Zuzana Kotiková
3 min

Willeke van Ravenhorst: Podolný & Oddajný's Legacy

Willeke van Ravenhorst is an installation artist from Arnhem, the Netherlands. She was educated at the Arnhem Art Academy and recently received a scholarship for young talent from the Mondriaan Fund. She has done many projects in public space and in vacant and abandoned buildings, which draw her fascination.

During her two months at residency in Košice within the project K.A.I.R. Košice Artist in Residence she worked on site-specific installation in the interesting space of Kotolňa. For the installation she created a story about two characters Podolný and Oddajný. Their names are combination of the Slovak words ‚odolný‘ (resistant or strong) and ‚poddajný‘ (submissive or soft). The adjectives odolný and poddajný are in Slovak language masculine, but the characters in the story are feminine. She plays with the language same as she plays with two main materials in her installation, metal and fabric. Metal is seen as the strong material and fabric as the soft one, but when she works with them, the metal is bent into the required shape but the fabric holds it together. One material supports the other. Each of them is strong and soft in different ways. 

K.A.IR. Košice Artist in Residence is the residency programme of the organization Creative Industry Košice. The residency was supported by Ministry of Culture of the Slovak Republic and by Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Bratislava.

Podolný & Oddajný’s Legacy

"The story of Podolný & Oddajný concerns Oddajný who comes from the earth and lives on the ground and Podolný who comes from the flower petals and lives in the sky. Oddajný's biggest wish is to be able to soar through the skies, but unfortunately, her body does not work in her favour. She can reach towards the sky, but because she is too heavy and also flexible, when she reaches a certain height, her body automatically bends over and falls down towards the ground again. And while she is flexible, she can't keep a form because of the rigidness of her body. When she has grown long enough to potentially top the trees, her public attempt, attended by all the trees and flowers in the forest, fails completely and turns into a fiasco. Depressed and gloomy, Oddajný returns to weaving between the tree roots and plants on the ground of the forest. 

Then one day, Oddajný meets Podolný, who falls out of the sky, straight onto Oddajný’s face. Because Podolný's body is fragile, this collision tears a hole in her. Although Podolný is initially angry with Oddajný, when she learns of Oddajný's dream to reach the sky, she soon realises that the two of them can make each other's dreams come true by working together. You see, Podolný also has a dream. She can float on the wind, but she can't control the direction into which she floats, and whereas Oddajný can direct anywhere she wants to go, she is not able to float on the wind. On top of this, both cannot keep their own form. Podolný needs a frame to keep her form and Oddajný needs tension. Podolný can provide this tension to Oddajný, who in turn can be Podolný's frame. What they both actually want to do is to fly. And together, they can. Fixing each other's form by combining, Podolný's lightness enables them to float on the wind, and Oddajný's ability to direct put together, enables them to really fly. Together they travel through all parts of the sky, and all corners of the universe."