Erika Voith / BODY - GOLD - LIGHT

Pure gold is an exclusive material for artistic production. Because of its unique properties, such as its rarity and nobility, its dazzling brilliance, or its remarkable resistance to chemical and physical deterioration, it has been a precious element in works of art since thousands of years ago and across all continents. Yet gold has always been given the most glorious significance – a lofty royal status, or even divinity. In Christian terms, gold signifies the divine light or glory of the Kingdom of Heaven. Byzantine icons, monumental mosaics, and small illuminations of medieval manuscripts shine with gold. Last but not least, the precious metal enriches the panel paintings of altarpieces, where polished slices of pure gold illuminate the background of the compositions. This suggests an ethereal sacred agency that takes place in an abstract timelessness but simultaneously acquires a timeless validity.

Erika Voith's golden-veiled paintings are based on her fascination with magnificent Byzantine icons or early Christian mosaics. An intense impulse led the artist to perfect the ancient artisanal method of gilding. The authenticity of her work in the context of a long tradition is underlined by the use of pure 24-carat gold and pigments ground in the famous Dutch mill Verfmolen de Kat. The predominantly earthy tones in a variety of shades aptly balance the bright metallic shimmer in a harmonious chord of warmly tuned colour.

Erica's wide repertoire of subjects is dominated by the naked human body in various positions and poses, always rendered veristically. The painter pays special attention to gestures, artistic hand positions, and each joint of the individual fingers. Do the hands speaking as an instrument of silent communication contain a hidden meaning, a secret code? Moreover, the carefully recorded supple skin of the palms evokes an intimate human touch, an exposed fragility and vulnerability. With an all-encompassing golden aura, Erika seems to pay homage to humanity. She shows respect for the body in its role as an elaborate temple and for human sensitivity to others and oneself.

This year, the artist has shifted the expression of her works towards current trends. She added an element of real light to her paintings in the form of neon tubes and illuminated light boxes. The glow from an electric source is a parallel to the imaginary glow of gold. At the same time, a novel contrast is necessarily created between a value proven over thousands of years and a recent achievement of modern society.

Michaela Vaňková