Zuzana Dvorská Šípová - Identita V

Zuzana Dvorská Šípová (*1977) studied painting (Secondary Art School of Graphic Arts in Jihlava, Radek Wiesner, Ivan Píchal), Faculty of Education of Palacký University in Olomouc, and classical painting (Academy of Fine Arts, Zdeněk Beran, Michal Rittstein). She currently teaches at a primary art school. The author is one of the leading Czech painters devoted to hyperrealism.

The story of the Identity series began with the discovery of a suitcase containing her grandfather's personal belongings, which he had with him during a Totaleinsatz in the German town of Gladbeck, for which he left on a crowded train as a healthy 17-year-old boy. Workers at Hydrierwerk Scholven, one of the largest aircraft propulsion and biofuel factories, were divided into work camps according to their nationality and religion. For many, who died due to inhumane conditions, experiments and frequent bombing, it was a place of last resort. For those who remained alive and returned – completely changed – to their homes, it was an intimate and painful part of their life. The granddaughter Zuzana was not allowed to touch her grandfather's belongings, nor was she allowed to talk about them. She found the suitcase at a time when her grandfather was no longer alive and wondered: "Why did the suitcase full of relics and stories remain hidden?"

In her efforts to find connections related to everyday objects, Zuzana was helped by her grandmother (Identity I, II). The works from the Identity I series (2017), e.g. Zippo, Airplane, Tobacco Box, Family Photo, Portrait, Soap Box, Cutlery, Dining Room I, Dining Room II, relate to the original theme of the objects found in her grandfather's suitcase. In the Identity II series (2018), her grandfather's belongings found in the attic, outside the suitcase, began to appear (Bag from Postřelmůvko, Angel, Doll). After the death of the grandmother and the clearing out of the house, personal objects of other family members were gradually discovered, which formed the basis for the Identity III-IV cycle (2019-2021, e.g. Mom's Shoes II, Grandfather's Coat, Grandmother's Dress, Mom's Teddy Bear, Beetle, Custard Powder). The Identity IV series was further expanded to include surviving photographs – snapshots in which the grandfather captured his loved ones. For the exhibition at the Václav Chad Gallery, paintings from the Identity V cycle (2023) were created – Crochet Lace, Wreath I, His Blossoms, Crochet Curtain, which expand the cycle with the story of the great-grandmother.

In the artist's paintings, the indeterminacy and invisibility of home is expressed by the grey colour of the background. The multiply enlarged objects seem to levitate in space, themselves becoming fixed points in the void, as the artist herself points out. She captures specific objects or fragments of them, emphasizing her personal experience in her artistic interpretation of the painting and embedding her own identity in it.

Family is of utmost importance to the author. She works with the revival of memories and objects that should not be forgotten in time. She tries to convey the intimate stories behind the discovered objects. For every person, crossing personal boundaries can mean something completely different. For Zuzana, it was the moment when she took each the objects she had found in her hands, familiarized herself with it, researched her family history and then tried to interpret her own feelings.

Miroslava Ptáčková