The artist has made for you a web of his amassed photographic comments on Czech, Slovak and Hungarian identity. He will tell you about the cultural, political, along with the personal and emotional, layers of his important exhibition.
Viktor Kopasz is connected by fate to three national cultures. He grew up as part of the Hungarian minority in Slovakia. Since studying the photography school, FAMU, he has been living in the Czech Republic. Use of an accompanying text, textual notes and plays on words (often in many languages that he knows, including English) is characteristic of his photo collections and books. His experience with languages offers itself as a hypothesis for understanding Kopasz’s approach to images; the same as how he’s constantly forced to “self-translate“ from one language to another.
Family, at least in the several dominant forms that we encounter in our time-space coordinates, is more or less a hermetic social organism. It creates its own rituals, habits and communication; behind the closed doors of home a lot of things, invisible to the outside, occur. Johana Pošová’s (*1985) exhibition is an allegoric family landscape wherein the artist, without emphasis on personal narrative or exact sociological method, examines the broader horizon of inter-personal constellations and relationships. She approaches family and home without idealization; but also without targeting specific problems. So she keeps the situation on the level of a symbolic outline that needs our imaginative engagement to be filled in.
We cordially invite you to visit a guided tour of the exhibitions by Tomáš Svoboda, Giotto, and by Tereza Velíková, Interplay. You will learn what Halley’s Comet speaks about to Venus in Svoboda’s videos, what are the pitfalls of human knowledge and why the emotions of the women in Velíková’s videos change so quickly.
The works of Italian painter, Giotto di Bondone, were considered key to historic changes in the definition and construction of space in a (painted) image or picture. If the visual artist, Tomáš Svoboda, has a relationship to the latter through his new videos seven centuries on, he hasn’t done so only because of three fleeting, if in no case accidental, references to the artist’s name. Mainly, it is so, due to the idea of a change in approach defining a radically different “perspective.” Through his skeptical stance on overcoming deeply engrained thought patterns and limits in the defining language, this change cannot of course play itself out thanks to us humans; no, it has to come from somewhere else. Giotto’s exhibition therefore takes shape in conceptual, low-tech sci-fi that relates not only to the boundaries of human knowledge, but also to the role of art in the eventual surpassing of said boundaries.
In Tereza Velíková’s videos, speech is not a simple means for understanding. It has parts that include various halts and pauses. Here, we have also intentionally left in errors and slips of the tongue. Dialogue subtly fills in (enhances) quotes from the artist’s older works; there are ample elements of irony and hints of situation comedy. An interlude attempts to grasp what else can be done with theatrical texts: what can be inside or outside the theater. It provokes contemplation on the universality and theatricality of tense emotions. Removing scenarios from theatrical reality inspires us to think about the roles one gets and is forced to play in various situations; about the desire and possibilities to step out of those roles; to avoid learning communication formulas and using words differently.
Would you like to be a member or patron of Fotograf? You can now join the new Fotograf Club. We must admit that culture cannot function without a long-term focus on deepening relationships between artists, institutions and the visitors. By creating this club, we hope to develop a new qualitative foundation. By joining it, you will get better acquainted with how contemporary photography and the visual arts are evolving. You will get to know the artists better, as well as producers of cultural events. The Fotograf Club is a way to support the activities of the Fotograf 07 association and also a platform for improving communications for those who wish to view art and know more about it.
The gallery, magazine and festival have new facilities as of September 2017. We have expanded our exhibition area and have guaranteed respectable space for our art; space we feel corresponds to the demands of presenting a 21st century exhibit. With new administrative and exhibition space we look to confirm and strengthen the reputation of all activities of the Fotograf 07 z.s. association that have taken place so far. We wish to make the Fotograf work and presentation space into a venue in Prague 1 that people will seek out as a natural cultural center; be it for exhibitions, studies or purchase of photographic publications.
A media literacy seminar for the elderly. The aim of the course is to cultivate a critical attitude towards today’s media. Not only to understand the structure and functioning of the media itself, but also to realise the inevitable distortion of all mediated information. Course objectives will be specific, and feature practical examples and subjective experiences of the participants.
In 2017, the ubiquity of the media comes as apparent, and we filter out the fact that it often manipulates public opinion. We persistently demand the media be objective, but full objectivity is an unachievable ideal – it is always a combination of different perspectives. This also applies to journalistic photography, which we tend to trust and accept uncritically as a true representation of reality. The lecture will focus on several aspects that may be confusing to the consumer of news, and will outline the difference between so-called kaleidoscopic and mosaic-like perceptions of the world through photographs.
Show named after a popular song of Irving Berlin from 1932, year so many times compared to 2016, is piercing through Trevor Paglen’s practices as photographer, writer and activist in a never-ending quest to uncover hidden structure of political climate of mass surveillance society. His work leads us by means of almost romantic, impressionistic imagery to places seemingly lacking any significance, in reality sheltering secret radar sites, data storages, underwater transcontinental internet connections etc.
New space of the Fotograf Gallery will serve as a scene for the opening of the Fotograf Festival and the launch of a new Fotograf Magazine linked by an umbilical cord to the previously named. It also thematically wraps the cocoon of networks and associations linked to Eye in the Sky as a metaphor for the big data phenomenon, monitoring and surveillance. Lavra will play at the launches and the opening of the festival.
The Cup with a Lid exhibition was launched during the week before Christmas in 2009. Pavel Vančát was its curator and it was the first activity of the newly-opened Fotograf Studio. After more than seven years of gallery operations, the later-renamed Fotograf Gallery has returned with the Cup with a Lid exhibition as part of a one-day déjà vu event. Michal Kalhous agreed to a repeat showing of this work during the culmination of one chapter in the institution’s life.
Each year, the UNIGEO Festival serves as an accompaniment to the educational program run by the Institute for Creative Photography (ICP) at Silesian University in Opava. As a purely student-led initiative, it is meant to foster creative dialogue among university students who not only exhibit there, but also evaluate the collections presented. The recently-published UNIZIN magazine from this year’s festival was first presented at the June meeting of professors and students in Horní Bečva. Fotograf Gallery agreed to support festival organizers and present the UNIGEO Festival to the culture-loving public in Prague.
The Uncertain Unfolding exhibition has ended, but Mr. Hrůza‘s guest, performer and sculptor Martin Zet, is opening it again for one night only. In his performance, water does not seem to be the element that evokes strong emotional reactions in people. It is “bound“ to the service function of a “cleaning material“. However, just as a lighter flame is a relative of the forest fire, water in a tub is a sister to the ocean.
On a technical level, Mikuláštík always sorts out his collages in the same way: the face in the image is covered by the face from the rock and the new image is published online. More varied is the “rediscovery“ of meanings achieved by this ritual act. On a general level, his Makapansgat Project oscillates between commentaries on current events and observing the role of images in creating our vision of the world. On the billboards in the hallways at Fotograf Gallery he, of course, narrowed the themes in his selection of photos so that they relate to the history of photography.
Tomáš Hrůza (*1979) ranks among so-called “photographer-collectors“; they’re a sort of counterpart to the mythical “photographer-hunters“. He collects the material for his exhibitions at leisure; from the “discoveries“ that he happens upon during his travels undertaken as a minority-oriented tourist, an aimless pilgrim, a voluntary nomad or a professional driver. His romanticism has always included a fondness for all things magical and out-of-the-senses.
In Central and Eastern Europe, the tradition of contemplative photography is particularly strong. There are conceptual and performance artists – those who seek a distinctive form of harmony between themselves and their chosen space through meditative activities connected with natural rhythms, using nature as a studio for their actions. In all of these approaches, time plays a central role. Quite often it is in the form of the ritual repetition of similar approaches, when time and never-ending shifts in the protagonist’s life rhythm constantly change the default situation, while, at the same time, there remains a noticeable common order, which dominates the resulting feeling one has from individual photos and entire series.
