Autumn/Winter 2018 (SERIES 11)

With the initial impression they are paintings, Maria Svarbova’s works make you feel a sense of joyous melancholy. Subtly peculiar, Svarbova’s photo series, ‘Swimming Pool’ is a collective of well-painted photographs set amongst the functionalist archi- tectural remnants of Slovak communism. Minimalist in interior, with clean white tiles and reflective blue waters; what seems like a picturesque utopia is juxtaposed by the dullness of Svarbova’s subjects. Plain expressionless faces and repetitive actions – each one facsimile to the other – elements of surrealism are seen in her pictures, blurring the lines between fantasy and reality.

“When I first saw Maria Svarbova’s work, I thought they were paintings. But in actual fact, they were photos of real people and real sets. Although the colours in her photos are cheerful and bright, the overall mood is rather somber, lone- ly and somewhat silently eerie. The subjects she photographed are robotic fea- turing repetitive poses. I am very much intrigued by the tension between the real and fake; which is so strongly portrayed in her works. This brings me to a very current issue of how people of our generation is using social media to portray a seemingly perfect online persona whilst suffering from daily struggles that are masked by highly retouched photos, plastic surgeries etc.”