⟨ Art ⟩

Swimming Pool

The Long-Term Photography Project of Maria Svarbova

Texts / Ron Lam
Translation / Iris Heung

Maria Svarbova拍攝的泳池照片,彷彿也是泡在碧藍的池水裡的,泡久了,拿起來風乾,白色都黃了,而黃色就更黃,那黃是歲月,是不多久前留下的歷史,是Maria大把大把刻意抺在照片上的,也是泳池這空間不經意地刻上去的。




The photographic series ‘In the Swimming Pool’ by Maria Svarbova exudes a nostalgic vibe of a surreal swimming pool. In a way, the photos also appear washed out as if they have been left in the water for long. The faded colors of the images seem to constantly remind you of a certain piece of history borne by the space of the swimming pool.

Maria currently resides in Slovakia. From 1969 to 1990, the Slovak Socialist Republic was the official name of that part of Czechoslovakia that is Slovakia today. During that socialist era, public swimming pools were built throughout the country and many are still kept today. These communist architectures are austere but possess an abstract beauty of geometry, which is exactly what attracted Maria to embark on this ongoing project in these swimming pool locations since 2014.

The models in the picture series are all sporting brightly colored swimsuits and swimming caps. But in contrary, they all seem to pose uniformly motionless, as if they are halted by something in the middle of certain mechanical movements. One has no clues whether the frozen limbs represent a definite moment, or actually imply any next steps. The absence of emotion only exacerbates the characterless natures of the models.

Despite the lack of any intended sense of personality among the models, Maria does not attempt to express any message through them, nor make any commentary about the regime back then. The models are merely objects against the nostalgic backdrop, recreating a particular meaning for such space. As Maria says. “Space has no meaning without humans. It becomes empty – something is missing.”