It is often quite pleasant to encounter art
like Matea Bakula’s. Straightforward, with
no false ambitions and visually attractive
as well. Her sculptures reflect the fact that she
knows what she wants from her materials
– by examining their qualities, which are
often quite mundane, she makes choices in
combining them together, which, as a thought
process, could be classified as a sculpture
itself, together with the resulting object.
She is charmed by various materials, while
still being aware of their inferiority and
mediocrity which hide their inherent qualities.
Sometimes the materials seem to be something
else – the resin is caramel, a grey plastic
tube is actually perspex glass. The rigorously
measured surface of the objects stems from
the modernist tradition with references to
abstraction, minimalism and arte povera. Only
a second look reveals what is going on in the
work and how it was made. A tiny twist comes
across like a good magic trick.
Matea Bakula belongs to a wider lowermiddle
stream that enlivens contemporary
art by seemingly self-centered scrutiny
of its own origins, whether this would be
photographers immersed in analogy image
production or media artists whose point of
departure is the technological character
of the employed media. As a sculptor
Bakula thus concentrates on exploring
the possibilities and limits of the individual
(possibly) sculpting materials, or in fact,
what her methods and processes can do with
these materials. Her objects are neither
narrative nor realistic in the traditional
sense. Their realism lies in the materials
being themselves and nothing else. The
narrative aspect is similarly strong because
each sculpture demands further inspection
and begs the viewer to find out what is
happening inside, what was the method used
in their creation and why the artist chose
this or that material or their combination.
All of this by itself composes a strong
narrative influencing one’s imagery which
in turn fills the strict minimalist forms of
the sculptures with content. Let’s take one
representative example that illustrates the
rest: just by cutting, rolls of the cheapest
wallpaper, found absolutely everywhere in
the Netherlands, were turned into small
birch logs; and the paper thus at least
optically returned to its original form
– i.e. wood. Paper of the wallpaper rolls
was transformed into something that is by
the majority of us perceived positively and
warmly; but at the same time they remain
being themselves as well as a lasting reminder
of the banality that can be produced from
the original, rather noble material.
So far it seems that there is no reason to
worry about Matea Bakula getting stuck
or running into a dead-end. Our modern
civilization never ceases to produce ever new,
sometimes surprisingly simple, other times
disquietingly hybrid materials. The rapid pace
of this evolution causes that these novelties
turn banal invisible. That is when a grandiose
entry into the world of art awaits them.

Written by Radek Vá┼ła


Education :
2009 - 2013
HKU (University of the Arts, Utrechts)

Exhibitions :
Prospects and concepts, Art Rotterdam, Rotterdam
Unfair, Westergasfabriek, Amsterdam
Art Cologne, Cologne
The chemistry between doctor Frank and me (Solo), Lumen Travo gallery, Amsterdam
Dream online art fair, represented by gallery Jeanine Hofland
Work Title Situation #4, Work Space Brussels, Brussels
Let us meet and let us meet again, Casco, Utrecht
Work Title Situation #3, Work Space Brussels, Brussels
I wish I never kissed that frog, Jeanine Hofland, Amsterdam
Art Brussels, represented by gallery Jeanine Hofland, Brussels
Art Rotterdam, represented by gallery Jeanine Hofland, Rotterdam
Unfair,  Amsterdam
Matea Bakula (Solo), GAVU, Cheb
Started, Czech Centres, Prague
Start Point Prize, Arti et Amacetiae, Amsterdam
We Know This Much, Space Untitled, Maarssen
Start Point Prize, KASK, Ghent
The Artist As Producer, Bewaerschole, Burgh
Start Point Prize, Dox, Praag
Best Of Graduates Exhibitions, Ron Mandos, Amsterdam
Exposure, HKU, Utrecht
Formal Attire, Kunstpodium T, Tilburg
Perspektiva, ‘t Hoogt, Utrecht

Prizes  / Honorable Mentions / Nominations / Funds :
Interest free loan awarded from Fonds Kwadraat
Werkbijdrage Jong Talent awarderd from Mondrian fund
Prize winner, Startpoint Prize: Best European Emerging Artist, Prague
Honorable Mentions, Ron Mandos, Amsterdam

Publications :
Matea Bakula, made possible by GAVU Cheb & Start Point Prize
(Feel free to send me an e-mail if you'd like to receive a publication)
Startpoint Prize Catalogue 2013

Residencies :
Startpoint Prize Emerging Artist Residency, Prague

Activities :
2015 -
Member @ Das Spectrum
2013 - 2014
Committee member, Foundation AAN: Platform for starting artists
Internship @ Lotte Geeven

Works and lives in Utrecht. Born in Sarajevo, 1990.