The newest edition of Fotograf Magazine offers new utopias for the 21st century. It is not only due to the pandemic that we feel a need to stop and consider new ways in which society can function. We invite you to experience a utopian stream of ideas and try out the format of the “critical run”. This is an opportunity for those among you more prone to action to join us for a short run, one whose aim is not sport but mental achievement in the form of a kind of “running debate”. Slow running. In sport shoes. About new utopias.
Screening of selected films by American artist Shelly Silver, who will visit the Fotograf Festival: Uneven Ground X this year. Films such as A Strange New Beauty (2015) or video sketches entitled 1 (2001) and This Film (2018) will present the artist’s range of approaches between post-documentary and poetic narration. At the same time, we will look at topics that she has long been interested in, such as normative and atypical relationships between individuals. In her case, love or desire is also emulated in the way of film recording, repeatedly manifesting from other perspectives, exploring the relationships between observers and the observed.
Despite the fascination of the intertwined hands, in Jolana Havelková’s double exposure one simultaneously feels the urge to separate the overlapping contours of the backs of the hands from one another and to conceive them as distinct body parts. What does this reaction say about our relationship to the Other?
The opportunities to encounter the Other – someone other than myself – are transforming
dynamically, thanks in part to technological developments and the possibilities for sharing both images and other information. However, we often isolate ourselves in smooth bubbles of sameness and the others disappear. Photography mediates encounters, but it is also a medium that alienates. Uneven terrain is a place where we meet; where our relationships take place, whether they are personal or social and political.
After last year’s QUARTZ exhibition at the 1. patro Gallery, the Silicones exhibition at Prague’s Fotograf Gallery is the second instalment of a three-part exhibition series by photographer Alena Kotzmannová, this time including not only photographs, but also videos and drawings. She extends the “crystal” poetics of the previous exhibition, focusing on the relationships between minerals and human industry.
We would like to thank hunt kastner gallery in Prague for their cooperation on this exhibition.
Two narratives develop in parallel at the Black Pluto of the Universe exhibition. Visual artist Jiří Havlíček uses them to circle around the definition of socialism through a repeated rummaging through its visual culture. He subjects products “made in Czechoslovakia” branded with characters from Disney films or photographic copies of erotic photographs from Western magazines to examination through technologies of image reproduction (both historical and contemporary), through the museum “display” and both material and symbolic experiments, almost as if he were trying to renew their attraction in order to become, once again, objects of Desire, thanks to which they were, at the time, stronger than the social and political ideals.
A city is a fragile organism, defined by a system of diversely situated streets, squares, residential areas, public spaces and private properties. Its inhabitants are moving around according to their daily tasks, organized in relation to their position in the highly stratified social structure, assuming roles in the complexly managed arrangement of care for the wellbeing and maintenance of the bare existence of the organism.
All the elements of a city are inseparably intertwined and keeping them running requires an intentionally or even unconsciously controlled effort of countless actors: the climate, both political and natural; an infrastructure of pipes distributing water, gas or shit; cables providing Internet connection; visionary thoughts of improvement; hardly stable, yet seemingly inviolable rules and regulations keeping all in its pre-defined place; historical circumstances and context – continuously reconstructed – to complement the current needs… Such a list could keep growing almost indefinitely.
Artists: Liam Gillick, Eva Koťátková, Wendelien van Oldenborgh, Katja Pratschke & Gusztáv Hámos, Max Vajt
How would you find out what the composition of the atmosphere was like fifteen thousand years ago? There is no one to ask, although there were certainly humans living on the planet at the time. They did not, however, keep records of the levels of CO2 and other components of the atmosphere. The only things that have survived are paintings of flora and fauna and ornaments and symbols on bones and everyday items. Perhaps you could think about the fact that particular values of carbon dioxide or nitrogen oxide lead to a particular atmospheric temperature, and therefore a particular climate which benefits particular types of organism we can then recognize on human artifacts made at the time (or are directly composed of parts of these organisms, as is the case with mammoth tusks). This is, however, a long chain of thought that demands a certain level of speculation – an approach rarely present in science.
The fortieth edition of the Fotograf Magazine focuses on terrestrialness. As usual, it thus partly shares the theme of the Fotograf Festival, expanding on it through both theoretical and photographic contributions. The conviction that photography, as a recording medium, is only one of the many ways of capturing natural processes and observing changes in the climate stands at the core of the artworks and approaches introduced at festival exhibitions and on the pages of our magazine. The launch of the ’Earthlings’ edition of Fotograf Magazine will take place after a guided tour in the exhibition Anthropology of Ice.
Fotograf Festival announces an open call for Portfolio review. Festival would like to address those interested in consulting their portfolios at the Fotograf Festival Portfolio review. Your work will receive feedback from experts of international importance, photographers, theorists and curators during at least four fifteen minute meetings.
