Lenka L. Lukačovičová’s project Lonely Planet Trnávka shows us an unknown face of Bratislava, which you won’t find in any kind of travel guide.
Hlavné námestie (Main Square), Blue Church, Museum of City History, Castle, Saint Martin’s Cathedral. These are the ‘Top Choices’ among the ‘Must See Attractions in Bratislava’ according to Lonely Planet. Unsurprisingly, Trnávka, a neighborhood of the Slovakian capital, is not on the list. It is about 5 kilometers away from the city center, and one can find a kindergarden, school, church, football field, health center, post office, police station, and shopping center there. “The place has its own atmosphere with its own urbanist, architectural character, and rural-urban environment. It is known for fire lanes and for Masaryk colony which was built in the interwar period. Until recently, it had a reputation as a wild periphery, and also as an uncontrolled island that a certain way resisted capitalization”, says Lenka about Trnávka, where there are no Must See Attractions. Or are there?
Artists often bring to our attention previously unnoticed ideas, objects, or places. People go to school, work, shop, and do business without paying much attention to their environment, especially when for example they don’t live in a historical city center. Lenka L. Lukačovičová‘s project called Lonely Planet Trnávka shows us the sometimes funny, sometimes absurd still lifes of Trnávka. The title contains a double-edged ironic reference to the famous travel guide publisher. “The first is that there is an absolute absence of cultural enjoyment, and the second is related to the vitrine gallery that I have rented. This is the place where I change pictures once a month. It creates a kind of guide to the place where we live—a place full of transformation.”
Since Lenka lives in the neighborhood, it is not an exotic place for her. She does not look around with a tourist’s eye, but from an inner point of view. Moreover, she looks carefully and memorizes the things around her, so she always finds something interesting. “I move around here non-stop. I have a camera in my bag, and when I go for a coffee, for example, I often notice some absurdity, which I immediately take a picture of. I also memorize the places where the reconstruction is underway or where changes occur, and regularly map them and return there on a walk to capture them.”
The photographer is part of the community in Trnávka. As she shows her photos in the local vitrine gallery, on Instagram, in exhibitions, and zines, the locals are aware of the project. Even more importantly, the photographs evoke pleasant memories, provide the opportunity to look playfully at the surroundings and create a sense of community. “People react mostly positively. Once an old lady called me saying that she had seen her old car in the picture and that she would love to own this picture. Some people also text me when they prepare an event or they build something. They also love to guess where I found this or that object because they didn’t notice it in their everyday life.”
Although Lonely Planet probably will never recommend Trnávka among the ‘Must See Attractions in Bratislava,’ Lenka does. “Only here will you find tiger blankets on the fence, dinosaur models in the garden, benches with ‘slippers,’ persimmons, a car with eyelashes. It is what it is.”
Lenka Lukačovičová | Web | Instagram
Lonely Planet Trnávka | Web | Instagram