If figuration were equivalent to a clear gaze and abstraction to closed eyes, Dominika Berger’s work would constitute the most refined fusion of both options. The faces that star in her paintings, iconic transcripts of the author, always appear 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 for introspection. As in Brian Duffy’s photo for the cover of “Aladdin Sane” – that Bowie with closed eyes who has not died, but meditates on his own disguise -, the serialized face – more drawn than painted – gives off an aura of spiritual plenitude: rarely has existence been represented so explicitly with closed eyes.
The other merit of Dominika Berger is to have overcome the Manichaeism between figuration and abstraction, turning both pictorial disciplines into communicating vessels. From the detailing of facial features, from the meticulousness of skin folds -like a tectonic plate of vital stages-, we move on to the superimposition of planes and the challenging apogee of line and abstract geometries. In an eternal return, the artist asks herself again who she is and why she is who she is.
The present exhibition is the most refined expression of fifteen years of work: personal identity as a mythology to explain herself in the world. As in Adam Zagajewski’s poem, “only the faces light up like lamps, / just like the welders’ blowtorches that at night / repair iron among clouds of sparks”. Seldom, as in Dominika Berger’s painting, have closed eyes said so much. Rarely has a face composed, in such a way, the austere rictus of sincerity.