Although the “Anthropology of Ice” exhibition at the Fotograf Gallery presents the scientific perspective as only one of many possible perspectives, in Talks About Ice, Petra Vinšová places a definite emphasis on this position. The cryospheric ecologist will talk to the philosopher and curator Lukáš Likavčan not only about her research, but also about the different foundations and possible points of contact between scientific and artistic approaches.
How do art works handle information in a society that occasionally refers to itself as an information society? Whom do they inform and how and by whom are they formed and how? At the Attacks on Goods: Masks, Microfilm, Timelines exhibition, we attempted to find an answer to these questions with the help of several artists. We will be accompanied in our quest by masks in various forms whose function varies situationally but which can always be understood as membranes between the inside and outside of bodies; between people and the world; between refuge and liberation. We can find a guideline in the technology of microfilm as a form of informational photography that historically preceded general digitization and therefore – seen in hindsight – anticipates post-digital photography. This was the title of the last book by the photography theorist and lecturer Filip Láb, whose recent premature death was a defining stimulus for this exhibition.
Exhibiting Artists: John Barker and Ines Doujak, Filip Láb, Barbora Mrázková, Oliver Ressler
Accompanying programIt will also be possible to take the exhibition as part of a guided tour with curator Vojtěch Märc. Worksheets with fun tasks will be waiting for the youngest visitors of our gallery, and a workshop focusing on civic engagement and visions for the future is being prepared for secondary schools. As part of the listening lecture, the themes of the exhibition will be further developed through popular and alternative music. We will inform you about specific dates in time.
The figure of the measurer is inseparably tied to the modern cultural tradition, particularly from the 19th century onwards. A male figure moves through the landscape, and on his back lies the “weight” of the precise measurement of reality. One of the ways in which photography became historically most useful was as a tool of scientific measurement, where it was to ensure the desired precision and objectivity. Measurement, often aided by photographic technologies, thus plays an essential role in modernity and bears a similar load. The world must first be measured so that it can be cut up and sold.
Fotograf Magazine issues an open call for professionals, amateurs and students who are invited to submit their photo projects. We are interested in artworks (fine-art photography, moving image, etc.) representing a distinctly defined project of an independent and non-commercial character.
We appreciate all genres and the most diverse approaches of artistic creation, because one of goals of our “Fotograf – zone of contemporary photography” is to discover talents. We are looking for talents of any age. Talents wanted. Let’s sign in!
Flesh, meat, skin and leather: different names to describe similar assemblages of cellular tissue. The exhibition reflects on the making and unmaking of bodies and identi- ties, through the reproduction, fabrication and extraction of biological matter. Playing with the fluidity between the naturally procreated and the artificially engineered, The Never E-ending Egg articulates bodies and identities as territorial building materials.
The exhibition “Extremely Normal” is dedicated to the ambivalence of visual representations of far-right violence. The visual stereotype of the “far-right outlaw” seems to be outdated as it does not grasp the vast extent of the current manifestations of affiliation with extreme nationalist and right-wing policies.
Výstava představuje Pavla Baňku nejen jako významného českého fotografa, jehož dílo je zastoupeno v řadě fotografických sbírek po celém světě, ale i jako neúnavného networkera, který přispěl k formování českých dějin fotografie posledních několika dekád svou dlouholetou pedagogickou i organizátorskou činností.
Water is fluid, it does not respect boundaries, it overflows, it seeps, it represents a frightening depth, but also a soothing float on a calm surface. We can be inspired by water, and feel the power of its flow in our own bodies, or learn to receive and give in the rhythm of the waves. Heart Seas, the title of Lucie Sceranková’s exhibition – in which water becomes a metaphor for the experience of motherhood, life energy, the foam of days, a cleansing bath, but also a mirror of lived experience – is taken from a book by British anthropologist Veronica Strang, who describes the inner sea that flows through the heart and sustains its tides.
The group exhibition Released Atoms follows the theme of making the invisible visible. While the radiographs –photographs created using artificially produced gamma rays – penetrate the inside of X-rayed objects and reveal their internal structure, selected works by contemporary artists depict the hopes placed in the peaceful use of energy and the fears associated with it. Alongside the original documentation of historical radiograms and popular and avant-garde books, the exhibition presents works that explore spectacular modernist projects and give access to the environments of atomic reactors and isolated sites affected by nuclear disaster.
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.
Pay attention and watch closely. Revice and reflect. Listen to others and to yourself. Confront despair.
