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The Mattress Factory is an artist-centered museum, international residency program and renowned producer and presenter of installation art. We say “yes” to artists, offering time and space to dream and realize projects in our hometown, Pittsburgh, PA. We invite audiences from around the world and around the corner to step inside, immerse and connect with the artistic process.

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L'ubo Stacho

Message from Saint Veronica


This play is a reflection on the (im)possibility of accepting diversity and the other. The fragmented body of the neoplasm—the fruit of unstable conditions—overcomes barriers, loves and denies itself and others, wanders around, forgetting its profession. It frequently and with pleasure divides, goes through dangerous palpation, questions the possibility of contact with the experience of the other. Poorly brought up but very successful, it invites us to a trans-species transition.

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Stacho was inspired by the legend of Veronica's Veil, on which the face of Jesus is believed to be imprinted. He wanted to achieve the same kind of energy transmission, from face to fabric, to make energy visible in his installation. He photographed a cross-section of about 200 people he met in downtown Pittsburgh, requesting each person who agreed to pose for two photos, one with eyes open and a second with eyes closed. He then photocopied each of the portraits and photocopied each photocopy, and so on, until he had a 4th- or 5th-generation print. Each print, faint and indistinct enough to have a mystical quality, was transferred to fabric with a solvent of lacquer thinner. Dressed in white, Stacho dipped each fabric image into the water in the Mattress Factory garden -- a process that could be seen as a uniting of all humanity but which unmistakably also suggests baptism. The faint portraits queue up on laundry lines in the fourth-floor gallery.

Artist Statement

Spirit, Secret, Mystery, Religion. These are things in which I am interested; what is inside. I like to balance on the edge. Where is irony, where is truth? I baptized 200 Americans in my mind. The shroud of Turin is a print from Christ’s face, a photograph is a print from the light. In both cases, it is energy transmission. I am interested in this transmission.


Artists of Central & Eastern Europe: October 29, 1995 – April 28, 1996
About The Artist

Ľubo Stacho was born in 1953 in Handlová, Czechoslovakia. He graduated from the Faculty of Civil Engineering at the Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava (1976) and the Department of Photography at FAMU in Prague. In 1990 he introduced the photography study program into the Bratislava Academy of Fine Arts and Design curriculum and currently holds the position of the Head of the Studio Laboratory of Photography Department. In 1995, he was qualified as an associate professor at FAMU, and appointed as a full professor in 2010. He is the winner of several awards, including the Tokyo International Photobiennale, Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Tokyo (1995), 1st Prize at the UNESCO World Heritage Fund Contest (1993). He has had solo exhibitions in Pittsburgh, Vienna, Tel Aviv, Tokyo, Berlin and other cities. His photographs are in collections around the world.

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