Vladimír Havlík (1959) added the characteristic “old performer“ under his name on his Facebook profile. What does it mean to be an “old performer“? The exhibition at Fotograf Gallery follows Havlík’s contemporary work on a background of his events from the end of the 1970s and the following decade. Through a practice where he looks at his own past, he reassesses it and lets it be reassessed; meanwhile, he draws possibilities for the present from it. Havlík’s activity in the field of action art had negligible institutional support in the past. His current “post-performance“ work was meant in a way to build on the lack of conditionality and spontaneity that accompanied his events. At the same time, they are self-ironic commentaries on his own artistic identity. Probably like the moniker “old performer“.
Rudolf Skopec (1989) had already begun to establish himself as an author of robust puzzles from wavy scrolls of black-and-white photo paper during his studies at the Photography Atelier at Prague’s VŠUP. The impact of his works was based on the interaction between material qualities and the dimensions of compositions, “corporal“ themes and clumsy technical implementation. The initial image in his exhibition at Fotograf Gallery is a shot of an interior of an unspecified piece of architecture. Rudolf Skopec develops the relationships between its constructional composition and tectonic defects extracted by the configuration of the photo paper; and also between the original and the newly-created space of architecture and photography. He pushes architecture away from its time-space coordinates and physical conditionality – and last but not least he places emphasis on relations between the third dimension in photography and its 3D object paraphrasing. Thus, the installation at Fotograf Gallery is an internally closed, unique network of these and other relations.
Valentýna Janů launches her series of presentations in the hallway at Fotograf Gallery in Školská St. 28 with a large-format poster. Artists are called upon, in these spaces opposite the gallery’s entryway, to create their personalized photographic project, wherein they come to terms with the atypical placement outside of the institution; on the border between outdoor and indoor space. The “Paralepse“ billboard by this student at Prague’s FAMU, Valentýna Janů (1994), draws on the roles of disseminator and receiver of news; roles we find ourselves in publicly everyday – either intentionally or subconsciously. The artist stages photographs of carriers of such news; however, she processes the messages in a way that details the paradoxes of communications in an environment full of information overload.
Edgar Schwarz (1989) is currently known mainly as a member of the music groups, Schwarzprior and Wolf Trap. Many have long forgotten that he was also a photographer. He himself forgot this as well. At Fotograf Gallery, we are showing a selection of Schwarz’s work from various time periods. Their diary-like character, often supported by frequent use of Polaroid shots, should not confuse us though. These technically low-quality and sexually explicit snapshots are not some sort of home-made porn, but primarily a manifestation of a libertine life-style, in which parties and relationships are wilder, but because of this intense. As part of this life-style, love and intimacy (Schwarz’s main themes) are taken very seriously, as non-negotiable, and the threat of their destruction is always born in mind.
A few years back, Zuzana Šrámková (1988) moved to one of the so-called excluded areas in the center of Ostrava; the street bore, in fact, the foreboding name Spodní (this word means “at the bottom” in Czech). She was drawn here not so much by a desire for adventure or her social empathy, but rather in an attempt to “save money on wine”, as she herself likes to say. Over time though, a group of artists, musicians and “random passers-by” started to form there. So, it’s the life of this colorful society: full of parties, concerts, alcohol and also kindness, openness and human relationships that Zuzana records in her photographs.
A guided tour of the exhibitions of works by Edgar Schwarz and Zuzana Šrámková, two photographers who have differing views of life in a punk community in Ostrava. While Šrámková discovers images inside a community residing in one of the buildings in Spodní Street in a socially-excluded part of town, Edgar Schwarz sees a community of people as those who surround him; a place where he is always the center of the group, along with a woman he had a fling with and mainly his own Eros, or his cunning and malicious sense of humor and his flaunted disdain for convention.
We invite you to a creative workshop led by Barbora Smetanová. It focuses on the currently running exhibition of Jiří Poláček’s works, “Not just Smíchov”. Join us with your kids and together we will look at Jiří Poláček’s photographs. We will talk about of what, how and why he made his earlier works, and at the end we will go outside to take pictures of the “horrors” of the streets.
Duration: 120 minutes. Recommended Age: 8-11
A guided tour of exhibition by Jiří Poláček, Not Just Smíchov, along with his artist-colleagues and friends Iren Stehli, Jan Malý and Dušan Šimánek. Pavel Vančát, the exhibit’s curator as well as a theoretician and historian, will give open remarks at the event. The exhibition will close with a commented projection of photo documentation from the legendary exhibit, 9 x 9, which took place at the Cistercian monastery in Plasy. The latter, held in 1981, became the culmination of work by a generation of photographers associated with theoretician, Anna Fárová.
Jiří Poláček (1946 – 2016) belongs to a generation of photographers who have, since the 1970s, set a new standard for professionalism. His beatnik beginnings, after having emigrated to the USA and his having been influenced by Anna Fárová while studying at FAMU, contributed to this. It all culminated in his legendary exhibition at the monastery in Plasy in 1981. The central topic of Poláček’s work was his native Smíchov, whose atmosphere he has captured in diverse forms since the 1970s and 1980s. Starting in the mid-1970s, he served as assistant to Jan Svoboda. In 1982, together with Ivan Lutterer and Jan Malý, he became co-author of the extensive portrait series, Český člověk (Czech People).
A creative workshop to accompany the current exhibition by Václav Stratil, “I´m Sitting”. We will talk with children about the artist at the Fotograf Gallery space. We will figure out where he’s hiding and then, using a camera, we will make ourselves disappear.
Duration: 90 minutes. Recommended Age: 8-10 years. Max. Capacity: 10-12 children. Free entry. The workshop is run in the Czech language.
For Václav Stratil, photography studios are not just places where he has been able to create his effigies for more than a quarter century. These are likenesses in which he uses his face as raw material for his work with expression and meaning. He also draws from given parameters and tested conventions in the types of photographic images created here and makes them into one layer of his preliminary research. At the exhibition, I´m sitting, he presents several series of new passport photographs: “self-portraits” created during the past two years. In these images, he indeed reaches one of the limits of photographic imaging, in the sense described above, so that he can once again discover the autonomous image after exceeding said limit. He also presents his series, Couples, which he decided to build upon after a more than ten-year hiatus.
“Permanent transformation” or “transformative permanence”? It’s all the same, because the second word refutes the first. The Rafani group took a chance on some school kids and they, in a split second, turned a gallery space into the monstrous St. Euphoria Chapel. It represents the vital force of man as a blinding, burning light, but also is metaphor for the raging vortex of the collective psyche, overstimulated emotions and torn up folders of the social compact. The Rafani group enters this space with images that touch the nervous system of society and of our age. We would gladly say that they are out of joint, had they any joints to begin with.
The stage once again appears to fulfil the original promise. That which indicated a difficult-to-express amount of information in the Plain Text exhibition now gets a makeover in a performance by Julie Béna. The performance is the culmination of the Plain Text exhibition curated by Jen Kratochvil, which took place this September at Fotograf Gallery.
Daniel Steegmann Mangrané lives in Brazil. He is interested in the contrasts between nature and civilisation, between European traditions and the culture of tropical rainforest peoples. He explores the ways in which technology affects our perception of the world. His exhibition is a combination of photos, a collage, a film loop, and the poetry of Stela do Patrocínio. We could separate his works according to the classifications of post-colonialism, neoconcretism, structuralism, anthropology, psychedelia, and post-internet art – but let us accept them as one integral whole.
A presentation of select texts from groups of artists, generally their material creations related to the phenomenon summarized in generalized and banal “post-internet“ formulae. The exhibition accentuates elements from the broader creative spectrum of the content in such work, shortened attention spans during internet browsing and general ability to perceive text in digital form. The selection of texts is interpreted through a performance by French artist, Julie Béna.