The final works exhibited in the Gallery Fotograf combine a sensitivity to their surroundings with an awareness of their own situation. Students at the Academy of Arts Architecture and Design in Prague look around them and explore the contexts in which they find themselves. While sometimes inviting us into seemingly private settings and intimate situations, they end up touching on generational and more general themes and reflecting on societal and planet-wide affairs.
The work of the photographer Jiří Toman from Pardubice is extensive and varied, and this time the Fotograf Gallery will present an intimate selection inspired by a rather unreflected set of photographs of the foaming Elbe, ice crystals and snowdrifts taken in the vicinity of the weir near Počáply. Original working enlargements will be complemented by digital reprints from Toman’s negatives and contemporary entries by Šarka Zahálková, who was inspired by both Toman’s photographs and his involvement in animated film.
What is our relationship to nature? The concept of nature is notoriously equivocal, the return to nature in many aspects problematic and the questions of how to widely protect the nature from us, who are part of it, not easy to be answered. Reinterpretation and reconstruction of our relationship to nature is related to economic, social, political and cultural changes over time. The selection of more than 20 international art videos and films from 17 artists will take place simultaneously in Knoll Galerie Wien, Prague and MAO / DIG in K13 – Kasarne Kulturpark Košice.
Four art projects for the exhibition When Days Lose Names were selected in the open call of the Fotograf Gallery as the most interesting aspect of the submitted contributions to reflect on the unique situation that has affected us in recent months. Although we know that it is not yet behind us, the works of art at the exhibition are the first attempt at its artistic expression – whether strictly tied to recent events or its metaphorical counterpart.
A Short History of Camera Traps is an exhibition focusing on the interaction of human and non-human animals and the role played by photographic (and other) technology. It is founded on the ideas of the English anthropologist Alfred Gell, who drew attention to the internal similarities between camera traps and works of art. In a broadened (rather than figurative) sense, the exhibited works function as camera traps by making visible certain patterns of behavior in various environments. The exhibition itself also has a similar ambition on another level. Its shop-window mutation marks another attempt to adjust to the changing conditions of current exhibition practice. It also asks how art itself, as a form of life, adapts: not only in its forms but also in our needs. Following the example of patient photographic equipment, the exhibition thus sets a trap for the gazes of possible passers-by in order to attempt to extricate itself, along with them, from the trap of the present.
The exhibition was created as a partial stand-in for the cancelled gallery program experienced in the past two months. The artists elaborate on a new experience resulting from the changing nature of interpersonal interactions by poetic means. During Monday’s event, you will be able to view their photographic montage for the last time and also talk about it – practically for the first time – with both authors.
Without doubt, Jaroslav Kučera represents one of the most important cinematographers of the Czechoslovak cinematography of the second half of the 20th century. The exhibition aims to provide a look into Kučera’s archive, to demonstrate a role of a cinematographer as both a creative and artistic one, as well as to understand what are the specific features of Kučera’s oeuvre and his way of thinking through/with images. The show therefore offers mostly a presentation of drafts, sketches and various experimentations with photographic and cinematographic images, which Kučera produced continuously throughout his life. These images reveal how important to him was the work with colour, shadows, light and compositions and the capturing of ways of looking, authenticity and atmosphere.
A four-member commission composed of the Fotograf platform team, including Jiří Ptáček, Tereza Rudolf, Tomáš Hrůza and Lenka Glisníková, following a three-day period for specific and individual nominations, made a consensus decision for the exhibition proposals submitted by:
Petra Vlčková and Martin Netočný
In addition to these three, the following was also approached to cooperate under different financial conditions:
The Magma exhibition follows up on the release of Chochola’s publication The Scent of Success, especially on the subsequent happening that he made with one of its copy. The initial starting point of the gallery presentation was the photographic material of Vojtěch Veškrna, which was created during its production, and whose enlargements Chochola again took to the same place to finally edit.
The exhibition, which is in the Fotograf Gallery shop, poetically responds to changes in the perception of the body, which is not only currently subject to external, unusually strict medical supervision, but also to novel subjective experiences. As time progresses, during which we must not meet, touch and partly not even see each other, something is happening with us…
Desert Island with 15,000 Inhabitants is a visual-movement performance connected with listening to music and reading from maps and fictional chronicles of Desert Island. It will take place at the Fotograf Gallery twice on the performance day, from 4pm and 8pm. The work’s authors organize a meeting on a Deserted Island. The island is part of the mainland; smaller than a continent and large than a rock, it rises from the water. Desert(ed) can mean: uninhabited, monotonous, gloomy, dreary, boring. Together with the audience, we would like imagine that we are living on this Island – an independent, isolated ecosystem guided by its own particular rules.
