PETRA LAJDOVÁ: SLOVAK RENAISSANCE
When Beauty Comes to Light
The exhibition of Slovak photographer Petra Lajdová celebrates the beauty and wealth of Slovak folk culture. It features a Renaissance of traditional clothing, tops and headdresses of single and married women and honors their aesthetics, grace and artistic value. Lajdová chose an unconventional path to highlight the unbelievable variety, color and complexity of these traditional costume accessories, while emphasizing the detail and creativity which raises unexpected emotions.
This project arose in 2012 and was developed up to 2014. The first inspiration came from meetings in Italy, where she was inspired by collections and photographs of traditional clothing from various corners of the world. Parts of the folk costumes in the 20 large format photographs are originals which she found in private collections from various regions of Slovakia. Some are 200 years old. She also selected items from the artistic workshop of Šarlota Kišová and the costume archives of the Lúčnica Slovak National Folklore Ballet Company. She also spoke with experts, ethnologists and folklorists. Through her perception of light, the selection of the shapes of headdresses and the models, Petra Lajdová found a link with symbols and cultures all over the world. Simplicity is crucial for her. She harmoniously combines object, light, the models wearing these folk gems, authentic and strong expressions for the given period and the idea of rebirth in a perfect unity which carries a strong emotional charge. She strives to deliver “from the shadows” this multicolored image through the beauty of Slovak women in floral wedding headbands and head-dresses. She also sees the patterns and decorations as a reflection of respect, esteem and humility towards nature as well as women, their beauty, majesty and strength.
She also created a black and white photo documentation of čepčenie, the wedding ritual of taking off the wedding veil and donning the headdress worn by married women. It involves a complicated arrangement of the head, which is highly demanding for women who still master this art.
Petra Lajdová offers a modern view of this precious cultural heritage to today’s generations in an attractive and inspirational form. She preserves and communicates the heritage of past generations with great respect.