Jarmila Džuppová

Daily Writing | Since 1992 | Artist books | Courtesy of the artist
Untitled I-II. | 2020 | Mixed media, paper | Courtesy DOT. Contemporary Art Gallery, Bratislava

Jarmila Džuppová’s diary writings are a scope of experiences, feelings and thoughts, which she has assembled as her parallel world and the basis for her painting and drawing work since childhood and early youth. They are full of handwritten texts into which drawings, clippings and photographs have nudged their way. They create a space for self-knowledge, recording one’s own artistic and human journey, personal history and specifically female experience fully and authentically drawn from life (especially) in Michalovce and in Eastern Slovakia. They are a reflection of passion and “pleasure of the text” (Roland Barthes) not written about something and for someone but indulging in the language. They are also a place of a doubt, seeking and finding our own artistic freedom, very much needed “so we can act harmoniously and strongly”, as the painter Ladislav Mednyánszky wrote in his diary at the end of the 19th century, with whom Jarka Džuppová may be associated with for her sense of light and its presence in the darkness, symbolism and melancholy but also hope and deep inner experience. In the diaries we also find signs of future events, which relate to the uncertainty of the present human, for whom the future is still more than Ingeborg Bachmann’s “deferred time”. If Jarka’s “notebooks” were intended for the public, we could consider them as artist books. However, they are in private mode and may only be viewed by the privileged through the author’s permission in the way that the author chooses.

“I write in my diaries daily, they were preceded by covers of high school notebooks, where I jotted down my impressions and then I read them over and over again and looked at it from every angle. I paste pictures, I arrange them randomly and with certainty, later, some sense of those groupings emerges on its own. The need of writing arose, because I felt that I was boring my loved ones with my stories and observations. One can return to the recorded impression and look at it differently. Paper clippings from children are not lost like this. By writing down and analyzing distress, I prevent it from growing and from forgetting what caused it. In fact, I quickly diffuse those distresses. Dreams, the fragments of developing children’s speech, dates, quotes from the radio, from books, excerpts from songs, usual stuff, everything that is interesting out there. And for the paintings, there are the first sparks that grow or transform, and within a maximum of six months they will transfigure.” (J. Dž.)