Since approximately the turn of the millennium, we can see fundamental changes in photography: with the arrival of digital technology as well as the continuous expansion of its artistic scope and its dissolution into and interconnection with many other art forms. How can a university educational program, often based on the modernist premise of media autonomy and its own reflection, react to such a situation? How do you connect professional technical skills with orientation in a broader artistic operation?
The exhibition follows on last year’s FAMUgraphy show at the NTK Gallery. This year it will show works from the last two semesters at the gallery space in Školská Street. The looser definition of the photographic medium (structured more based on strategy than pure genre, from paranoid documentary to pseudo-science fiction) still applies. FAMU as a medium per se.
The She Camera walked into the apartment, took off her carrying case and turned on the radio out of habit. She doesn’t care what’s on. She has a quarter-hour to get showered and then go get her daughter. While standing under the stream of hot water, it occurred to her that she hadn’t bought groceries. She thought to herself about when she would actually get to her computer. She still needed to spend five hours scanning. She pulled on her jeans, although still slightly wet, and pulled her t-shirt over her head. She quickly watered her wilted flowers. On her way out of her apartment, she noticed the dirty dishes on the kitchen counter.
Photographer, Tereza Kabůrková (1980), has invited painter, Ondřej Maleček (1977), to join her at her exhibition. She told him he was her guest. So she immediately had to start acting like a hostess. It’s customary for a hostess to make her guests feel at home. So in a situation where the guest-painter brought the hostess a painting instead of flowers, it’s up to the photographer-hostess to find a suitably complementary gift. A photograph is the obvious response. So she began to surround the guest with things that make him happy. However, for Tereza Kabůrková, Ondřej Maleček’s visit means something different: a shift in the central focus of perception of her work more to principles of painting, which always played a greater role than we would normally imagine for a photographer of images of forest vegetation, gray skies or wallpaper.
Roughly three years ago Jan Nálevka (*1976) began researching the ideological proposals of the artistic avant-garde from the 20th century. In their offer for a new artistic language, meant to promote and realize radical social change, he found another possibility for his conceptual paraphrase “office work”. In three artistic pieces he put together for an exhibition at Fotograf Gallery, he touches upon phenomena such as voluntary suppression of individuality to the benefit of the whole, adherence to and meeting standards and norms, or exhaustingly hard labor in contrast with the promise of liberation.
The exhibition at Školská 28 Gallery and Fotograf Gallery will present the results of artistic research by project participants from Iceland, Norway and Czech Republic. The project focuses on current transformations of the landscape and the close connections between our post-industrial civilization and nature.
The aim of the Four Dimensions exhibit is the reconstruction of the legacy of young, talented photographer, Šimon Štrba (1991-2014). By presenting his collections and other solitary photographs, we attempt to outline both the artist’s sensitivity to the photographic image as well as his approach to photography as a tool for investigating his own living space. For example, Mr. Štrba moved freely between taking spontaneous photographic records, later often used in his artistic publications, and conceptually-arranged collections. He always tried to underscore the relationship and emotional aspects of his work.
As part of our interest in supporting the youth arts association, Skutek, Fotograf and the ArtMap bookstore have set up permanent discounts for its members for an amount of 10% off retail sales prices. In the case of Fotograf, the discounts will apply to all publications they have published, and it can be used on purchases made at Fotograf Gallery. You can ask for discounts from ArtMap at its bookstores in Prague and Brno.
The Photography Studio at UJEP in Ústí nad Labem and Fotograf Gallery invite you to join a day-trip to České Budějovice to visit the following exhibitions:
Wolfgang Tillmans (Gallery of Contemporary Art and Architecture – House of Arts)
Jan Mahr (D9 Gallery)
Václav Magid (Měsíc ve dne Gallery)
Departure from Prague – 10am (I.P.Pavlova – Lékářský dům). Return to Prague – 9pm. Price – 300 CZK
The fourth collective Christmas bazaar will take place in our courtyard, this time together with the unique Wakushoppu exchange of DIY title, where you will have the opportunity to trade, buy or sell your own CDs and cassttes of DIY titles. In keeping with the principles of Wakushoppu, all proceeds from the sale exclusively go to the seller. With performances by Wim Dahean and Yiorgis Sakellariou.
The shaky, and in spots in the out-of-focus, video at the beginning of the Agent exhibition can give the impression of a series of unsuccessful attempts at film-making. As one image replaces the other, certain rules become clear concerning how the camera shot a number of scenes (cuts) in some hallway – it changed the initial station, “walked” among the figures, pressed itself against a pillar, sometimes looked inside through plate-glass windows, etc. If we take as our starting point the fact that these sequences are not mere poorly-executed shots, then we have to reflect upon what they actually are. Interventions in two other gallery spaces might provide some clues.
The exhibition, Tomorrow will be different, is based on the confrontation of works by Josef Rabara (Zítra bude jinak / Tomorrow will be different, 2015) and Karol Radziszewski (Kisieland, 2012). Both artists work with the topic of local queer history based on the personal stories of Stanislav Z. and Ryszard Kisiel. They indirectly show the role that photography played for both protagonists in the discovery of their sexual identity.
The crisis of the documentary, expressed during an age in which more images are being produced and circulated than ever before, possibly relates to the equally enduring crisis of valid political, social and economic agreements. This in turn causes the agreements about various forms of knowledge production to automatically begin to falter. When the nurturing of a binding character in relation to present-day events seems difficult in the best-case scenario, then perhaps a kind of “archaeology” of the present is more strongly assigned meaning. Documentary photographic practices can then no longer be considered to be—more or less reflexive—representational practices. Other questions related to their changing conditions of appearance and their affiliations with history, knowledge, memory, identities, places, and violence are becoming evident. Conceivably, something in the images must then rise to the fore, something that cannot quite yet be named today, something else…
Fantastical tales on what is possible in this or that country are an inspiration for the artist in her visual paraphrasing in video and animated media. The geopolitical reality of today’s world is just as incredible in them as it is in the lively fabrications of (her) collected incredible stories. Barbora Fastrová’s (*1988) exhibition, In My Country…, is a public presentation of her thesis work at the Studio of Photography at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague.
Ladislav Vondrák’s (*1975) videos and performances are defined by uncommon vigor and physicality. Themes such as empowerment, power, control and submission are communicated in them as allegories for being full of testosterone, pressure, sadism and masochism. This exhibition of Vondrák’s new videos, Backstroke, came about in collaboration with the Studio of Photography at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague.
Bearing in mind the gallery space’s concept and the program structure of the exhibitions submitted, we chose the following project for an exhibition during August and September 2015:
Josef Rabara, Karol Radziszewksi: Zítra bude jinak (curator: Zuzana Štefková)
We also recommended two projects submitted for eventual realization during 2016.
Adam Havelka, Matěj Pavlík, Eva Rybářová: Schindler a Lucy
Hybridize or Disappear (curators: Christina Gigliotti & Jen Kratochvil)
At the end of the 19th Century, the emergence of sound recording liberated music from the context of a unique concert performance, and together with the advent of photography, radio and television, this new technology helped to give rise to modern popular music. The recipients of its message were never strictly only listeners, as it was always an audiovisual project, one in which – apart from the relatively short period of the predominance of radio as a “blind medium“ – no single component ever dramatically overshadowed the others (think of the meanings of the word image).
Martin Horák recalls that he ripped down the posters of Marilyn Monroe from Jiří David’s Hidden Image series off poster boards in 1995. He had them folded up under his bed for almost twenty years. After that he took them out and had them framed.
A simple act can, at certain times, take on huge metaphorical meaning. To look at the stripped down reproductions in Hidden Image is like looking twenty years of Czech visual art straight in the eyes. These two decades, about which we now feel it necessary to speak, we re-evaluate them, we edit their image.