The Museum of Contemporary Art Tbilisi is a museum on move, a museum “on call” that tells various stories with photographic and video documentation of the previously selected works of Georgian artists. The museum is an attempt to re-think and re-evaluates important works of Georgian contemporary art and topics from new history. The Museum of Contemporary Art – Tbilisi investigates a contemporary art in Georgia in a socio-political and historical context that in its turn reflects the country’s latest history.
The term event horizon, which refers to a point beyond which light cannot escape the attraction of the black hole, can equally well indicate a place beyond which the imagination of the future ends. It is known that the mechanism of presentation is anchored in the past, based on memories that predetermine what we can imagine or in the language of science – it is an interpolation of numerous statistical measurements. But the question is what is at the core of the speculation from which the imaginative image is constructed?
Stumbling across something.
With the eyes? With the mind? Through a motion?
To see someone or something.
To gaze at someone looking or touching.
Hands in pockets, a visual frisking or probing.
Bowing. Bending the other.
Casting one’s glance at something.
From here across the room, underneath, on top of.
Until one is full with it.
The Isotonic Songs is an art book made by long-term cooperating art duo Pavel Příkaský and Miroslava Večeřová. The book was created in interaction between artists, editor Mariana Serranová, authors of text contributions and graphic designer Jan Brož. At the same time, it is the first of a series of original publications that the Fotograf platform wishes to use to stimulate interest in an unconventional combination of photography, other visual media and printed books.
The series ‘Máj/My’ of the German photographer Stephanie Kiwitt was created between 2015 and 2018 in Prague. Its imaginary epicenter is a department store of which two provisional names, the original Máj and the subsequent My refer to two epochs: the working class era celebrated in May during socialist Czechoslovakia, and the time of individualized consumers and owners who were spoiled by corporate capitalism.
In current art discourse, the so-called “turnovers” are constantly changing. The movement takes place from Object-Oriented Ontology to Emo-Romantic Turn, at times from the Ethnographic Turn to the Speculative Turn. The constant overshooting of the language of art criticism reflects today’s state of art theory. In his lecture, Erik Vilím will attempt to describe the intellectual land (Wolfgang Iser) of the theory of art and its impacts on the state of art criticism. On this basis, he will try to critically comment on his own dissertation’s thesis.
Postmortem photography – the past tradition of depicting corpses of deceased people immediately before their funeral, has left behind thousands of incomprehensible, obscure and deeply intimate pictures, easy to find in today’s family archives, flea markets and on piles of discarded waste. On the occasion of Bartosz Flak´s current essay collection, he would like to present the topic of Polish postmortem photography and literary approaches towards found photographs.
During the artist talk Denis Kozerawski will focus on central thematic areas and core projects of the APART collective, ways of collective imagination in the creation of art installations, and on how the institutional flow in Bratislava influenced their way of operating. He will present the project Tears of the Sun on Earth, which is currently presented in Banská Bystrica. At the end of the presentation he will show us the film The Most Beautiful Catastrophe.
Jan Kubíček (1927— 2013) ranks among the most important representatives of constructive approaches in Czech painting in the second half of the 20th century. The exhibitions in the Fotograf and Pecka Galleries bring our attention to his lesser-known photographic work. While the Pecka Gallery focuses on Kubíček’s journey through photographic themes and approaches from the 1960s to the 1980s, the Fotograf Gallery chose an exclusively well-defined position on the border of photography and action. In the mid-1980s Kubíček was attracted by the possibilities of photograms, mainly due to the possibility to visualize the problems of decomposition and transformation of geometric shapes. He came closest to his mature painting expression in photograms from the series Form-Action, and at the same time he found different artistic solutions for them thanks to the chosen technology.
The documentary series Offline by young photographer Polina Davydenko (1995) is a sensitive insight into the everyday life of her younger brother Mirda. The level of unresponsiveness to the surroundings and the uncovered boredom of this seemingly unhealthy boy can cause laughter in the viewer. The image that Davydenko creates with the series is in any case unironic; she deems it an alarming image of a member from the ‘Generation Z’.
Three students from three photography studios of fine art universities will present their portfolios. This year, the teachers and other students from the three schools were invited to our informal portfolio review: The Photography Studio, Faculty of Art and Design at Jan Evangelista Purkyně University in Ústí nad Labem, Studio of Documentary Photography, Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, and Photography studio, Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Ostrava.
Renowned British artist Tacita Dean took the photographs for ‘Czech Photos’ (1991/2002) as a student during her stay in Prague in 1991, but she did not present the 326 photographs until 2003. As she says: “They are like the remains of Prague, which no longer exists, a kind of capsule.” This exhibition also includes the 16 mm black and white film ‘Ztráta’ (1991/2002), whose title translates as ‘Loss’, which is an ambiguous record of a lecture at the Czech Technical University in Prague. Both artworks are presented in Prague for the first time.
