Eleven Eleven Sculpture Space


Blanka Sperkova

In this exhibit:

Possibilities of Embryo

Steel wire


Steel wire

Chaotic Space Installation

Steel wire

Tao Lace

Steel wire


Skunk Collar

Zinc wire

Rabbit Collar

Zinc wire


Artist's statement


My work is inspired by traditional wire craft of Slovak tinker. In the 18th and 19th centuries, poor people from northern Slovakia used to travel around Europe, using a unique technology to repair pots and broken ceramics. They wired the broken pots together with nets. The tinkers' trade was a mans job because strong hands were needed to work with the wire.

I wanted to find out how these traditional tinkers did their work. When I first started out, I used fine wire. What I discovered doing this was something rather different. To avoid pulling the end of the wire into the mesh, I just pushed the continuous strand through with my fingers. The structure of the net made this way looks knitted, while its transparency suggests lace. I come from a region of Slovakia where making lace is still a traditional occupation for women. So my work has both masculine and feminine elements to it.

For me, the objects I make with this technique are like matrix. At times I have pressed them flat to make black and white prints, or I have animated them in my movies. I like to use spotlights when making images in order to create shadows that become a more expressive element than the object itself. For my last installation, which I called Tao Lace, I lit several objects with spotlights and used a computer to switch the spotlights off and on at random. Each random lighting created an evanescent shadow lace on the wall. These compositions kept changing and could not be touched.

I want to continue this project, but this time by revolving the objects so that the shadows created with each random are more virtual and more different.

Blanka Sperkova began to experiment with wire in 1970. Inspired by tradional wire techniques used by Slovak tinkers, she has worked extensively with wire since 1975. She does not, however, use traditional tinker techniques. Rather, she has created a unique technique of finger knitting, which uses neither knitting needles nor other tools. Using a basic loop, she creates both free sculptures and jewelry. Early in her career, she created figurative forms, based on the human body and animal motifs, but these gradually evolved into more abstract forms, always based on some distinct meaning. She has applied her wire techniques to her work in animated film and graphics. She often manipulates the airy transparency of knitted wire to create forms within forms that demonstrate an expressive interplay between light and shadow. Sperkova takes part in both solo and group exhibits at home and abroad and has received several awards for her work. Her sculpture and jewelry, as well as her paintings, are in museums and private collections in the Czech and Slovak republics and abroad.

After years of making so many heads, hands, legs, torsos, backsides, and fronts, I found myself looking to make more general, more abstract forms. Once again, however, I am coming back to organic shapes, which seem to force themselves on me. Despite my attempts to drive them away and to remove any similarity, there are always concrete shapes suggesting something familiar. Thus, my objects take shape from within themselves; they anticipate themselves. There is matter, then form. Or there is form, then matter. "Infinitely small changes at the very beginning can show markedly during large-scale changes in time and space." This sentence, which I copied from a book somewhere, intrigues me because it precisely formulates what I am engaged in and what I am attempting to explore through my wire knit works in different scales. It is what I am here to do. The gauge of the wire determines the size of the knitted loops and that dictates the limit for the volume of the piece. If I do not respect the dictates of structure, the form loses its shape, its inner stress, its virtue. It dries up, like an apple that has lost all its juice.

Home     Artists      About Eleven Eleven       Contact        Directions/Hours     Press     Catalog