This exhibition can be regarded as groundbreaking for several reasons. It is the first solo exhibition by a Slovak artist in the FOG Gallery. And the presented works also represent a milestone in the art of Natália Evelyn Benčičová, who has tended to be regarded as a fashion photographer with a clearly recognizable visual style applied to her free production too: consistently elaborated compositions with the obvious aim of clean lines and simplified shapes. This is complemented by an undertone scale of colours, occasionally contrasted with one bright colour, for instance red. The dominant motif of her works to date has been human figures.
The projects exhibited in the FOG Gallery could not be different in this regard, though on deeper inspection we can trace the author’s imprint. The most remarkable shift is in the source of inspiration. This no longer lies in the world of social values and lifestyle alone. It considers environmental issues, with nature and its power playing the main role. The title, SIMULACRAUM, already suggests that this project depicts a certain kind of imitation/simulation of the natural world, where nature is preserved only in a human-controlled space. On one hand, the artist allows us to view the unstoppable expansion of plants; on the other, she admits, by revealing details of its construction, that this is an artificial environment. So the resulting effect is as if both worlds were struggling for dominance. The obvious shift from Benčičová´s previous works in subject and message is balanced by connecting similarities on other levels, when inspected more deeply. Moreover, in this project the author works with a broad scale of colours. These range from greens and greys to blues, while attentive viewers can find subtle contrasts of red or yellow. Although the compositions create rather complicated structures, in accordance with the main idea the effect of a controlled, artificial environment still corresponds with the atmosphere of Benčičová’s previous works.
If we define the photographic project SIMULACRAUM as a certain kind of simulation, in the next work, Anti-Atlantis (Sensus Communis), which takes the form of virtual reality, this characteristic counts to the word. The unstoppable rampancy of nature blossoms into an almost apocalyptic vision of exuberance. The absence of any human form demonstrates the potential of humans to arrive at absolute self-destruction. In the context of concerns about the global climate crisis, we can view this work as an opinion: that nature always survives, but people might not. The reference to death, a sort of memento mori, can be found in all Evelyn Benčičová’s work.