slovakia, based in London since 2011. “The idea of a blank canvas is something that petrifies me. I am much more someone who observes and responds,” she explains.

'June', her most recent body of work, is an autobiographical response to the EU referendum. Coinciding with the beginning of her MA at the RCA, she spent the following two years documenting daily life, in various locations across Britain and Europe.

In this interview, she talks about her inspirations and career:


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Can you explain us a little bit about your inspirations? What are the main themes in your practice?

It might sound cliché, but my biggest inspiration really is the everyday life around me and the encounters and exchanges that I am gifted every day. The idea of a blank canvas is something that petrifies me. I am much more someone who observes and responds. Thematically, I am focused on human connection and how the social and geopolitical shift impact on our individual lives and identity.

How do you see your relationship with photography? How do you deal with this medium to express your art?

My relationship to photography is very personal and autobiographic. When I discovered photography, I was in a transitional period in my life, but as soon as I did, the rest was history. I used to like expressing myself through language and writing however after discovering photography, my expression became sharpened in the focus of the viewfinder. What I like about photography is that it is ever present these days, yet if you use it well, you can cut through the ocean of the imagery produced every day and make time stops. Stretch it and communicate something that we don’t need words for because it is so familiar. I photograph everyday life and human interactions with one another and the environment. What I hope to achieve is that in this familiarity we find warmth and closeness, something extraordinary which stays with us and makes us revisit the scenes.

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Can you tell us a bit more about the projects that you have been working with?

My most recent body of work is called ‘June’. When I first started working on ‘June’, it came out of my desire to respond and make sense of the deeply upsetting and precarious situation caused by the UK’s referendum on Europe in June 2016. Since then it grew to become an all-encompassing chronicle through which the photographs emerge as not only a record of daily events, but also a timeline of significant dates that will, or have already become, marker points in European history.

The core of the work became an artist book, in which the work has been translated into 24 booklets, each representing one month and collated together with an opening ring – a metaphor for the easily breakable union, where the beginning and the end can be easily manipulated and the linearity of historical events shifted. Each month has its own message and strength, theme and place, but only when viewed together they unveil the whole story.

However, June’s intention has never really been about reporting on the factual but rather about what it feels like to be right in the middle of this social crisis from a personal perspective. June also created a framework for my practice and helped me to understand my diaristic way of working as valid, profound and exciting, yet it is creatively shifting.

How has been the experience of being a talent selected for Futures? How can Futures help with your career?

The experience of being selected for futures was definitely positive especially from the point of view of making stronger connection with the organisation which nominated me - Calvert Journal. They have been very supportive during the event in Amsterdam but also in London and in the lead up to the festival. Also, most of my portfolio reviews were very good, it felt like the reviewers had a very good take on the variety of work and we entered a number of great conversations.

Do you have any new plans for the future?

I am currently undertaking a month-long artist residency in Venice with Alma Zevi gallery. And from January I will be an artist in residence at the South Bank University, where I will work for 5 months leading up to a solo show in Borough Road Gallery.

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