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AS IS | Monika Žáková


From Středočeský Region, Czechia

Based in Prague, Czechia

We interviewed magnificent Monika Žáková about her art journey, ways to look at art, nature of the inspiration, Czech art scene, and much more

A: Please, tell us a bit more about yourself. What brought you to art?

M: Ever since I was a child, I've inclined towards various forms of visual expression. I spent a lot of time drawing during my childhood and eventually found my way to ceramics. I thought I would become a sculptor, but that didn't happen in the end and I became interested in painting instead. I graduated from The Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, under Jiří Sopko and Igor Korpaczewski.

A: What inspires you the most?

M: My older work or meeting people and engaging in intriguing conversation. I am fascinated by various forms of communication, whether verbal or non-verbal. The fact that every single person creates different memories of different events or their perception of those events can even oppose one another's.

A: Do you have any specific rituals that help you while working (creating)?

M: What helps me create is a lot of daylight, white walls, and empty space. These specific things could also be understood as the need for a clean mind to achieve absolute focus.

A: What would you recommend to someone new to art (an artist or just an admirer), what to begin with?

M: I wouldn't underestimate traditional education. Go through the basics of drawing and painting. It will teach you to pay attention to the world around you and notice things that usually remain subliminal.

A: Your top 3 adjectives related to art?

M: I believe that humans suffer from the limited vocabulary. Art elicits various associations, often contradictory ones. Art shouldn't disconnect us from the physical world, although it can make us doubt our experienced perception.

A: Your favorite Czech artists?

M: Ironically they're not artists expressing themselves through painting: Běla Kolářová and Pavel Baňka. I like their courage, a certain stubbornness, and detachedness. I appreciate Pavel Baňka's inclination towards non-profit which is a declaration of personal freedom. That's essential for creation.

A: What piece of art do you think embodies the Czech national spirit and culture? Why?

M: Interesting question but I hesitate to enclose art within geographical categories. Each art piece reflects the author's way of thinking, and as humanity becomes more cosmopolitan, so has art. Perhaps European culture is a more accurate expression. If I have to pick an example, I'd say Adriena Šimotová's Invisible Body, 1976.

A: The perfect phrase to start any conversation about art is: ..?

M: "Just let yourself feel it."

A: Where can we meet you?

M: Right now I am usually in Vinohrady, Prague, but I need to balance out the city with some nature, so I often go visit my family in Slapy.

A: Please, share your favorite quote (not necessarily related to art):

M: "Reality is what we believe it to be."

Thank you

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