Matadero Madrid center for contemporary creation

From May to June 2023

Martina Drozd Smutná

Labor, class and Goya

Martina Drozd Smutná’s paintings reveal her holistic attitude towards the questions of gender, class, social inequalities, power structures and the related landscape of relationships and emotions. The artworks reflect profound research (especially on the historical construction of the so-called female painting) and analysis of the working and social conditions of Martina’s own role as a contemporary artist.

Human bodies in her predominantly figurative paintings are often fragmented, reassembled and intertwined, touching upon the dynamics of family, kinship and sexual relations. They also revisit social hierarchies and question the image of aristocracy from today’s perspective. Her twisted dancing figures or servants are painterly reference to mannerist paintings as well as to Francisco Goya’s depiction of Spanish aristocracy with its desirable social standars. She will take the opportunity to study Goya’s oeuvre during her residency in Madrid. She would like to explore what could contemporary art adopt from Goya’s criticism and his approach to class society.


Martina Drozd Smutná (1989) is currently a PhD student in the studio of Intermedia II at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, where she previously graduated in the Studio of Painting II. She became an award holder of the Jindřich Chalupecký Art Award (2022), and finalist of the EXIT Award (2015), and took part in the residency program at the Izolyatsia cultural centre in Kiev and the Czech Centre in Bucharest. As part of the AKTION scholarship program, she elaborated on the topic of her dissertation thesis at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, focusing on the origins and consequences of the use of gender-based evaluation and the understanding of painting as a masculine discipline. She regularly presents her work at solo and group exhibitions on the Czech scene, e.g. at the Mladých Gallery in Brno (2020), Dole Gallery in Ostrava (2020), the National Gallery in Prague (2019), and the NOD Gallery in Prague (2018), as well as abroad, e.g. at Kunsthalle Trafo in Szczecin (2021), at the Baltic Triennial in Lithuania (2021), and at the Exile Gallery in Vienna (2021) or Efa Project Space in New York (2022).

She is a beneficiary of this residency as the Jindřich Chalupecký Award 2022 holder.