Converse Submisson of the Week: Tereza Buskova

The Czech artist and contender in Converse's Emerging Artists Award competition talks about why making videos are important to her and about going into film from printmaking

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Crisp colours, striking folk-costume and visceral imagery stand out in the work of Tereza Buskova, our inaugeral Submission of the Week for the Converse/Dazed Emerging Artists Award 2011 in partnership with the Whitechapel gallery. Buskova graduated in 2005 with an MA in Printmaking from the Royal College of Art and has since gone on to create a body of work in film and video as well as print, embarking on a long-term collaboration with cellist Bela Emerson, performance artist Zoë Simon and Nanohach dancer Eliska Kasparova in the creation of ritualistic performances that sit at the heart of her projects.

Performed actions that are at once familiar and uncanny are presented through stylised movement and filmed with tender observation, often accompanied by a cello soundtrack that evokes the suggestion of a latent darkness beneath the layers of costume and colour. As a continuation of her exploration of life and rebirth in rural Slavic Easter rituals in ‘Spring Equinox’ (2009), for the Converse/Dazed Emerging Artists Award this year she has submitted 'Masopust', a 'marriage of anthropology with fantasies in the forms of performance prints and video’. 'Masopust' translates in Czech as 'farewell to meat' and is the name of a rural festival that ushered in a period of abstinence from eating flesh (the festival of Carne-Vale is the Western equivalent). Travelling to the village of Doudleby in Eastern Europe, Buskova observed as the locals conducted 'esoteric ceremonies with funereal solemnity'. She then freely interpreted the actions of ‘Masopust’ in the mountains with her performers where 'raw human qualities and a respect for ritual were distilled'.

By enlivening these half-remembered ceremonies Buskova suggests that 'our traditions should not grow dusty whilst being preserved in boring museum cabinets' and by breaking down and representing ritual, she reflects on the gestures that bind us all to a social history. Having exhibited in shows including the 2011 RA Summer Exhibition, Yinka Shonibare's Guest Projects space in London Fields and numerous shows at the Zabludowicz Collection as well as receiving the 2010 Saatchi Online Critics Choice Award, her star is rising rapidly. Here’s what she has to say about her work...

Dazed Digital: What are your influences?
Tereza Buskova:
I was brought up making art from as a long as I can remember, so I see everything around me as an artist. When I grew up in Prague rural folklore was just something for tourists, but now that I am a Czech in London it keeps drawing me in.

DD: How would you best describe your work?
Tereza Buskova:
Folklore made real and personal. It is a reconstruction of our past appreciation of nature.

DD: Your films are laced with saturated colour - why is colour important to your work?
Tereza Buskova:
A lot of the colours found in rural costumes hold symbolic meaning. I have always struggled to express myself verbally, so I often expressed myself visually. Like the costumes of old, the imagery of my work holds more than just aesthetic functions. It can contain erotic, healing and magical properties.

DD: You came from printmaking at the RCA but now make film and video also - what relationship do you and the work have to printmaking still?
Tereza Buskova:
Making video is important to me, but I usually make screen prints and live performance as well. I will express myself through any media. I don’t like to trap my work in one specific space or time. I liked Paul Carey-Kent’s description of my videos as a series of moving paintings. The videos are part documentation of events and part tableaux vivants.

DD: Czech folklore and culture dominates the subject matter of many of your works - how does this relate to your cultural heritage and how is it important?
Tereza Buskova:
Since I emigrated from Czech I am more interested in my Czech heritage. It is important because it brings us together and holds qualities that our materialistic world lacks. Why should it only exist in villages and museums?

DD: How do you support your artistic practice?
Tereza Buskova:
Support in funding and opportunities from collectors like Anita Zabludowicz, David Roberts Chris Shaw & Robert Diament, government bodies like the Arts Council and the Czech Centre & my family. Curatorial guidance from people like Elizabeth Neilson, Ellen Mara De Wachter & Vincent Honore. Partnership with people who make the work with me like my long term performer Zoe Simon and composer Bela Emerson.

DD: Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?
Tereza Buskova:
Exhibiting all over the world both inside and outside of established contemporary art institutions. Making more work, hopefully with more participation from ethnographers and people who celebrate traditions.

DD: What gallery would you most like to show in?
Tereza Buskova:
Pompidou Centre, Paris. They show great films and I fell in love with it during my residency at the Cite des Artistes.

DD: Which of your contemporaries do you admire?
Tereza Buskova:
Matthew Cowan. His work is fun and resonates with me.

DD: What artists in history have inspired you?
Tereza Buskova:
Maya Deren and Sergei Parajanov.

Tereza Buskova is currently working on a commission for the Lincoln Art Programme which will be exhibited this August at the Chambers Farm Wood in Lincolnshire. More info on the Converse/Dazed Emerging Artists Award 2011 HERE

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