At Fotograf Gallery Competence has returned to the broader summary of artists’ abilities and those of art recipients; instead of the institutional context. This allows us to consider both ourselves and others as competent. The inspiration for the work was two series of interviews that they did, on one hand, with artists, who did not – despite acquiring skills – succeed in the artistic world. On the other hand, they did interviews with emigrants, who after arriving in a new country had to renounce their way of thinking, their approaches and skills they had acquired in their original environment and begin again.
The name of the exhibition “Lying and Lies” has a psychologising meaning that observes male and female characteristics, dominance and authority and socio-political issues. The exhibition looks to point out the dozens of books by Vladimír Skrepl that were compiled from 2011-2013 based on catalogues, magazines, picture books and atlases. In these, the author’s interventions are expressed through techniques such as sketching, writing, collage, ripping, painting and assemblage. The interventions occur both instantaneously and semi-automatically. They relate to what’s happening now, no matter how fast it succumbs to entropy. Skrepl uses books to project his ideas and recycles in them a wide class of printed productions; the greater part of which consist of pop culture and tabloid fare. As an ethnographer he combines objects from various areas and uses these collected “things” to show society what he has gone through. An exhibition of the same name in Cheb’s Gallery of Fine Arts captured another form of this evolution, where, as if from organic growth, collage images and sculptures arose from a mass of materials in Skrepl’s studio. They form “one body” with the exhibited books at Fotograf Gallery. A monograph of Skrepl’s books will be launched during the official opening.
All power to the Imagination!” proclaims Julius Reichel as he squats so that he can lower his body’s gravitational centre. He was born sometime between 1978 and 1984. David Krňanský repeats after him: “All pw’r to Im’in’tion”. This artistic duo both worked together creatively at Prague’s Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design and held a small number of joint exhibitions. They are preparing a dense spatial installation for Fotograf Gallery, whose structure is defined by horizontal planes from the ceiling to the floor – an open associative space allowing for reversible interpretation of meaning. “The name of the exhibition has a psychologising meaning that observes male and female characteristics, dominance and authority, and socio-political issues,” writes Edith Jeřábková about another exhibition, but we know that when we flip this sentence 360°, it will no longer be the same sentence.
John E. Earhart’s book, The Color Printer – a Treatise on the Use of Colors in Typographic Printing, served as the template for the photographic collection, Invariant Plates. This explanatory guide for polygraphists dating from 1892 offers, in addition to descriptions of printing processes, a large number of sample images that illustrate work with colours and raised print production. Marianne Vierø broke down several of these pictures into individual colour layers, and in a darkroom she reconstructed them in the medium of colour photography.
Together with Prague’s ArtMap, Fotograf Gallery will christen, on the occasion of opening of a new exhibit, a collection of silkscreen prints from the independent Brno publishing house, G53. The collection includes works by Alice Nikitinová, Marek Meduna, Petr Cabalka, Kamila Zemková, Alexey Klyuykov, Václav Stratil, Lukáš Karbus, Matěj Smetana, Jan Šrámek and Veronika Vlková, Lenka Vítková, Petr Strouhal and Nikola Čulík.
Frazier King, whose collection in Houston (Texas) has been exhibited publically and in private showings, will share the experience of making his own photography collection. The talk will give a brief history of collecting and will describe sources available today. Different categories of photography and major themes will be described. There will be a discussion of how you can select from these themes and become your own curator of a collection that reflects your life and states your philosophical values.
The works of Slovak artist Martin Vongrej (1986) are sketches and three-dimensional visualizations of organic relationships between reality, perception, human consciousness, internal and external reality, the visible and the hidden. Last year Vongrej was shortlisted for the Oskár Čepan Award; in 2010 he participated in Manifesta 8, the European biennial of contemporary art. His first solo exhibition in the Czech Republic took place several months ago at the Moravian Gallery in Brno.
Phototechtonics is a spatial intervention in the gallery’s interior, wherein photographs play the role of building blocks for three large-format collages on the walls. Each of them observes a slightly different aspect of looking for the border zone between photographs, painting, architecture, graphic design of computer games, surface and space, abstraction and portrayal; the two-dimensional image and its illusive plasticity. The latter mentioned then engages in a dialogue with other, as yet unmentioned, adjustments to the space; such as covering the floor with strips of asphalt and construction of pillars from the same material.
To begin, let’s clarify a couple of definitions: a work of art is raw material for documentation. The gallery is the setting wherein the work is photographed. An exhibition is an excuse to publish a catalogue. A theoretical introduction is the template for its English translation. Text and illustrations are material for graphic layouts. The cover of the printed catalogue is the basis for photographs published online. The artist’s name is a tool for internet searches. The internet is the dominant means of production for neoliberal capitalism. Battles in the field of art run parallel, in capitalism, to political and social battles; as a show that distracts from the process where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. The production of culture only legitimizes growth in barbarianism and I can’t do anything about it.
Photograph, collage, fragment, layers, spaces, cut, animation, arm, gesture, movement, plot… The words mentioned are critical for Kateřina Zochová, because they embrace both her approach to several creative media as well as the poetic horizon of her handling of images. The composition of her photographs forms on the glass of a scanner. She regroups minor elements and layers them over one another. Bits of cut up photographs and abstract elements. After repeat scanning there are more and more of them, but the image information gradually dissipates. The more we wish to speak, the less we say.
Discussion on the work of Pavel Hečko and early examples of events for the camera in the Czech environment. Tomáš Pospěch, art historian and curator for Pavel Hečko’s exhibition, NEVERODDOREVEN, will acquaint the public with Hečko’s further works and his approaches that he brought to Czech photography in the 1970s and 1980s: conceptual principles, work with photographic archives and elements of crafty questioning and irony.
During his studies at FAMU in the late 1970s/early 1980s, Pavel Hečko broke with the more common approaches of the period. He introduced the conceptual principles, work with photographic archives and elements of crafty questioning and irony into Czech photography. Along the fundamental line of his works, dual portraits and still-lifes, something isn’t quite right, or perhaps a refrain repeats. The second image accentuates the first, which is flipped on its side, albeit not reversibly or reflexively vis-à-vis its counterpart. It’s a double flip. One occurs in real time before a camera, where the subject of the portrait mirrors and repeats its prior stance, and a second mechanically when the image is developed or printed, when it is flipped back. If we turn an object twice by 180°, we get back to its starting point. With Hečko’s image this never happens. It’s as if something in them ran away, as if a system error occurred and they stopped half-way. They cause the unnerving feeling that finding a perfect solution is always an attempt at the impossible. Despite this, the perhaps obsessive desire for absolute formulation and absolute understanding of the state of affairs and occurrences is their deciphering. Protection against the absence of order.
Radek Brousil (*1980) photographed the equipment in his own studio and in this manner drew attention to the objects that shaped his work, but which had not yet been visible. This is his internal conversation with things; taking place in the solace of his own workshop. It is an interview similar to a game of chess that he plays against himself. Through photos of his own work utensils, he created a portrait of a second player, but at the same time also his self-portrait. In this way, it makes sense that he did not photograph his own person or his closest ally – the camera. He created his self/portrait of the „photographer at work“ by showing his surroundings and leaving the core empty.
The idea for a listening evening at Fotograf Gallery came about during the August preparations of Vít Soukup’s exhibition (1971-2007). Ivan Mečl, publisher and administrator of Soukup’s archive, accidentally found at that time a recording of the play, Enemies of Man (Nepřátelé člověka), dating from 1993. It was lying in a suitcase among Soukup’s audio-cassettes and had been thought to be lost.
At first sight a landscape. An aesthetic rendition, a depiction of the wonders of nature and the impact of man, the commingling of the natural and the cultural landscape, but also a series of shifts, dialogues and subtle interventions. On the other hand, a personal attestation on the part of the artist and above all an attempt to get closer to himself through the lens. This too could serve as a brief description of the series entitled Asides which became the starting point for this publication as well as being an important milestone in the work of Radek Brousil.
