Displacement I & II
by Marie Tomanova

 “Displacement I & II”
by Marie Tomanova

Artist Statement

In my work I examine and explore questions of identity through self-portraiture. I am interested in how gender, sexuality, age, and cultural background affect identity and how we are shaped by the places and society that we grow up in.

I was born in former Czechoslovakia and self-portraiture had been the main focus in my paintings. I painted myself in various stages of undress and very often was symbolizing my femininity by exposing the genitals. I struggled with objectification and female oppression in local heavy patriarchal system. After I finished my Master’s degree at Faculty of Fine Arts, I asked my professor if I may keep consulting with him in the future and he told me that “sure, if I sleep with him.”  That was as much as I wanted to take and I decided to leave to US for what I saw as freedom.

After moving to US and being daily exposed to new culture, societal norms, expectations, surroundings and landscape I felt even stronger urge to elaborate and explore on who I am and how one’s identity is and could be flexible. I felt the need to document myself in new environment in order to not lose my “old” self and switched to more instant medium of photography. My anxiety was eventually replaced by comfort and understanding that self is fluid and transformative. That allowed me to become more abstract, yet even more intimate in my latest work where I use my body as a form to explore relationship between nature and the human body. 


Marie Tomanova was born 1984 in former Czechoslovakia. She received her MFA in painting from Faculty of Fine Arts at University of Technology, Czech Republic in 2010. She currently lives and works in Brooklyn. Through photography, performance, installation and video, her work focuses on the nature of identity, gender, displacement, and sexuality. Tomanova has shown her work at exhibitions at SPRING/BREAK Art Show (NYC), Museum Of Sex (NYC), A.I.R. Gallery (NYC), Czech Center New York (NYC), TED x Prague (Czech Republic), Untitled Space (NYC), Ars Gallery (Czech Republic), Galerie G99 (Czech Republic), Pop ART (Canada), Orange County Center for Contemporary Art (Santa Ana, CA), among others.

She curated Youth Explosion: The New Bohemia (2016) and Baby, I Like It Raw: Post-Eastern Bloc Photography and Video (2017) for Czech Center New York. She co-curated The Future Is Female for #SAVEARTSPACE public art installation (2017) and The New Bohemia for Czech Center New York (2017). She is collaborating on multi-media performance project Miss Amerikawith Mirenka Cechova which was introduced at TED x Prague Women and will be fully released in spring 2018 in Prague (Czech Republic).

Her work has been featured in Purple, i-D, Dazed, VICE, Creators Project, Huffington Post, Osmos, Numero, W Magazine, Calvert Journal, Amuse, Interview Magazine, AnOther, Art Report, iGNANT, Nylon, Metal, Artalk, among other publications.