The EXXIT group (1995-2000), the core of which consisted of students and graduates of the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava (including Yrbis Innocent, p3klmn, Peter Hrevuš and Tomáš Porubän) began to express itself fully in the post-revolutionary euphoria. However, its members had contact with an extant and “fragrant, shiny and luminous capitalism” (as they perceived it at the time of their adolescence) already before the fall of the iron curtain made it possible, which in turn deeply affected them. This experience and the spiritual foundation of some of them have been combined with spiritual contact, which was helped by previously unavailable psychotropic substances. The group also achieved visionary states while gathering in a Bratislava apartment on Radlinského Street.
The After Life výstavy is a collection of contributions from fourteen artists and curators who reflect on approaches to documenting exhibitions and works of art. The authors were asked to be as personal in their texts as possible and to convey their own experience and reflections on the subject. The book consists of three parts (Manipulation of Facts and Theory, Descriptions and Subjective Truths, Literature), in which documentary photography becomes a positive tool, proof, test or sketch, a means of blackmail, self-presentating stultification and a convergence element.
How can project spaces change art and society? How can shifting aesthetic values impact human wellbeing? Why is our measure of success the volume of fails artists do with our help? How can we allow strangers to use our space, using energy for experiments? Artist, curator and gallerist Gvantsa Jishkariani will talk about her own art practice and experience in gallery creation and the impacts her galleries have on Georgian art.
In a situation where our gallery remains closed to the public and cannot offer a standard exhibition program, we invite visual artists, especially photographers, to apply to our open call for a series of works in the area of creation influenced by the social
situation that has arisen. Our aim is not to support a trivial reflection of events, but to use artistic means to capture the transformation of creative possibilities and to show hitherto unsuspected or poorly visible impacts of these extraordinary
events on art and society.
The notion of artistic publishing has changed over the past few decades, in particular with the expansion of the art market, as well as the globalization of artistic practices. This is combined with the advent of the digital and the introduction of new modes of production and circulation. Print and digital projects employ experimental formats, blurring distinctions between the art press, curatorial experiments, and other publishing enterprises. The aim of the presentation of the curator and art historian Beáta Istvánkó is to summarize the history of independent art publishing in Hungary after 2000 through the activity of the Budapest-based ISBN books+gallery.
Markéta Othová (born 1968) is a renowned Czech photographer and graphic designer. She stratifies the spheres of her activities through the exhibition Book World. With her clearly defined conceptual series, she draws into the game topics between the personal and depersonalized, authentic and appropriative, artistic and applied, documentary and aesthetic.
Antonín Jirát (born 1984) creates meaning networks between photographs and objects as mutual counterparts and analogies. The starting point for him is the technical aspects of photography with its specific features and boundaries. However, in the final installations, photos and objects are only machine parts that work somewhat unpredictably, implying, but also misleading.
Andrii Konontsev, the native of Sevastopol and graduate of photography school in Zlín in Czechia, systematically addresses problems of Ukrainian-Russian relationship and the situation of Crimea. As guests there are invited a photographer Milan Bureš, documentary photographer and film-maker focused on post-Soviet states and Russia, the author of photography books Sevastopol and East of Eden. Another guest is Michal Lebduška as a research fellow of AMO Research Center focusing on political, security and social development in Ukraine and Ukrainian-Polish relations. The event will be moderated by Stanislav Bříza who established publishing platform Bflmpsvz where new Andrii´s book Homecoming is about to be published.
On June 21, 2019, the Fotograf Residency international jury was in confrerence. Jury members were Šymon Kliman (Nová Cvernovka – Bratislava), Judit Szalipszki (Trafó – Budapest), Joanna Gorlach (Fundacja Sztuk Wizualnych – Krakow), Aleksi Sosselia (CCA – Tbilisi) and Tereza Rudolf (Fotograf). Each foreign partner presented his nominations for artists and curators. The names of selected residents were publicly presented the same day at Fotograf Gallery as part of a program to launch a new issue of Fotograf #33 Investigation.
Under the title of the issue „Investigation“ we are looking for artistic work systematically examining information as an integral part of the process of creation. Investigative journalism could be an inspiration, which is a fundamental whistleblower of slightly tested democratic systems nowadays, but in fact the most important impulse for maintaining the basic principles of political and social equality. Within the diversity of the presented approaches, we plan to comprise range of examples. A journalistic or documentary photography projects that transcend the format of the report, the ironizing comments of the political situation to the purely artistic projects of wider interpretations, that the important part of is the process of exploring the power tactics or suspicious activities damaging the ideals of civil society.
The starting point of Jan Kolský’s exhibition is the organized employment of people to solve the so-called recaptcha, which in the internet environment serves to differentiate people from automated algorithms and bots. They are paid to bypass the control mechanisms and open up space for the spread of spam and other unwanted data, mostly advertising. This situation shows a more general picture of man’s current relationship to automated systems, where one becomes an expansion of the machine. However, it also has serious economic and social consequences.
