Installation view of Vojtěch Kovařík’s work <em>The three fates: Clotho, Lachesis, Atropos</em> on display as part of NGV Triennial from 3 December 2023 – 7 April 2024 at NGV International, Melbourne. Photo: Sean Fennessy

Vojtěch Kovařík

Photo: courtesy of the artist

Vojtěch Kovařík
Czech Republic born 1993

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NGV International
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Vojtěch Kovařík is inspired by motifs, symbols and narratives from ancient Greek and Roman mythology. On each of the three large canvases comprising the Fates, Kovařík depicts the three ancient Greek goddesses of destiny: Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos. These three sisters, known as the Fates, determined how long each mortal would live and the manner in which they lived. In literature and art this was symbolised by the Fates spinning the thread of human life that was created, measured, then cut, signalling death.

The Fates were typically emotionally detached and impartial. Kovařík’s figures however, express a sense of awe and pity which significantly liberates them from their ancient pagan context. Kovařík wants us to share and empathise with their anguish, subverting the traditional stereotype of ancient art that audiences are accustomed to.

Iconography and mythology are fundamental in Vojtěch Kovařík’s work. His large-format, forceful and vividly coloured compositions evoke the strength of sculpture. His herculean figures are contorted, seemingly defeated by the frame of the canvas, flaunting their blue, green and yellow flesh among vegetal backgrounds. An autodidact, Kovařík was first trained in ceramics and sculpture but is a self-taught painter, often combining oil, acrylic and spray paint in a manner that creates textured painted surfaces.

Purchased with funds donated by July Cao, 2022