Wien Kunst

Woodcuts by Eva Yurková

Eva Yurková is a Czech-born, Vienna-based visual artist medially anchored in printmaking. Her focus lays in the medium of woodcut. The interest in three-dimensionality and the relief-like character emerging from the carving is also clearly visible in the other creative outputs of Eva Yurková, such as painting, ceramics and installation.

Even though her affinity for floral motifs is omnipresent, the depiction of the body is clearly paramount to her. The stiff, unfamiliar and anonymous bodies are juxtaposed with the soft and cheeky plants. This contraposition creates a moment of strangeness, which has become one of the most fundamental subtexts of her work.

What is your favorite way of experiencing art?
When I research for my work, I am strongly influenced by the aesthetics of environments. I always collect the visual elements from my surroundings. During the first Lockdown, for instance, I began spending a lot more time in city parks, which strongly reflected in my motifs. Appearing in the form of vaguely sensual plants or puddles of water. Right now I am living in an old factory and after a while I realized, I started to compose red bricks into my paintings. So, these motives sometimes appear subconsciously. When I consciously incorporate concrete elements from my life, then I often choose objects of personal meaning.

Appearing in the form of vaguely sensual plants or puddles of water. Right now I am living in an old factory and after a while I realized, I started to compose red bricks into my paintings.

What is the first piece of art you ever made?
My first piece of art would be certainly dated sometime between my playful experiments with soaking bark and laces in the offset-color and printing with my buttocks. Specifically, because it took me until mid-high school to discover printmaking and its tools. My interest then immediately concentrated into cutting, printing and experimenting with lino cutting.

Even though, I have always been very curious about drawing and working with materials, first at that moment I started taking my art practice seriously.

Raps, wooden-relief with oil color, 186 x 168cm
Raps, wooden-relief with oil color, 186 x 168cm

What is the task of art, actually?
From my perspective, it is a way to process and cultivate your experiences, feelings and given structures of being. You collect impulses and transform them through your creative language. By doing this, you can transfer your consciousness into a new form of communication and therefore become a part of public dialogue. Art reacts and inter-reacts and there lays its power. It stands in oppose to indifference and passivity. Artists violate indifference by creating and therefore stand out in a profoundly anti-systematic way.

What are your daily creative rituals?
I enjoy having a diversity of inputs and activities. For my work on the other hand, I need peace and solitude. Therefore, I usually come to the studio later in the day and work into the night. Usually, I progress on several pieces simultaneously, which then grow together and mutually influence each other. At the same time, I draw, sketch and take notes. When I get to the point, that I do more damage than good to the work, then I better go to sleep.

Zwiebel, Glazed Stoneware
Zwiebel, Glazed Stoneware

Where are you right now? Can you briefly describe the room?
Right now, I am taking part in an artistic residency in a former noodle factory in Zeitz, Germany. It is an adventurous, occasionally spooky experience. The factory complex itself is very charming and atmospheric. Even after being here for two months, there is still plenty to explore. It is a creative cluster for fine arts and virtual reality. I live here together with four other artists.

Right now, I find myself in a modernized part of the factory, which even though being heated and completely renovated, maintains the charm of an old factory with its high ceilings, large windows, red bricks and peeling walls.

eva yurkova interview art vienna
Artist. Eva Yurková. Photo: Ruth Bruckner

What’s next for you?
I am fully concentrated on the residency and its course at the moment. In the last two months, I have exclusively been painting with acrylics on wood, because the temperatures here are too low for the printing ink. That has been a new discovery for me and led to some new developments in my work. I feel more impulsive with painting. It allows me to take more risks. With printing, one has to be really systematic and progress with a more or less exact plan. These new woodcut-paintings will be part of a group show, which we are planning together with the artists from the residency. In the beginning of May, I will also show some of my prints with Rudolf Leeb at the new fair for editions – Parallel Editions.

Eva Yurková