We still believe that the mobile image is a certain form of visual thought; it renders thoughts more exact and discovers the unthinkable. This also held true at the time of its discovery more than one hundred years ago; the same as it does today, when each corner of a shared (communal) space has a camera in it. The mobile image frees the eye, it is the negative of time, it shows what the eye can never see: signs of decoded reality, spontaneity and external movement. It hides in itself a dialectic potential – it is an emancipatory tool and a control tool all at the same time. As Dziga Vertov wrote: Our eyes, rotating like propellers, move off into the future on the wings of hypotheses.
“The language we speak, our opinions, our ability to turn on the lights and flush the toilet, even the way we express opposition and rise up against social conventions: we all learned this from others.” So do we owe them? And do others owe us? Barbora Kleinhamplová focuses on “debt” as a feeling constituted of the relationship between society and the individual. She traces the irrational background into an exemplary study of aggressive debt collection, where instead of payment instalments she finds unscrupulous revenge.
Contemplative games with the photographic image are Petr Strouhal’s starting point for the anatomic study of obscurity. In his photos formal refinement is gnawed at by a besmirched do-it-yourself approach. Not only is humour speechless, but also for the most part with no point or message that would allow the public to laugh in relief. The photographer’s studio is a place where one can conduct experiments with hairy abstractions and the gestures of a dead hand. Afterwards in the gallery a collection of images and objects forms, from which the language of art gets tangled up in a new form that we cannot satisfactorily identify with a specific emotion.
Ivan Mečl came across the extensive archive of works by painter and film-maker, Vít Soukup (1971-2007), during a visit to the artist’s cottage in the South Bohemian village of Dolní Pláně. It was there that Soukup created part of his paintings. He also transported there, at an undisclosed time, dossiers of written works and image documents. The current installation at the Fotograf Gallery is the first attempt to present a specific portion of the materials. In accordance with the gallery’s mission the installation presents the surviving photographic masters of Soukup’s photo images from the first half of the 1990s. It was then that Soukup began in his paintings to draw from newspaper and magazine reproductions. He remained faithful to these sources until his untimely death in 2007.
“Whoever clings to unwavering reality is foolish. The nature of everything is fluctuating and deceptive. Our habits, certainties and long-held beliefs are barriers. A sudden huge turn of events can cause a shock. But a long-lasting state of uncertainty, no matter how nerve-wracking or hopeless it might be, hides in itself the possibility to see and comprehend things differently. Photography serves to patch together the cracks in chaos and clarity, just as words give names and lies expose the truth.”
The issue “On Photography” quotes Susan Sontag in its title, but it is not meant to be an accompaniment to her theoretical essays. In the meanwhile, photography has become a social, already a different type, of medium than it was in the 1970s, when Sontag wrote her essays on photography. Since that time, photography has become a new establishment among the creative media; after its fast infiltration into the upper echelons of artistic disciplines in the 1990s and the first decade of this century. The history and the medium’s essence itself were once again exposed to new questions in correlation with the evolution of digital photography, along with the related gradual disappearance of certain original photographic principles such as the negative-positive process, etc.
The strength of Slovak artist, Lucie Sceranková’s (she graduated from AVU two years ago), photographs stems from the combination of imaginative imagery and games played with image representation. Domestic staging and her self-help approach to creating models are characteristic of her works’ poetry. Her endeavours bring to mind attempts by a chef to create the universe from a bowl of phyllo dough. The guest exhibitor is her older sister, sculptor Pavla Sceranková. Sun in the Showcase will be their first joint exhibition.
In recent years photographer, Kateřina Držková (1978), has devoted her time to interpretation of found photographs and analyses of mass-printed postcards from tourist destinations. In her new collection for Fotograf Gallery she takes on a field not secured by a conceptual framework, “work with archives”, and frees up her comparative processes to the level of associative and aesthetic chaining. The result is systems of fragile bonds between mutually reflecting duos and trios of images.
The longer we look at the moving cubes in Vilém Novák’s (1981) 3D animation, the stronger the impression we have that they act and communicate with one another. It’s like watching members of a foreign tribe. We look in awe at the movements and the gestures. We think that we have understood, but then we are immediately lost. Novák’s animation is a parallel reality that shakes the certainties of our own.
The artist chose works from three of his new colour photography collections for his exhibition at Fotograf Gallery. It is best to look at their mutual connection through the synthesizing character of Grygar’s work. Just as he chose several small details of everyday provenance many times in the past. His means of mapping through use of photographic tools, of course, once again uncovers his effort to combine different points of view within one exhibition configuration.
The photographs from the Photography Lessons exhibition were created during a workshop for students from a Prague high school. In the photos students reconstructed scenes from photographs of very different sorts: reproductions of historic paintings and sculptures, iconic photojournalism images and also anonymous photos downloaded from the internet. Some reconstructions look like memento shots from the running around of adolescents during a long recess break. Others have better composed scenes. Gravlejs takes the photos, blows them up and hangs them in the gallery as if they were not documentaries but rather independent images that are surrounded as such by their own inappropriate aura.
Borges‘s claim that mirrors contain something monstrous led Jiří Franta and Jana Kochánková to make a spatially-installed game based on mirroring and photography. It expresses the absence vs. presence of objects and visitors in the present time and in the past. The ROOM space is divided with opposite-facing walls and mirrors, whose mutual relationship allows for the creation of the illusion of an exhibition of spatial works that were once in the gallery but are no more. From this perspective one can speak of the TIA exhibition as a specific form of artistic documentation.
Painter Ladislava Gažiová began some time ago to experiment with photograms. Together with this shift to other techniques the content of her work also changed. Wasteland: an absent and untested environment for us, yet still one that stimulates our imagination. Photograms, drawings, collages and small interventions in books are ways to examine their contours and to look for intersections between subjective poetics and an interest in the form of reflection on different and distant cultures.
The Major’s Diary came about based on discussions with curator David Korecký over a year’s time. Hroník’s topic is inspired by literature and its dramaturgy was one of the exhibition’s foundations. The photographs in this collection touch on three imaginary edges. An essentially linear narrative is told by inventing a situation with specific characters, where Hroník uses his experience from studio work with models, bringing to mind a peepshow theatre. The second level, with edges no smoother, investigates the forces of nature. Here we move between documentary and fully aestheticised creative photography. Unease arises from the proximity of these genres, where the artist always stands on the opposite side of the cultural chain: once he is the limitless artist, a creator of a world of images, then he is an insignificant observer of nature, the strength of which he cannot match.
A Christmas display will be held in the spaces of Tranzitdisplay, Fotograf Gallery, ArtMap Office and the Školská 28 Gallery together with A2. The event will also feature a cultural programme. Persons visiting the bazaar will have the opportunity to view publications, catalogues, small publishing house projects, printed artistic materials, art CDs/DVDs and contempory design. The event will also include a flea market in the Fotograf Gallery.
Kochan and Blažo’s strategy is a Dadaistically-conceived satire. The quality of the photographs is poor, but that doesn’t matter. Blažo and Kochan are concerned mainly about critical effect and spontaneous reaction. Kochan takes pictures of Blažo, who through small events comments on sculptural monuments in public spaces. Kochan – a trained sculptor – then uses the camera to spot bizarre moments in everyday life. By combining their work into one whole, a metaphorically expressive field of mutual analogies is created.
The Fotograf magazine’s 20th anniversary issue also serves as a broader publication about the topic and as informational material for the 2nd year of the Fotograf Festival – Off Limits. This time it will focus on public art and a transforming understanding of public space (not only) in contemporary photography. From amongst the artists being presented we can name: Dennis Adams, Susan Meiselas, Braco Dimitrijević, Wendy Ewald, Šejla Kamerić, and others.
