performative action Ephemeral sculpture
The characteristic medium of Slovak artist Maja Štefančíková is processual performative action. She is interested in social phenomena, such as work, institutions or the world of art; examining and commenting on aesthetic experience, perception and memory. In the long term, she deals with the issues of perception of the audience, which she tests by inconspicuous, often invisible, empty, silent or otherwise subversive inputs, trying to activate the hidden levels of perception. In the city centre, next to the most important stone theatre, the history of which is closely tied with the political representation of the changing social establishments, the artist will enact a performative action with a group of fourteen other artists who will chisel fleeting melodic sculptural groups.
Tools made for working stone will become musical instruments, each stroke a compositional element. But rather than a concert the result will be an untouchable sound “sculpture” that will complement the public space from a different perspective and will “resound” issues related with the approach to traditional sculpting. Statues in bronze and stone seem to act as solid and unchangeable forms. However, the ancient damnatio memoriaeclearly tells us that even the most stable material does not guarantee their eternal being. Statues and memorials are therefore more brittle than it may seem. The performative action responds to the contextual transformations of the public space consisting in “tearing down idols” usually due to political upheavals, but it also works with collective and individual memory of an informed viewer, someone well-versed in history and a random passer-by. The artist thematicises what we usually do not perceive when looking at a sculpted object. She accentuates the process of its origin – modelling and transforming the material and the dynamics of the creator’s body during work, just like the sound made when stone is being worked. In this way she deflects attention from a sculpture as a non-living, rigid and silent mass towards live action - a performative act. Just as this sound sculpture suddenly emerges, so it also disappears without leaving a physical trace.