Fotograf Gallery

Özlem Altın & Tereza Zelenková: Memory and Desire, stirring

Opening: 18. 4. 2023, 18:00
Tereza Rudolf

The casting from a mould gains a new shape that for a long time existed only as a possibility, it is similar to when a newly planted tree grows from a hole which forms and deforms its roots. Layers of paint, as well as lace curtains, prevent us in seeing that which would like to force its way to the surface. That “something” which remains partially hidden, is one of the motives of works by both artists connected with the Memory and Desire, Stirring exhibition.

Altın as well as Zelenková often turn to a certain type of storytelling that takes either the form of an authorial book or a selection and ordering of the exhibited photographs or paintings. Their stories linger in the mind of the spectator as lost memories. They do not represent fixed narratives or story constructions, rather they work with a feeling and impression, with a possibility or an offer of “something” distant in the intimate.

By combining and mirroring of the images, they create the longing to see something that is only just coming into existence or just ceasing to exist; “(…), breeding lilacs out of the dead land, mixing memory and desire, stirring dull roots with spring rain,” writes the English poet Thomas Stearns Eliot. The transformation between the dead and the living, the acceptance of something’s or someone else’s shape, the very process of change of the form itself, these are important elements of the works of both authors.

In the same fashion as repetition deforms time when it brings the same in slight variations, the artists use their shots to change the way we look at familiar things. An extreme close-up of surfaces of repeatedly used Christmas cookie cutters depicts the everyday as something foreign and transforms a familiar body into something unfamiliar when it intertwines with branches or blends with a water surface. The exhibited works by Özlem Altın and Tereza Zelenková are therefore mainly visual poetry, which by means of transformations of meanings refuses a clear-cut interpretation.

Read the exhibition brochure here.


Fotograf Gallery is supported by the Czech Ministry of Culture and during the year 2021 by a grant from the City of Prague amounting to 630 000 CZK.