Empty playgrounds and stadiums are impressive places. When athletes are not chasing one another around their surfaces and cheers are not coming from the stands, they turn into a wasteland. Because they are built for people to gather in them, for movement and desire (sweat and the roar of crowds), the view of human absence creates a feeling of lacking. This feeling is a powerful catalyst for another movement, imagination.
The core of the exhibition Michael Ures (1978) in Fotograf Gallery are photos taken during his visit to Mexico. He sees all aspects of the country – Latinos pizzazz, covering both “southern” light intensity and aspects of the Mexican culture, whether they are garish colors or dense network of reminders on the spiritual essence of life, but he deals with them very carefully. His aim is not to make a document of the ways, diary or romantic-exotic excursion. He used the journey rather as an incentive to see that the non-everyday vision may start to discover things who are overlapped by routine, and he takes the exhibition as an opportunity to create a poetic essay about connections and relationships between images.
Anny Balážová’s (a graduate this year of Brno’s FaVU) video is a rhizomatic compilation of short sequences referring to the process of artistic work, creating image illusion and animation processes. The exhibition loosely builds on the earlier presentation by Katarína Hládeková, with whom Balážová worked on the creation of an animated film. The gallery objects and installations draw from this film. The takes used for Něco v obraze / Something in the Image are original draft and discarded materials from the film; ones that Balážová gives meaning to in her artistic collage.
Some of his exhibitions are more construction, others build on recurring ideas. His work at the Fotograf Gallery has however its clear, yet not fully communicated, reading or message. The main characters are two women; thus bending the nature of the exhibition toward a „theatrical“ form, which is indicative for Aleš Čermák.
Four photographs hung individually on four walls in the Fotograf Gallery remind us of the absent three-dimensional „object“ in the middle of the exhibition space. Actually no „object“ ever stood in the Fotograf Gallery space. The pictures were created in a studio. The „object“ captured was created in a model of the gallery space; so this involves a game of illusion, in which the detachment of a miniaturised model from its actual scale played a role. The word „object“ meanwhile truly merits being in quotation marks. In fact it would be totally appropriate to use the plural, because in fact four objects were photographed. They differ from one another only slightly; only to the extent that in the mind of the viewer they can meld into one.
Wide conception of the moving image phenomena and photography will be presented with a help of terms and concepts that rank among the key words (appropriation, illustration, sequence, rhythm, mise-en-scène, projection space etc.), that imply relation between two cultural and social systems (film & photography).
Aleksandra Vajd and Hynek Alt most often work as a duo and this includes running the Photography Atelier at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague. In his book published this year, The Art of Collaboration (Umění spolupráce), part of which is devoted to photography, Jan Zálešák presents them, along with Lukáš Jasanský and Martin Polák, as an important collaborating pair. In recent years they worked on a thorough, albeit not uninspired, analysis of photography as a medium; the medium of cameras, and other cameras entering the process of creating a work. They explored individual elements of this environment and tried to escape from original correlations.
The exhibition’s theme does not end with Aleksandra Vajd and Hynek Alt’s project, but it evolves further in Bára Mrázková’s work called external surrounding membrane, internal core layer, external plexiform layer, internal core layer, which takes us with its name alone to a land of observation where the viewing function connects with the function of understanding. This is how we know it from the English double-meaning of the phrase “I see” (I know). With her installation Bára Mrázková places us right on the spot of the border between the cave and the external world, in the moment of fierce blinding, when we lose contact with the past (according to Plato through a world of senses, illusions, shadow-play and doxies) unable to read the world of logos, epistemes.
The 1990s have passed on to the realm of memories. For some this seemstoo early, but the younger generation can no longer make a connection to the decade other than an intermediated one. It is the last non-internet period. And the fact that Jednotka had a web-page at the time and now has it archived is to the credit of Krištof Kintera, who created it and backed it up, and also the result of it having survived into the new millennium and that it still from time to time comes alive during the 4+4 dny v pohybu (4+4 days in motion) festivals, when they participate on it’s concept and set up persistent, steady bars with a typical, sought out atmosphere.
The film is based on the gallery show presently in Fotograf Gallery about Club 57 and N.Y. ’80s. It is about two fun Prague/Czech performance artists, one male and female. They are obsessed by New York underground stars Wendy Wild and John Sex and want to do performances and have a life like they did in the New York ’80s.
“One staircase led to heaven the other to hell” says Robert Carrithers of a building in New York’s St. Mark’s Place Street, number 57. The building whose basement housed, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Club 57 – a creative laboratory for all non-conformists and free-thinkers from the East Village – actually belonged to the central offices of the Polish Catholic Church. (…) Robert Carrithers was one of them. He spontaneously documented everything that happened in the club. The performances, the birth of success, the first exhibitions and the backstage area. In his moment shots and portraits, which will be shown for the first time in the Czech Republic, barmen meet with writers, film-makers and future celebrities. Thus a unique testimony was created; one that is as unbridled image-wise as the Club 57 program.
This politically and aesthetically incorrect exhibition explores the concept of woman as an object in the photography and art during the 1970s and 1980s. Through seemingly disparate examples of official art and the work of what were then outsiders, it tries to show how the camera was used as both an instrument for worshipping female beauty as well as a weapon of enslavement. This creates a subjective curatorial construction not only about past gender norms, but also about the by-gone times of our childhood, the sex appeal of those times, and about nostalgia and vanishing desires.
Collective art project of David Böhm and Alena Kotzmannová brings together an installation in which texts of David and photographic pictures of Alena unfold our associations with such a freedom, that it is hard to differentiate the text and visual preception. Texts are appearing in form of signs, objects, installations. Texts and groupe of photographs are not meant for linear reading, they create rather a specific space, where the bindings are not always obvious.
Nothing goes according to plan. The exhibition’s title, Náhradní měsíc / Spare Month, came about as part of efforts to fulfill a plan. An intercalary month is actually something similar to a leap year. The Ancient Roman (Julian) calendar was configured differently each year. It was ten days shorter than the tropical year, where there are four seasons and the sun reaches the same point, i.e. from summer solstice to summer solstice. It was also shorter than our current Gregorian calendar. In order for people to compensate for this gap, roughly once every two years they added a so-called Mercedonius – an intercalary month – to the calendar. So, thus, nothing goes according to plan.
The new media international exhibition presents one art group and two artists. Authentic Boys, the international inter-discipline group mainly based in Netherlands (Rotterdam) and Germany (Berlin), are interested at reinterpreting the film or video mediums. They highly challenging style combines experiences from physical theatre, processional filming and visual arts. Time and gaps in time are often the core of their films.
Ghostbusters, The Breakfast Club, Madonna with her bra made by Jean-Paul Gaultier, and also Apple’s legendary commercial or the unforgettable Knight Rider. Gilbert and George win the Turner Prize, in our country the Atika group of designers is formed and Rain Main wins an Oscar. Those were tough times, and we’re not talking about jackets with shoulder pads. On the afternoon of 22nd October, we will share all this and so much more using the period catchphrase “Back to the Future.”
Photography and landscape, this combination of words, need not necessarily mean just looking for a beautiful image or a piece of it. It can also relate much more deeply to the essence of seeking, wandering and understanding human life in the landscape, in nature, and also in the world. Wandering through the landscape can be a sensitive, romantic search for one’s own roots, such as in the case of Jaroslav Anděl, or a humble call for protecting the landscape and a desire to cohabitate with it in harmony as in the case of kindred Slovakian conceptual oriented artist, Michal Kern.
Photographic approach of Radeq Brousil tries to maintain conceptual principals and stategies within the frame of more or less classical (analog) photography. As the title of the show implicates, he uses cold mechanical system over common photographic subject matters which appear on the pictures. This creates a distance, where other – less subjective topics can take place. In this particular series he works extensively with diptychs and semantic shifts of different presentation of the same image.
