Natalie Perkof

What Has Happened to Abundance? / 2024 / painting / acrylic and wood inlay on canvas (2.5 × 1.8 m)

What Has Happened to Abundance? / 2023 / painting / carbon fiber and acrylic on canvas (1.7 × 2.5 m) / courtesy of the artist

Natalie Perkof – What Has Happened to Abundance? 2024, 2023, Biennale Matter of Art 2024, National Gallery Prague – Trade Fair Palace (c) Jonáš Verešpej

Natalie Perkof (lives in Brno, b. Uherské Hradiště (Czech republic), 1979) is interested in why more and more young people are turning to farming to produce their own food. Is it just a trend for a few ecologically minded persons, or is it a sign of deeper, more meaningful change? What does abundance – having more than enough of something – mean to us today? Natalie thinks about this through her own experience. She is of Czech-Ghanaian descent, from a South Moravian family with rural roots. A few years ago she started doing organic farming with her family. The concept of plenty has been a popular topic in the history of painting. From Baroque images with the horn of plenty to socialist realist artworks showing abundant harvests as a symbol of good life for all. Today the capitalist system produces plenty for a select few, while the majority faces a global food crisis because of climate change and ongoing wars. This darker side of abundance is also present in Natalie Perkof’s works. In one of her paintings she uses carbon fiber to create a picture of freshly picked crops. There is a tension between the carefully shaped vegetables and the black, oil-like material they are made from. A feeling of unease hangs in the air. Is the harvest in danger? The second canvas shows Natalie and her husband holding crops in their arms. They ironically assume heroic poses as builders of the nation. They remind us of socialist realist imagery that celebrated the alliance of workers and peasants, or the friendship among people.

From the artist's archive

Natalie Perkof studied painting at the Faculty of Fine Arts and Music of the University of Ostrava and at the Faculty of Fine Arts of the Brno University of Technology, graduating in 2005. The starting point of Perkof’s expression lies in figural painting, in which she applies a strong reductiveness, lapidary forms, bright pastel colors, and an emphasis on material experimentation. Over time her practice has naturally expanded into the creation of objects, the field of photography, site-specific installations, graphic design, and realizations in architecture.

She has exhibited in galleries in Prague such as hunt kastner, Display, and Kurzor, and she was a part of the contemporary art festival Survival Kit 14, curated by Inga Lāce and Alicia Knock in Riga. Perkof lives and works in Brno.