Regarding Dominika Berger’s painting style, the well-known journalist and professor Sergi Doria wrote: If figuration were equivalent to a clear gaze and abstraction to closed eyes, the work of this artist would constitute the most refined fusion of both options.
The faces that star in her paintings, iconic transcripts of the author, sometimes appear fragmented and sometimes with their eyes closed, and are reconverted into a topography that, as in Borges’ “El Hacedor”, ends up composing a labyrinth of lines.
Each of Berger’s canvases is a challenge to introspection. The face – more drawn than painted – exudes an aura of spiritual fullness: rarely has existence been so explicitly depicted with the fragmentation of the human face.
Dominika Berger’s other merit is is having overcome the manichaeism between figuration and abstraction, turning both pictorial disciplines into communicating vessels. From the detail of the facial features, from the meticulousness of the skin folds – like a tectonic plate of life stages – we move on to the superimposition of planes and the challenging apogee of the line and abstract geometries. In an eternal return, the artist asks herself again who she is and why she is who she is.
The project we are presenting for the Barcelona Gallery Weekend is a highly refined expression of Dominika Berger’s work over the last fifteen years: personal identity as a mythology to explain oneself in the world. As in Adam Zagajewski’s poem, “only faces light up like lamps, / like the welders’ blowtorches that at night / repair iron amidst clouds of sparks”. Seldom has a face composed, in such a way, the austere rictus of sincerity.
Regarding her own work, the artist writes:
My paintings are like an obsessive telling of my personal story, reiterating the theme of the human face in various configurations.
The faces appear in different formats, more drawn than painted. In this sense they are related to the traditional practice of pictorial sketching.
My carefulness when drawing faces allows me to slowly mature my artistic vision. I carefully translate the forms of the human face, its fragments and my imagination into the language of visual arts. A language with its own grammar; where the line and stain become subject and predicate. This is how I create my personal language or graphics on canvas.
Over the years, the colour in my paintings has undergone notable changes. Coming from monochromatic artworks with strong contrasts, it has ended up becoming an unreal chromatism, always following its independent role in the definition of the faces. Colour has always been metaphorical, independent, a vehicle of emotion, and has competed with drawing while also enhancing its three-dimensionality. For this reason, it differs from reality, and never conforms to the natural colour of the face.
My artworks arise from a slow and meticulous contemplation of the subject, from which emerges a clear determination in the way of executing it. I like the execution to have elements of sobriety and moderation. Hence I tend to simplify the forms in order to bring more clarity to the pictorial content.
Despite the evolution of my painting style over the years, there is one thing that has remained intact, unchanging: the meticulousness and care in my drawings, deliberately worked on, which allows the main idea of the painting to come out well defined.