Lace by Božena Janeková

Genre: exhibition
Space: Tatranská Lomnica
Duration: 30.11.2010 – 2.3.2011
Vernissage: on 25.11.2010 at 15.00 in the ÚĽUV Gallery Tatranská Lomnica

ÚĽUV prepares an exhibition of the collected work of Božena Janeková, an artist that during her nearly 40-year long carrier in The Centre for Folk Art Production addict herself to the traditional mining and peasant lace.

Visual artist – designer Božena Janeková (*1929) was „a significant person in the ÚĽUV who was defining what was important in the organisation in terms of artistic ideas and production principles in the field of lace making.
A native of the village of Sobotište of the Záhorie region, Janeková got acquainted with the lace making art when she was a student at the Secondary school for female occupations in the city of Bratislava at which she got familiar with drawing art and textile techniques. When she had graduated from the school in 1947 and with good general knowledge of textile industry, Janeková accepted a position of a drawer of folk costumes for the archive of the ÚĽUV in 1950. Her career took a turn for better in 1956 – 1957, when Janeková was delegated by the ÚĽUV to study at prestigious Institution of Art Production in the city of Prague. Božena Janeková got familiar with the advanced and modern Czech lace making school, leant more about the bobbin and trolley lace making and improved her drawing and designing skills. Janeková made use of such knowledge when she was promoted to be the head of lace making department in 1959. Janeková remained to work as the senior lace developer in the ÚĽUV from 1979 until 1989 when she retired.
Božena Janeková was a member of the prolific generation of visual artists working for the ÚĽUV in the 1960s and 1970s. She learnt a lot about art from her contacts with visual artists, ethnographers and theoreticians E. Marková, V. Kautman, S. Koreň and with E. Holéczyová with whom she has made friends when her husband and significant art photographer Pavol Janek who worked for the ÚĽUV for a long period introduced them. They are the generation who formed “the ÚĽUV thinking” based on the principles of post-functional aesthetics respecting folk art for being a harmony of function, form and material and who followed Vydra´s principles of „developing new forms, new beauty for the 20th century.“
Besides, the cooperation of Božena Janeková and folk lace makers who were realising her creative designs was also good for them. Her constant contacts with lace making centres and the improvement courses she held appeared as a good idea as makers made use of them in their work. On the other side, Janeková made use of the competence and improvising skills of lace makers. Namely, she got inspiration from the traditional lace of the villages of Hlboké, Solivar, Slovenský Grob and the region of Gemer and from the lace from the villages of Staré Hory, Špania dolina, Hont and Novohrad.
From the beginning of her career, Janeková sought to identify the most suitable lace for practical daily use. She made many designs of utility and decorative textiles such as dining sets, covers, table cloths for households. Therefore, she prefers flex, hemp and cotton threads for low maintenance costs. It is also in harmony with then-style of the ÚĽUV, in natura visual thinking seeking for stern colours, appearance and techniques.
Starting from the 1970s, B. Janeková has expanded her designs by adding free-style textile work. She started with lace pictures of flowers, leaves, trees, birds, figures or abstract motives. Janeková has sought to develop cheap lace – souvenirs – and has made bobbin lace miniatures. She has made designs of tapestries which were very popular as decorative elements of official buildings, town halls and wedding rooms in the 1970s. A female wearing regional folk costume is the most popular theme of her tapestries. Janeková prefers geometric shapes, however, she also gets inspiration from the lace of the Gemer region. Janeková uses wool fleece in her tapestries to highlight plasticity of the work.

By organising the exhibition, we would like to thank Božena Janeková for her work which has been very important for the creative atmosphere in the ÚĽUV and to pay homage for the significant work she did for the Slovak lace making.