The kernel of the plot of the audiovisual work Bent Tiles (2017) by Alžběta Bačíková is a biography of a ficticious artist Jarmila B. who mysteriously disappeared from the scene. Based on the dairies of Jarmila B., the film’s main female character reconstructs her artistic vision.
Jarmila B. is, in fact, a stand-in for typical biographies of female artists of the 20th century who were not recognized during their lifetime or who abandoned their work as a gesture of protest: Milada Marešová, Vlasta Vostřebalová Fišerová, Ludmila Padrtová, Běla Kolářová, Lee Lozano and Charlotte Posenenske. Using the fictitious Jarmila B., creator of applied art, and the topos of a mysterious disappearance, Bačíková intertwines the themes of exclusion from the history of art dominated by the canon, the real and symbolic killing of female artists, the methods of female tricksters, and the active departure from the artistic field.
The opening shots of Bent Tiles are set in the spa Kúpele in Trenčianské Teplice where the narrator is reading from the diaries of Jarmila B. It is accompanied by the music of Lucie Vítková playing in a different location: the Municipal Spa in Brno. Mixing locations, different instruments and partial tones, Bačíková creates the impression of an immaterial place.
The final rebellious act of Jarmila B. presented in the video is a testimony to the ubiquitous feminist ideas in women’s art. The work, discovered by the narrator, was a commission of a sculpture for a hotel. The owner of the hotel had a sculpture of a woman in mind which would squirt water from her breasts. Jarmila B. used soap instead of marble so that the sculpture would dissolve in the fountain and disappear.
The project was supported by Artyčok TV, Arts and Theatre Institute Prague, ESAC Český Krumlov and TIC Gallery Brno.
Alžběta Bačíková (*1988) is an artist based in Prague. She focuses on the medium of the moving image and works primarily with video installation, dealing with the reflection of documentary tendencies in contemporary art both in her theoretical research and her artistic practice. In 2018 she finished her doctoral studies at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Brno. She was a resident at Art in General in New York (2019), Artist-in-Residence Programme at MuseumsQuartier in Vienna (2018) and the finalist of the Jindřich Chalupecký Award (2018). Between the years 2017–2020 she worked as a curator of the Etc. Gallery in Prague. Currently she works as the head of an online platform Artycok.TV.