Wien Kunst

Dark, Nature, Eco, Humour

Olga Pastekova (1984) graduated on the Academy of Fine Arts in Bratislava and has also studied at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts. She has realized dozens of solo and group exhibitions in Austria and in other European countries. She has participated in many charity and art - environmental projects. At the moment, she is in the longlist of Strabag Art Award 2022.
vernissage in Broumov monastery, photo: Martin Maslo 2022
Vernissage in Broumov monastery, Photo: Martin Maslo 2022

Where do you find inspiration for your work?
Simply said – Dark, Nature, Eco, Humour. I love myths, legends, fairy tales, and watch how they evolve from the time I was little. My work is dominated by dark colors and the atmosphere of the night. I find inspiration in the world of animals such as wolves, bears, foxes and ravens. I have my personal mythology – symbols of life, transformation, death. I like humour and irony too. Someone once said that myths can only be narrated by those who have a myth of their own. I hope that within me, I have something like that as well.

Who introduced you to art?
As a child, I preferred drawing pictures to talking as a means of expression. Besides that, our flat was full of paintings, sculptures and art books. And also – I wasn’t good at math and I’m still not. I’m glad I’m not forced to use cash in the shops nowadays. So my way was so clear.

What does art mean to you?
Freedom, Communication, Change.

When do you have your best ideas?
After dark and I like, when I get a challenge. Challenge for me is some specific space for exhibition and also exciting topic. Between big exhibitions, I’m empty and I need to charge. I often make diaries, where I draw and sometimes write my thoughts. I’m coming back to these sketches and developing to the new themes. When the muse is gone, you must call her back with your work.

What are your favorite tools?
I like searching for new ways and techniques, crossing borders of traditional mediums. When I started painting, I was using bizarre surfaces like – brown paper, damaged doors from dumps, later on it was hardboard and canvas. The media I used included asphalt, oil, acrylic paint, ink, pencil with scratching, or destruction.

Now I work mostly on wood by painting, carving and scorching – Fire Painting. In cycles „Non Finito“ and „Preludes“ I was painting on paper with a special material – lemon. Inspiration is from my childhood, where we used it as „secret writing“. And Im painting big formats with it now. In my last projects I expanded more to the space – with special installations.

In Wonderland, max.150x200 cm, mixed media with firepainting on wood, 2019
In Wonderland, max.150×200 cm, mixed media with firepainting on wood, 2019

Favorite art gallery/museum in Vienna?
I have many, from the biggest – Kunsthalle – through private galleries like Galerie Krobath – to more independent space like Dessous, which are also my friends and they are doing in recent years very interesting projects with good concept.

In Wonderland, 90x120 cm, mixed media with firepainting on wood, 2020
In Wonderland, 90×120 cm, mixed media with firepainting on wood, 2020

THE WORLD IN BETWEEN. Currently you have an exhibition in the Galerie Michael Bella. What are you showing there? Can you tell us more about it?
Curator is Maria Christine Holter. Exhibited works are from the cycles „In Wonderland“ and „Preludes“. They are based on anxiety or concern about what is happening to the World. I saw the whole concept as an apocalyptic dream – like „the day after“ .. Today we see that such scenes are no longer a fantasy, but a real threat. I developed a passion for the phenomenon urban exploring, especially amusement parks destroyed or simply abandoned. Inspiration for my paintings include “Spreepark“ (Berlin, DE), “Six Flags“ (New Orleans, USA), or „Chernobyl“ (Pripyat, Ukraine). Dilapidated buildings are „eaten“ by plants (reclaimed by nature).

People are gone – somewhere they’re returning back – in gas masks.. or sail on a boat – its the reference on Charon, the ferryman who conveyed the souls of the dead across the Styx. Although at the exhibition there isn’t his ship, you can „make a ride“ on an authentic swan from the carousel.

on her ride, 2022
on her ride, 2022

What will we see from you in the near future? What are you working on?
At the moment I have a parallel exhibition in a beautiful historic monastery at Broumov (Czech republic), by invitation of curator Radek Wohlmuth. I made a special landscape there. It tempts me to create a kind of landscape that immerses people inside.

Olga Pastekova –,