While still a student of the Department of Interactive Media at the Jan Evangelista Purkyně University in Ústí nad Labem, Antonin Jirát has found a clever way of dragging into the art field the more general questions associated with faith and religion, which are creeping into our current atheistic society and have not been completely eliminated by the long history of modernism and communism. He has stepped onto this thin ice, armed with seemingly innocent gestures borrowed from visual gags, dadaism and punk. His conclusions come so fast, that they seemingly inadvertently create a liberating counterpoint to what would otherwise be an overly serious topic.
In his lecture, Dr. Abdallah Abu Eid will focus on the Palestinian Authority’s efforts to gain recognition of the Palestinian State. The culmination of this process is the submission of an application by the Palestinian Authority to become a member of the UN. It is expected that a vote on this issue by the UN General Assembly will take place in September.
I imagined that Jan Haubelt and Jiří Thýn would create a joint exhibition that would continue to enable them to collaborate outside the activities of the Ladví Group. The space at the Fotograf Gallery seemed to me to be suitable for this joint work – two spaces more or less the same joined by photography. The exhibit, as everything seemed to indicate, would occur as I had envisioned but without any influence on my part: work that was joint but individual at the same time.
The escape routes that Matyáš Chochola seeks as a starting point from the current crisis of dominating rationality clearly have a centrifugal direction; provided we consider the infinite rule of reason, lasting from the previous century (or having occurred during the Enlightenment to be exact), to be the ideological centre. Just as in past years the modern style oxygenated by post-modern critique (which shook the solid centre of modern style and its fixed progressivity to the core), it seems that a post-modern style has returned, whose empty core has been filled by an attempt to push forward the existing order of the social system.
If we intend to think about Václav Kopecký’s exhibition idealistically, then we can let ourselves be amazed by its pure state, where the image is born from zero input value and its output value also bears no material added value. It is the image of a gallery on its own wall. The gallery itself becomes the subject and exhibits itself. All this happens as if with no touch and as if by itself.
A small Art Book Fair at the Communication Space Školská 28 and Fotograf Gallery. Organizers have focused this event on small, smaller, non-commercial and independent publishing houses: books, fan-zines and minor publications published by small publishing houses. The event also includes a section devoted to the presentation and sale of artistic books by contemporary artists, photographers, illustrators and typographers. The two-day event will be accompanied by lectures and discussions involving the persons involved in publishing (publishing houses, authors, graphic designers, et. al.). A topic for discussion will also be the current situation with publications on art, a look at future prospects and e-publishing options.
The creation of these three authors is not burdened in any way by a trauma of the piece’s originality, although the originality (and it may be transferred multiple times) is being of interest as a place of certain context, appearance, discovery. The new media becomes the rendered picture or rather its transmission into an object, installation. This visualization of data means a search for a method how to work with other reality (in the end maybe even more genuine and controlled by artist himself) than the one we share with the current social hierarchy. In their work the art language has changed completely and it doesn’t have the ambition of showing the difference of art and fondly uses the design and industrial compositions, colors, signs and codes as well as communicative language, when the art language was without any pomposity replaced by purchase codes, numbers of products and in all the computer processes and programs.
Bil’in, a Palestinian village on the Left Bank, is at risk of losing half of its agricultural land. Israel took this land with the intent of building illegal Israeli colonies and so-called separation barriers. Village residents decided to protest against the seizure of their lands. The film exposes the peculiar relationships that form between villagers and Shai Carmeli-Pollak, the film’s director, who came to Bil’in with a group of Israeli peace activists.
To know, to depict and react also means to intervene in reality. To reconstruct it. To reconfigure it. To singularize the undefined. Create and suppress something else. To subject facts to tests of their truthfulness. The question is not how to move from theorizing to acting, but to come to terms with the fact that when we depict or make images we are already acting.
Andrea Stappert žije v Berlíně a v poslední době také často v New Yorku. V letech 1979 – 85 žila a studovala malířství na Akademii výtvarného umění v Hamburku. Poté se přestěhovala do Kolína, kde působila do roku 1998. Její dlouhodobá práce jen pomalu nabývá jasných obrysů jako celek a jako vyhraněná umělecká výpověď. Nebyla dosud zhodnocena významnou výstavou či monografií. Především proto, že její cesta je částečně autodidaktická a postupná, bez uplatňování programových ambicí.
A tendency toward abstraction is apparent lately in photographs of highly-varied tendencies such as politically-motivated documentarism or, in contrast, supposedly indifferent neo-formalism. The joint basis of these opposite artistic orientations is meanwhile a common interest in formal reduction, in abstraction of photographs from other photographs and, finally, in abstraction of social and financial processes. The new understanding of the arcane term abstraction could also contribute to a revisionist reading of the history of abstract photography.
Politicians-theoreticians, who get involved in collective art projects in an effort to overcome the contradiction between leftist theory and practical application. Art as a place where political theory becomes specific (collective) action, albeit in the neutral space of an artistic institution. The question of subversive affirmation and cooperation among collectives with artistic institutions. An aesthetic of projects coming directly from a theoretical-political vision and aversion that such an aesthetic (didactic, uniform, illustrative) evokes.
The exhibition in the Fotograf Gallery presents part of the archive of Slovak action artist, environmental activist, revolutionary and politician, Ján Budaj (born in 1952) and the informal group, Dočasná spoločnosť intenzívneho prežívania (DSIP – Contemporary Society for Intense Survival). During the “normalisation” period it focused on the documenting and contextualising of its collective actions and interventions from 1974-1981 in Bratislava. These events were set up as traps that confronted viewers with their immediate reality. In the process of surviving their own existence, random passers-by turned into biased participants.
An audio-visual performance by Petr Krusha. An image collage of short B&W video loops on TV monitors and projections connected to physical actions. It’s about transferring video signal to audio (synchro-video/audio). The artist examines rendering time tangible through these media in a live 50Hz frequency flow that is further manipulated in harmonic and disharmonic sounds.
Even without wanting to further stoke the flames of today’s already burning fire of overcoming modern style (Modernism), I note the following extension. I cannot help but link Jan Lesák’s work, The Case for a Rookie, which is based on a transcript of Pavel Juráčka’s film, Case for a Rookie Hangman, to Petra Herotová’s older thoughts and her statues, created from “identical” drawings with a power for animation, piled on one another, called Spinning (2007).
I consider Fabo’s photographs to be a certain guide, a map capable of leading us, the viewers, from the work’s physical form to a form containing beauty, which we are able to view and evaluate further using the same aesthetic criteria as for any other work of visual art. The exhibited photographs each contain many forms – a clear form and a hidden form – on the formal level and from the perspective of content. Indeed, it is this multi-layeredness, or complexity to be more precise, that is a typical characteristic of Petr’s work. The exhibited collection almost didactically encrypts messages about the ways in which the world may be perceived.
The exhibition combines intuitively discovered concepts with selected commentaries. Lenka Vítková (born in 1975) expresses herself through painting, video and text. Pavel Sterec (born in 1985) uses sound, text and mainly installations, which he often integrates through the use of photography into past events, energy and performance. The installations are derived from the construction of a rope bridge. The subconscious is represented by black – this can be black printing ink or possibly the colour of fully exposed photographic paper. The exhibition was incorporated into the Fotograf Gallery programme for 2011, which was focused on extending the photographic format into other media and thought concepts.
Whereas, at the start of the 20th century photography had an indisputable complex from painting, at the end of the century the tide appeared to have turned. Many painters took up cameras and began to express themselves through photographs. Presentation of the new issue Fotograf #16, Michal Pěchouček’s bonus show and Štěpán Skalský’s music surprise.