Marek Tischler’s series dedicated to the topic of bodybuilding was inspired by his personal contact with the gym’s clients in Prague’s Řepy. The discovery that their motivation and human nature are often far from what is being imagined by the general public about bodybuilding has led to the creation of an extensive collection of collages for which the material has been used from local bodybuilding magazines. Along with the object created by the rebuilding of an older fitness machine, he turned the gallery into a kind of “field of deformation”, in which the exercise of physical strength, this integral part of physical exercise, is also an artistic process.
Presentation of the photographic book Czech Eden with the author’s personal presence. When he first visited the Czech Republic in the 1990s, Matthew Monteith was taken with the details of ordinary life in this country in transition. Captivated by the ineffable — a mood, a sense of place — he made repeated visits and in 2001—2003 traveled throughout the country photographing with the hope of creating a contemporary allegory that reflected ideals found in old postcards and Czech photography from the 1920s and ’30s. With their restraint, brilliant color, and thoughtful attention to the uncanny within the everyday, Monteith’s photographs parallel a venerable tradition staked out by masters such as Joel Sternfeld and embodied in contemporary work by practitioners such as Alec Soth.
The title of the first solo exhibition of the young Viennese photographer Bastian Schwind not only refers to his latest photographic object Broken Window Theory, but also to the moment when the photographic image loses its truism and actively manifests its constructed and subversive nature. In his works, Bastian Schwind has focused several times on this transition in the perception of photography. The modular architecture of the last two centuries and the materials used in it are his mainstay. Expansion beyond the photographic medium is also the starting point and so some of his works technically cannot be considered photographs, even though they are still based on photographic approaches.
Pavel Příkaský, Miroslava Večeřová together with curator Mariana Serranová will introduce you to the most important starting points of their common creative practice and will introduce the concept chosen for the Isotonic Song exhibition. You will learn more about their approach to combining different media, working with photography, painting, video and performance, but also the reason why the ubiquitous ingredient of the liquid process that avoids the boundary between the living and the inanimate has become a soluble salt crystal.
Fantasy images flow smoothly through the medium of painting, technical image, object and performance. An inevitable ingredient in the fluid process that breaks the boundary between living and mineral is the salt crystal, a substance that absorbs a solution of human and animal blood. The Isotonic song consists of the modern mythology of hybrid beings, the subject of internally conflicting corporeality is present at one point in archaic polymorphism as well as in the futuristic perspective of biotechnology.
During his more than four-decade-long artistic career, Dušan Šimánek (*1948) has become an unforgettable personality in Czech photography. He works on his open-themed collections both freely and in a focused manner. This gives his work an integrity that he also allows viewers to understand, in his new works, that he has over the long term developed a stance or view that could have easily been defined some decades prior. In a historical context, Šimánek has contributed to the domestic visual culture by highlighting the sovereign creative qualities of the photographic medium. His sensual sensitivity and his ability to accent images’ colorist and structural characteristics have happily expressed themselves in his work. His photographs, however, also show a social dimension; namely, through his choice of models from the field of the mundane “folk” aesthetic. This also applies to his new collection Herbarium in which he focuses on the phenomenon of natural imitation. As part of his basic “analytical” plan, he approaches the subject of artificial plants as if it were an autonomous creative problem of color and grid. His means of developing photos shows signs of a sentimental bias that would seem to correspond to the beautifying role of floral decorations. As a result, though, he leads the viewer to a feeling of uncertainty about the irreversible changes in the world around us.
5 October is the date on which the hero in this eponymous documentary film, the artist‘s brother Jan, has to undergo surgery with uncertain prospects. So, in this situation, he decides to go on a bicycle journey. During the film, we do not hear him speak and haphazard journal entries are the only thing that relays to us his internal thoughts. This makes the role of Martin Kollar’s camera even more important. It accompanies the traveler, observes situations, finds images that create impressions; all while never ceasing to respect the personal aspect of the brother’s voyage. The documentary, 5 October (2016), is an introverted road movie about a trip that must be taken when one wants to be by oneself.
The pieces in the collection, Field Trip, were created during the artist’s stay in Israel. In Kollar’s portrayal though, he does not share with us the complicated reality of that country. The works essentially lack any journalistic quality. Instead of that, they offer up a vision of a dystopic place that one passes through with a feeling of threat or endangerment and whose technologies in the interest of self-preservation have cast off any and all restraints. A person really does not want to believe that this spectral, sci-fi reality is just a “selection” of that which is already occurring.
