What is the work of an artist? How do art school graduates establish themselves? And when do they harvest the fruits of their efforts? This time on the PLAN_T podcast we welcomed Radka Bodzewicz, a graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts who is known as an artist who paints in the traditional way on canvas, but also in virtual reality. Radka lives and works in Prague, but her reputation has already crossed the borders of the Czech Republic.

The world auction house Sotheby’s has included a painting by Radka Bodzewicz in its autumn auction in 2020. According to her, the inclusion in the auction was triggered by her solo exhibition at the Bold Gallery in the same year. Radka herself describes that her success came unplanned and her career is based on a lot of coincidences. Nevertheless, the artist has a logical order in her exhibition activity, which allows her to constantly move forward. She works in cycles and it is important for her to have a plan for the future, which brings her stability.

The representation of Bold Gallery also plays a significant role in Radka Bodzewicz’s career development. After graduating from art schools, artists feel insecure; Radka herself describes that she applied for many Open Calls that did not work out due to high participation, and it was difficult to approach curators just by herself. It was then that the gallery helped her with this, becoming a kind of background for her, giving her support throughout the year, publishing a publication, facilitating communication with curators, and bringing other important moments for her career.

This June, Radka Bodzewicz presented Paradise Lost at the Bold Gallery, which is subtitled Augmented&Experience Reality Art Exhibition. “It was an exhibition that had another exhibition hidden in it using augmented reality, I used the mobile phones of the viewers who visited the gallery. Instead of taking pictures of the paintings, they used a mobile app where they pointed at a painting and it triggered another painting. It’s a kind of animation, I call it looking into the paintings, it’s a way of looking at the painting in a different way. It’s not primary for me to show augmented reality, I still base my work on the visuality of the image, it’s just an added value.” Radka describes her solo exhibition, adding that in 2019 she started using virtual reality in painting, using it to try out current trends and experiment with new technologies. Then, in her own work, she wanted to blend digital technologies, which is exactly what augmented reality allowed her to do. In her words, she takes advantage of the fact that the phone has become our third eye and we have it with us all the time. This allows the viewer to experience another layer of the image.

The artist’s themes include a combination of seemingly disparate approaches, themes drawn from history and, one might say, prehistory. Some of them are processed purely digitally so that we cannot see them in reality. For her, virtual reality is a technical element that can push the painting. “I take inspiration from literature and the underbelly that fascinates me, that I read about, that I live every day. The themes are different, they change according to what interests me at the time. For a long time, it was Eliade that led me to search for an image and symbol that everyone understands, across nationality, time, age, and space. These are principles that we can read similarly in religion. Things that keep repeating themselves and we still understand them today. It can be color, shape – even in this simplicity I am looking for a language that one can understand without having to read a lot of literature, although I always use literature as a backdrop for my cycles,” Radka describes the themes she uses in her work. She also describes discovering archetypal beings, going back to Jung, and understanding the archetype as such. She is interested in symbols that appear across cultures and are understood by people from different cultural contexts. It is the digital overlap of her work that may be a further extension of possible transmission in this regard.

Where should the future of art be moving? Radka wants the art world to remain in human hands because she feels a special uncertainty, but she likes to work from this uncertainty in her work. She also wishes that the art scene maintains its freedom, without fear of expressing itself and doing what comes from the personal needs of artists.