What others consider a closed chapter – a perfect work – Conrad Ventur sees as an open form – a challenge. Ventur’s project that he started in 2009 presents another time warp. Its predecessor was none other than Andy Warhol and his famous portraits on16mm film, the Screen Tests. Most of these films were done in the ‘Factory’ between 1964–66. Conrad, in his re-filming of this series, one-ups the notion that this is an overloaded material. He maintains the original format – length, basic composition, light, delayed playback speed, a natural relationship between the subject of the portrait and the artist, and of course, the authenticity of the portrait subject by working with the same galaxy of stars that did the ‘originals’. Ventur’s contemporary perspective actively looks at the past and, like Warhol, he also maintains a critical view of the world of celebrity. His Screen Tests Revisited offer not only new psychological portraits of Warhol’s superstars, who haven’t lost their aura after all these years, but also their own dual experience of filming, ‘re-performing’ and a new experience of the current artist remaking 45-year-old artistic gestures.
Adam Holý came to the age when he has photographed almost everything existing. Now his aim is to shoot the very existence, at least it seems like it. And he even does not really want to shoot, rather just let it flow. Of course, someone has to choose, discuss, and hang it then. Adam has spent a significant part of this year traveling, mostly in South and North America. The exact locations are not really substantial, important is the estrangement. Adam lets himself be drifted away in order to distill new worlds, shrouded in mystique and possible transcendence.
The exhibition by American experimental film-maker, Barbara Hammer, which took place as an accompanying programme to this year’ Mezipatra Film Festival, represents a selection of the artist’s work from the beginning of the 1970s. Barbara Hammer was one of the first film-makers in the United States to systematically focus on taboo themes related to the female body and lesbian sexuality.
Radim Peško’s work focuses on typography as an intersection of technologies and language, type design, and occasional curatorial and publishing projects. He is a regular contributor to various publications including Dot Dot Dot magazine. His project called RP is a small scale digital type-foundry established in 2009. The foundry is focused on the development of fonts that are both formally and conceptually distinctive.
For Petr Willert the multi-layered micro-world of his grandmother’s 1-bedroom flat became the focal point of numerous photographic projects. During his studies at the Department of Advertising Photography at the university in Zlín he almost obsessively shot portrait photos of this grandmother and her friends, the details of interiors, and the hand-made items she created: gloves, socks and slippers made from multi-coloured yarn she obtained by unravelling sweaters. In his last project he made an artist out of his grandmother. Using his ‘granny’ he completed his required coursework, while elaborating on more open themes as ‘extracurricular’ work.
Viktor Kolář’s Ostrava, Jindřich Štreit’s village, views of the street from Jiří Hanke’s flat, Iren Stehli’s shop windows, Jaroslav Bárta’s pavements and windows, the Czech Man (Český člověk) Project – all of them suggestively put a name to Czech society in the 1980s. They are conveniently complemented by photographs of New Year’s Eve parties at the Yalta Hotel taken by Jan Jindra, a FAMU student at that time, for a mock-up for a school publication. Among other things, they marked a departure from the Czech documentary tradition that had been dominated by the consistent use of natural light without using a flash, an attempt at naming/identifying social relationships, and a positive, or at least benevolent, point of view.
The exhibited series of Michal Škoda’s A4 collages does not hang in the Fotograf Studio just by chance. Programme-wise the gallery is interested in various approaches and treatments of the photographic medium. Michal Škoda systematically develops a post-minimalist programme both on a practical level – in his drawings, paintings and objects – as well as theoretically – as the director and curator of the House of Art (Dům umění) in České Budějovice. Lately he is most interested in the field of copyrighted books, where one can without concern unhesitatingly classify exhibited collections according to specific genre. The temporal nature of the work, which references a diary-like form of records (in many places expressing a relationship to music and exhibiting aural associations), helped form the name of the exhibition – Records. All of Michal Škoda’s work stems from observations of objects and phenomena, which he transfers to new original constructions.
Where there is an axis, there are two sides. Without them the axis cannot exist. Actually it physically does not exist and is just a boundary line between spaces – a non-space. It is impossible to remain on an axis. Nevertheless, most of us, in our own way, try to do so; we perform a balancing act in a futile effort to achieve calm through equilibrium. It actually involves staying within the realm of possibilities, right before we decide which side to choose. It is a moment of uncertainty and an illusion of complexity. Thus the balancing occurs in a sort of non-time and non-space, which gives each such tightrope walker a feeling of experiencing eternity.
I have known Jan Mahr for many years, which need not ever (sometimes) be a criterion for judging or exploring his work, but for me it still is (at least for now). Lately, however, I do not really want to intellectually discuss in detail and describe the art that surrounds me, looking for the subtle web of messages, reasons, correlations, etc. that exist within it. On the other hand, I do realise that I no longer know how to get rid of the certain degree of the ‘evaluative instinct’ that exists somewhere within me. This not only stimulates me, but it also irritates me with its persistent sense of responsibility that may not have any justification. So yes, Honza’s photographs, specifically those from the Synthetic series, are a subject of contemplation for me, and, in that contemplation, I look for space for the common word ‘why’.
Teleportation in the title of the project by Tereza Janečková and Pavlína Míčová bears reference to Cronenberg’s horror film, The Fly. Canine and human bodies mix through animation into rhythmic image constructions. It’s as if the teleporting between animal species became a continuous process that (contrary to the aforementioned film) bears the new quality of return. The fluidity of transformations carries at the same time an alarming dimension of the story’s incomprehensibility. The reference to the horror film genre and the hint of narrative do not come through. What is the story about?
Patient and analytical Miroslav Machotka (1946) is probably the best-known of a handful of genuine (and non-club-associated) amateurs whose work cannot be looked at in any other way than within the context of contemporary art. This has applied to the creations of this autodidact for more than the thirty years following his wild student years. How is it that someone who continuously resists all innovation, including large-format cameras and big enlargements, colour and digital photos, and even the conceptualisation of art, can remain so up-to-date?
Silvie Kolevová’s exhibition takes us into the family environment, not from the documentary perspective, but rather in the meaning-making sense. By removing particular structures and patterns, the photographer tracks standard images of family life, even though some situations are very specific. Almost every family album contains pictures taken during celebrations, family trips, etc. The scene with a snake is one of those photos, which, just due to its topic, is original within a certain family’s history and its details. It represents a magical deviation from the continuous list of anticipated standard moods. Silvie links the visual testimony of two generations, at the same time erasing its natural storytelling value. Using the family album of her parents and her childhood, she preserves photos, important to her for some reason, and places them into new visual settings of artificial photographic ‘history’.
Velíková je dramatickou umělkyní brechtovského typu, a to v trojím ohledu: svým důrazem na gestiku odhalující anatomii postav, jež není nějakou jejich niternou psychologickou dimenzí, nýbrž sedimentem sociálních vztahů; kombinací médií, jež proti gesamtkunstwerku staví dramatickou laboratoř; a konečně využitím klíčového principu epického divadla, totiž přerušení a montáže – namísto rozvíjení jednání představuje stavy, namísto osudů situace.
Tereza Severová was asked by Fotograf Studio to set up an exhibition based on the blueprint of her profile published in the twelfth issue of the magazine of the same name. She went through the portfolio of her work created over a period of several years and recently completed. She limited herself to digitally manipulated photographs and left out her work with the video medium. In the exhibition she seeks the original relation between the motifs of filling up and depleting on one hand and content background on the other. Motifs that justify the existence of terms like Truth, Freedom, Tradition, and other similar words and expressions.
At the turn of the millennium, the name Michal Kalhous sparked fear in the hearts of believers in classic photography. The artist who takes pictures, on purpose, as if he were a 10-year-old child: even though he’s an adult, admits that he has been enthusiastically accepted by those who felt contemporary photography had lost its spark.