Still Object Theater is a theatrical-exhibition format that makes use of the “magical” potential of stage presentation. It challenges exhibited artists to create scene situations in the form of configurations of static objects and leads viewers to observe them with intense concentration. This invitation to Still Object Theater from Prague’s Fotograf Gallery stems from the emotional kinship of theatrical presentation and photographic creation in atelier conditions.
The book offers a testimony on a unique agricultural phenomenon of the 1970s and the 1980s and includes period propaganda photos. They come from an archive of discovered slides that Zlín-based advert photographer Jan Regal took for the Slušovice agro co-op (JZD Agrokombinát Slušovice) between 1978-1990. Tomáš Pospěch has interpreted this work and made use of processes typical for agriculture: he removed the photographs from their original context, tended, replanted, grafted, aerated, and then harvested and composted them. The result is a playful book that is a peculiar documentary: as expressive as the artist himself.
Enjoy a guided tour of the exhibition with its curators Elisabeth Pichler and Lena von Geyso. Against the background of a constant demand for steady growth, innovation and originality, Re*creation addresses the double meaning of “re-creation” as “recovery” and “create anew”; reflecting on the relationship between production and leisure. On the one hand, pause, retreat, calm, and reflection resist production constraints – on the other hand, they are a prerequisite to develop something new.
Against the background of a constant demand for steady growth, innovation and originality, Re*creation addresses the double meaning of “re-creation” as “recovery” and “create anew”; reflecting on the relationship between production and leisure. On the one hand, pause, retreat, calm, and reflection resist production constraints – on the other hand, they are a prerequisite to develop something new.
The theme of the next festival edition is the boundary between work and free time. In 2018, the Fotograf Festival, titled as “Non-Work: Occupied by Leisure Time”, will present exhibitions, discussions and accompanying programmes using the medium of photography to deal with social issues related to work and free time. Like every year, the festival will focus on the specifics of photography and reproducible images as such, presenting the work of both foreign and local authors.
Is the idea of something so intimate and private as sleep compatible with terms like society and politics? What is the history of thinking about sleep? Why has sleep been mostly ignored in the social sciences throughout history? In what way is the biopolitical view of sleep specific and how has it evolved? How did the ethos shunning sleep as a waste of time and a vice come about? How did industrialization change sleep? How does the neo-liberal concept of power relate to the ever-growing medicalization of sleep disorders and the shortening of the time we sleep? What status does sleep have in our 24/7 society? What is the future of sleep?
In the case of the In the Shadow of the Lion exhibition, Jiří Skála sees his role as that of curator. During the guided tour, he clarifies where he sees differences between the work of the visual artist and that of curator. He explains the backstory to his interest in the issue of non-productive time. He also acquaints visitors with the method he used for the sorting and presentation of documents relating to the organization of free time; specifically, the declarations and by-laws of free time institutions, associations and movements. He speaks of how the image materials relate to the author’s essay which is, once again, an integral part of his exhibition.
In modern-day society, leisure time is characterized by massive nationalization and commercialization. At the end of the day, the standard observer is not able to distinguish between the terms “recreation” and “leisure time” as, in their eyes, both terms meld into one, and leisure time comes to mean the same thing as recreation. The exhibition In the Shadow of the Lion addresses the core of this confusion. It focuses on several historical traditions that have played a significant role in this situation, particularly on the way that the concept of leisure time and recreation is reflected in national institutions, corporations, and various organisations that fall back on the idea of civil society or participatory democracy.
Odpočinek v neklidu (Rest in Restless Time) is the title of a compilation of various texts put together by Nikola Ivanov. It is part of his thesis work. In the context of the artist’s work and his life experience, perhaps that title should have been followed by a question mark. The artist reflects on growing interest in the humanities, social sciences and the arts in the until-now-unchartered topic of sleep and its political nature in contemporary society.
Photographer Pavel Jasanský and curator Pavel Vančát will introduce to you in greater detail, and share with you the backstory to the creation and the period context of the photo collection, New Landscape, New Inhabitants (1985-1990), the Viewer video installation (1989), older pictures from the Most (1981-1982) collection and the extensive collection Signed Photographs. The latter is a work in which Pavel Jasanský summarizes his lifelong ties to his contemporaries, colleagues and friends.
During his long, illustrious career as a photographer, Pavel Jasanský (*1938) worked with many artists and musicians. As a uncategorizable loner, he worked in genres such as documentaries, portrait art and also radical, distinctive inter-media fusion. The focal point of his intimate, anniversary retrospective is the series, New Landscape, New Inhabitants (1985-90), which captures the apparent reality of dying totalitarianism. The latter is complemented by his pioneering installation, Viewer (1989), which combines large-format, repainted photographs and video-art statues. The exhibition closes out the long-term project, Signed Portraits, which summarizes Jasanský’s life-long ties to his impressive, extensive album with photos of friends and peers.
