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IVETA MIHÁLIKOVÁ'S SEXY EXPERIMENTAL DESIGNS COMPRISE AN INTIMATE PROFILE OF THE MODERN FEMALE

Curvy wires show through

BRATISLAVA's K Gallery is home to a collection of subtly created parodies of female fashions until May 2. In these days of early spring men may stare in wonder at the provocatively modelled erotic outfits called Bloody Mary, Butterfly-woman or Grass-woman.

GOLD Sexession, a gentle work of wire.
photo: Iveta Miháliková

BRATISLAVA's K Gallery is home to a collection of subtly created parodies of female fashions until May 2. In these days of early spring men may stare in wonder at the provocatively modelled erotic outfits called Bloody Mary, Butterfly-woman or Grass-woman. An image of their partners clad in these creations may even flit into their stunned minds. The handmade wire creations, which suggest and reveal rather than hide, are experiments in design by textile artist Iveta Miháliková. She created them for exhibition purposes but she admits that they are also wearable. The fashion photographs of female models wearing her "clothes" underscore their "practical" use.

"The works are a parody on the boutique designs of today," says Miháliková.

Her intention is to entertain and make visitors to her New Collection think about how people are "manipulated by fashion and advertising".

Miháliková's collection reflects her dismay with consumerism and particularly with the mind-boggling outfits for women found in the boutiques of large shopping centres.

"These places contain an excess of useless things, pandering to human vanity. They try to convince us that clothes and things form human beings. They are also places in which the desire to be 'in' is satisfied, and people find their self-confidence and inner balance through shopping," Miháliková said.

The artist has been faithful to textile work all her life. She studied hand weaving, lace and embroidery work; graduating in textile art from the Academy of Fine Arts in Bratislava. She likes to experiment with inspiration rooted in traditions. Since 1996 she has been working with wire.

"Wire is similar to textile thread, though it's more resistant and can be better fixed, which is an advantage for a wire-made exhibit," Miháliková explains her liking of wire, and adds, "Moreover, you don't have to iron it and wash it very delicately."

The copper and silver wire objects that comprise her New Collection are hand-woven. She combines "sawn lace" style with glass and plastic cut-outs - the see-through materials that emphasize the gentleness and sexiness of her handwork.

"Her works are inspired by the intimacy of women's underwear, which she transforms into stylized parts of female bodies," says the exhibition curator, Monika Škvarnová. According to the artist, the names of her works confirm the idea she is trying to communicate in her work. Her creations express the characteristic features of women and the intimate female underwear best represents this theme because "it is worn directly on the body and thus best imitates it. Moreover, the character of a woman can be as equally intimate as her underwear."

The New Collection exhibition runs at the K Gallery, Ventúrska 8, Bratislava. It is open Monday to Friday from 13:00 to 18:00. Tel: 02/5443-3927.

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