Zorka Lednárová (Bratislava, *1976) studied in the sculpture studio of J. Meliš at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design (AFAD) in Bratislava and at Muthesius Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Kiel, Germany, where she graduated in 2004. She spent one year from 1998 to 1999 at the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou studying Chinese calligraphy and monumental sculpture. In the period 2003–2007 she took a postgraduate course in art theory at the Institute for Art in Context of the Berlin University of the Arts. She has won important scholarships, primarily in Germany and China. She has lived alternately since 2000 in Bratislava and in Berlin, where since 2007 she has been a leading member, together with Pablo Hermann and Juan Pablo Díaz, of the group OKK (Organ kritischer Kunst) an artistic initiative supporting interdisciplinary dialogue, which also owns the exhibition space Raum 29. More than 50 exhibition projects and other events have taken place in Raum 29 since its foundation. Within the context of the Berlin-based OKK group, Lednárová participated in the Media Impact festival of political art and activism as a parallel project to the 4th Moscow Biennale. The artist presented at the festival two series of manipulated lenticular postcards titled Greetings from Moscow and Greetings from the White Sea, which show the flipside of the popular Russian tourist areas.She covered the picturesque beauties of the land with images of warning signs, nuclear waste, violent protestors and people living in poverty and misery.
In a number of works of a post-conceptual nature, she worked with the tension between the global and the local and began using her own interpretive code in cartographic language. The map and the alphabet became for her symbols of culture. The structure of the map as a method of visualizing global interconnections became for Lednárová a tool for expressing both artistic and civic opinions, which she developed in her series Signs & Locations (from 2000). In a strategic, interactive game in 2004 she offered, in her own words, “a new perspective on territorial division and border disputes. States, equipped with their respective writing systems, expand into other territories in accordance with the activities of the player… the layers and borders that were easily legible at the beginning of the game gradually disappear and the world transforms into a homogenous mass of mixed signs.” (Z. L.) In an interactive spatial installation titled Signs & Locations – Building Global Cubes (2007), she used six wooden 70 × 70 cm cubes resembling children’s building blocks. By assembling them, the spectator created on the sides various maps illustrating indices of education, corruption and writing systems and indicators of affluenceandcultureinthewake of the influence o fglobalization, which she emphasized in the exhibition by digital prints of ‘new’ maps of the world.
As an artist, activist and curator, Zorka Lednárová perceives art and its institutions in contextual relationships. Programmatically, she pursues three main lines: self motivated fine artwork, sculptural work and installations for public spaces (always in close communion with the landscape and the city) and finally curator ship withan emphasis on the overlapping of art into social and political projects with a post-colonial and post-occidental agenda.
ZORKA LEDNÁROVÁ, 2000 A.D, photoetching, 260 × 140 cm, photo: author’s archive.