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Vera Ryklova

Born 1974 (Czech Republic)


Vera Ryklova is a visual artist living in Ireland. She works in lens-based media and has been developing her practice since 2015. In 2022 Vera was awarded one-year studio residency at Dean Art Studios (Dublin) and received an Artist Prize from Making and Momentum (Wexford). In 2020 she was one of five selected Irish Talents to represent PhotoIreland at FUTURES, a Europe-based platform for photography. In 2017 she won the Hotron Art Works Prize for work by a recent graduate and in 2016 she was shortlisted for the Hennessy Portrait Prize, which exhibited at the National Gallery of Ireland. 

Vera has exhibited in several exhibitions, both solo and group, held in Ireland and the UK, including Custom House Studios + Gallery (Westport), Cultúrlann Mc Adam Ó Fiaich (Belfast), Triskel Arts Centre (Cork), the RHA Gallery (Dublin), Visual Centre for Contemporary Art (Carlow), Rua Red (Dublin), The Library Project (Dublin), the Ulster Museum (Belfast), and the FiLiA Feminist Conference (London, Manchaster).

Her work has been featured in photography journals and art publications and is included in public art collections by OPW, the Arts Council of Ireland and Trinity College Dublin. She also curated two group exhibitions which she presented in Dublin, in 2017 at The Complex and in 2015 at Steam Box Galleries.

Bio & Career

In her art practice Vera explores the concept of the self and the events that impact its social construction. She performs to the lens and produces photographic and video self-portraits, using the form of the series, as well as integrates a collaborative approach to her projects. Self-portraiture is not necessarily a genre her practice is focused on; it rather is the method she currently employs in exploring her subject. She uses the camera as a distancing device that may allow her to experience a state of catharsis. The link between the artistic execution and the liberating emotional discharge is also at the centre of her interest.

Vera’s practice is multi-layered. She mixes research with personal knowledge and merges elements of the events from her past and present, which all she then combines in the creative process. This way she builds a subject for the viewers to explore, as well as invites their life experiences to impact the reading of her work. 

Originally from the Czech Republic, Vera moved to Ireland in 2007. Brought by a pure desire for a life change, this has been a journey of personal discovery which led her to pursue an artistic career. In this very sense she is proud to consider herself an Irish artist.

Based in Dublin, Vera has also been resident in Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny. In 2021 she completed an MA in Art and Research Collaboration at the Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Dún Laoghaire. In 2015 she graduated from the same Institute with a BA (Hons) in Photography.

She is a professional member of Visual Artists Ireland. 

Awards and honours

  • 2022, One-year Studio Residency, Dean Art Studios, Dublin, Ireland
  • 2022, Making and Momentum Artist Prize, Making and Momentum, Wexford, Ireland 
  • 2021, Agility Award, The Arts Council Ireland
  • 2020, Irish Talent FUTURES 2020, nominated by PhotoIreland, Dublin, Ireland
  • 2017, Hotron ART WORKS Prize for work by a recent graduate, VISUAL Carlow, Carlow, Ireland
  • 2017, Professional Development Grant, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council


Solo exhibitions

  • 2021, 26th August – 19th September, Of the Body, Custom House Studios + Gallery, Westport, Ireland.
  • 2021, 4th Febuary – 25th March, Aesthetic Distance, Cultúrlann Mc Adam Ó Fiaich, Belfast, Northern Ireland.
  • 2018, 6th December – 28th January 2019, Aesthetic Distance, Triskel Arts Centre, Cork, Ireland, Co-curated with Becks Butler.

Group exhibitions

  • 2022, Person Presence Perception, Annual touring exhibition produced by OPW and DoF
  • 2022, Summer Group Exhibition, Custom House Studios + Gallery, Westport, Ireland. 
  • 2022, Images Are All We Have, Printworks, Dublin Castle, PhotoIreland Festival, Dublin, Ireland.
  • 2021, Open Submission Group Show, Dunamaise Arts Centre, Portlaoise, Ireland. 
  • 2021, 2021 HALFTONE Print Fair, The Library Project, Dublin, Ireland. 
  • 2021, Juncture: a place where things join, Pallas Projects/Studios, Dublin, Ireland.
  • 2020, FUTURES Irish Talents 2020, The Library Project, Dublin, Ireland. 
  • 2019, Winter Open 2019 Annual Exhibition, Rua Red, Dublin, Ireland. 
  • 2018, FiLiArt100 – FiLiA 2018 Feminist Conference, Manchester, UK. 
  • 2018, The 188th Annual Exhibition 2018, Royal Hibernian Academy Gallery, Dublin, Ireland.
  • 2017, Lass Struggle, FiLiA 2017 Feminist Conference, the Institute of Education, London, UK. 
  • 2017, Hotron ART WORKS’17, Visual Centre for Contemporary Art, Carlow, Ireland. 
  • 2017, The 187th Annual Exhibition 2017, Royal Hibernian Academy Gallery, Dublin, Ireland.
  • 2016, Hennessy Portrait Prize 2016 Exhibition, National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin, Ireland. 
  • 2016, 135th Royal Ulster Academy of Arts Annual Exhibition, Ulster Museum, Belfast, NI. 
  • 2016, Hotron ART WORKS’16, Visual Centre for Contemporary Art, Carlow, Ireland. 
  • 2016, The 186th Annual Exhibition 2016, Royal Hibernian Academy Gallery, Dublin, Ireland. 
  • 2015, Emergence, Steambox Galleries, Dublin, Ireland. 
  • 2015, Open Submission Exhibition, Arts Festival, The Maltings, Birr, Ireland.
  • 2014, Residency, The Library Project, Dublin, Ireland. 


  • the only real thing to do (2021 – ongoing work-in-progress) 

Is an intended series of recorded performances. This project questions the role of faith and means to represent the human struggle to achieve a state where need and desire are united. I plan to produce gradually seven video (self-)portraits on this theme with the number seven referring to the Book of Genesis and the theory of human-life patterns.

My approach to the subject of faith treats two different outlooks. One is concerned with religion and its practice – the faith is God. The other with psychology of human development – the faith is a process of one’s way of learning into and making sense of life, finding its purpose. 

  • Child [working title] (2017 – work-in-progress) 

Is a project that explores a sense of motherhood, which I pursue in collaboration with another women and their own children. The work is executed at my subjects’ home while they are creatively engaged in the process. The intention is that I, through this kind of experimentation, expose myself to a superficial experience of mothering. 

The project is a long-term commitment as prior to such collaboration a relationship with the subjects has to be established. 

  • Optimal Distance (2016 – ongoing) 

Is a project that explores a sense of displacement, that leaves one with a grief-like emotion. It is a body of series of photographic self-portraits that look at the idea of a sense of belonging and how identity can be transformed through one’s cultural perception.

The key attitude to this work is that I gain an access to inhabited places where I perform to the lens while letting myself be inspired by as well as using their original interior/exterior designs to claim each place to be my home. This facilitates an illusion that comforts the grieving mind.

  • Aesthetic Distance (2015)

Is a photographic exploration of desire and the sense of self. Here the desire is understood as a medium of psychological expression through which I observed social and cultural meanings as much as criticised ideas endorsed by the stereotypical representation of them. 

I used performance as a strategy to reflect on my childhood-to-adulthood experiences while I was confronting my emotional response to a state of longing and alienation. 

The work shifts between assertiveness and vulnerability and tends to disturb gender based social positions. The various connotations I created within each image may leave a sense of confusion, intentionally, as this series challenges culturally assigned conceptions.