Ondřej Vinš’s installation, Pedestrian Thing, can – according to the artist – be understood as a “mechanical-chemical record”. However, in reality, this several-month-long experiment, whose name is borrowed from the eponymous collection of poems by Petr Kabeš, bears in itself the inescapable poetry of absurdity. Its resulting format is, from a creative perspective, both subtle and liberating. He unexpectedly paraphrases the finesse characteristic of photo documentation, without paradoxically, during the process of recording individual phases of movement in the landscape, his camera finding any sort of use.
The exhibition, We are still the same and you are always more, uncovers the structure of affective relationships between nature, technology and our physicality. Our predominant desire for symmetry is suppressed by multiple repetitions and becomes a performance force; an imitation of seemingly classically chosen techniques and a format that turn all actors into living exhibitions.
Veronika Bromová will present the exhibition Bromfiles — Family Manufacture and the artworks of Dagmar Bromová and Pavel Brom, who with their imaginative creations influenced the visual style of applied graphic design from the 1960s to the 1980s. They also had a strong influence on shaping the poetics of their daughter.
The theme of the body and corporeality has appeared in photography since the very beginning. But it does not include only the classic and much-repeated nude, already exhausted in its commercial and common academic forms. The body itself is the mortal frame of the human being and its physical existence, whose uniqueness and evanescence we are aware of although we often try to forget about it.
“The Bromfiles – Family Manufature” exhibit’s curator, Mariana Serranová, and photographer Veronika Bromová will present the works of Dagmar Bromová and Pavel Brom, who with their imaginative creations influenced the visual style of applied graphic design from the 1970s to the 1980s. They also had a strong influence on shaping the poetics of their daughter, Veronika Bromová. She was later a key personality in the field of Czech photography and new media.
The Broms were influenced by the visual style of Czech graphic design from the 1960s and 1970s. In addition to illustrations, they collaborated on accompanying graphic materials for theatrical stage design and for music publishers. Veronika Bromová was one of the key figures in the 1990s new media genre; namely, photographic post-production and the digitally-manipulated image. She made use of the technical options afforded by the end of the millennium, and did so in an innovative way, just like her parents in their day: they too achieved noteworthy results in their chosen medium of photomontage.
Fotograf issues an open call for professionals, amateurs, and students who are invited to submit their photo projects that will be published in a printed issue of the Fotograf magazine. The projects may be related to this year’s theme of the festival and magazine, “Non-work: Occupied by Leisure Time” – where that means any activity on the border between so-called free time and work. What is a leisure time? How does this socially constructed scheme affect our perception? Projects that are not related to the topic, but represent a distinctly defined project of an independent and non-commercial character will be accepted as well
By taking on the attribute of series story-telling, Jansa sets a trap (for himself?) in the form of unexpected continuity and internal consistency. Similar to this, there’s the emphasis on a (neo- or quasi-) mythological aspect of the written characters and their storylines. His allusion to the temple narthex with minimalist furniture that reminds one of store shelves, but which also breathes a rhythm of colored lights, intensifies an atmosphere that approximates a business-spiritual transaction, in which devilish demand accommodates a supply of skills that allow us to live through at least a small portion of life without a feeling of humiliation. But what if this is all just a clown-show. The series is a series only thanks to the transplanting of plants which, of course, have the gift of being able to take root in any conditions. Myth is an optional game whose rules can be changed as the moment requires. Skills are just crutches for all the legless and armless who cannot submit an alternative to force-based solutions to “social issues.” Movement in ambivalent escapism and untrustworthiness is, however, grounds for asking who exactly is Red Herring?
The raw-series, Club of Opportunities, has entered its schizophrenic phase. While hope springs in thin, wind-blown layers of sand in a parallel episode “April Showers Bring May Flowers” shown at Prague’s GAMU (The Gallery of the Academy of Performing Arts), at “My Name is Red Herring” root vegetables withdraw themselves deep down into the native underground, so that a vision of political goals and tactics can sprout from the gooey, blind darkness. Glimmers of hope therein are substituted with a promise of power; however, the condition for its fulfilment is of course acceptance of unscrupulous argumentative methods.
The publication, Pramen 2008 – 2016 / The Studio of Photography Catalogue follows the period of pedagogical work by Aleksandra Vajd and Hynek Alt at the Academy of Arts, Architecture & Design in Prague. It chronicles their work from 2008 to 2016 and on to the present. The publication’s basic strategy is reverse reviews of artistic and atelier archives and to provide new interpretations of unused, unfinished or perhaps only conceived, but not realized, projects, collections and student or workshop graduate ideas.
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.
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.
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.
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.