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Martina Paukova: Girls are ‘pushed to pose and perform’

PUBLISHED: 18:15 08 February 2018 | UPDATED: 18:15 08 February 2018

Hugging, Girls by Martina Paukova

Hugging, Girls by Martina Paukova

Archant

Martina Paukova’s first exhibition at The Book Club in Shoreditch depicts Girls going about their daily business away from the gaze of the outside world

Waiting, Girls by Martina Paukova Waiting, Girls by Martina Paukova

Classical art portrays the female form as smooth, elegant and otherworldly. Women are often goddesses or nymphs, noble or royal, beautiful mannequins for the male gaze. In the 21st century, women’s bodies in the public sphere are expected to be perfectly groomed, poised and glamorous.

Times may be a-changing, but, as a society, we still treat the female body as a performance, watching and critiquing the way it moves through the world.

In her first major London show, Girls, artist Martina Paukova offers a collection that presents the female body at its most relaxed. Her illustrations view women at home in comfort, doing the banal activities that art rarely expresses. They have a sense of familiarity and contentment.

“These domestic environments are little self-made worlds of sort,” she says.

Ironing, Girls by Martina Paukova Ironing, Girls by Martina Paukova

“Away from the outside world where we are pushed to pose and perform, it is usually at home, within the four walls, where we are at our most natural and non-performing selves. I guess I like capturing setups like these: super banal and off-duty.”

The Girls in her works are gangly and flat, surrounded by plants, coffee and portraits of pets. The images simultaneously mock and praise their ordinary subjects. What was Paukova’s inspiration?

“First and foremost - I am one of them! So I am very well versed with these situations and self-made worlds. Also, girls are way more fun to draw than men, their hair shape is more interesting and the overall air is somewhat sweeter and more organic.”

Slovakian born Paukova studied graphic design followed by illustration at Camberwell College of Arts and now lives and works in Berlin. All of her illustration adopts the same geometric, two dimensional style and has attracted clients including Google, Guardian, New York Times and Kickstarter.

Girls by Martina Paukova launches Thursday February 8, 6pm and runs until April 8 at The Book Club in Shoreditch.

100-106 Leonard Street, EC2A 4RH

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