Czech Republic, 1955
At the age of thirteen she moved with her family to Canada, where she settled and studied at the Université Concordia in Montreal. Since her beginnings, in the late seventies, the body has been a fundamental element in her work. A presence which is felt or guessed at, but never made explicit; the body in itself is not the focus of attention, as the artist uses it metaphorically. Through the body Jana Sterbak has pondered the physical limits imposed on us by our own experience. Her training, a combination of the familiar Czech cultural heritage, bound up with the communist regime, and the capitalist rationalism of Canada has enabled her to remain at an ironic distance from social values and their respective codes. Thus, her performances, installations and sculptures are always imbued with the tension that underlies everything human: the tension between our desires for freedom or utopia and the limitations with which we construct those desires.
David G. Torres