Monika Tichacek | below the surface lies the softness of your longing

10 February – 5 March 2016


The impulse for this work came from an image of a half decomposed seagull that I had hanging on my wall for years. It shows the image of a partially decomposed bird, revealing intestines filled with indigestible human plastic waste. The image speaks to me of vulnerability, ruptures of boundaries and interconnectivity.


The covers are taken off our sense of self-protection and boundary.  Interconnectivity for the better or the worse.1


Monika Tichacek has always had a particular sensitivity to the horror and atrocities of humanity as well as the more subtle forms of oppression.


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In one of her early performance works, Romance 2001, Tichacek explored the singular experience as a female in this privileged culture, which shone light on the ultimately defeating feminine social constructs of unattainable beauty, revealing their oppressive and brutal nature.


Delving further into the distorted subconscious of the human psyche, the video work The Shadowers 2004, played out as a sequence of bizarrely imaginative and exquisitely executed torments as enacted by three figures in Edenic forests and in lush, dark boudours.2


In this recent photographic series, Below the surface lies the softness of your longing, Tichacek turns to ideas of vulnerability, endurance, rupture, interconnectivity, life and death by drawing on the visual language of the fairytale, religious master paintings, and film stills.


Tichacek, dressed in a white robe, partially made of bandages and rags holds and carries, the dead raven in a nurtured embraced. The wounded body is bandaged, cleansed and able to contain death and decay. Tears are held by the child, pointing at innocence. Where do tears really come from? We have physical explanations, which meet with our mysterious vulnerability, our inner breaking point being touched, tears like deepsea pearls are brought up to the surface. There is a magic to tears, just as there is a magic to fairytales.


  1. Quote by Monika Tichacek December 2015
  2. Ted Colless, ‘Mirror Mirror…’, article in Australia Art Collector, issue 35, April-June 2005, p.73