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2011 Guest Country : Czech&Slovakia
By Director Chull Kang

However Czech Republic and Slovak Republic are two independent countries since 1993 many years of Czechoslovakia with its common history, geopolitical and cultural issues are still present in collective memory on the both sides of present border. We are very close to each other and at the same time our natures differ in so many aspects. The issue of the former mutual platform of art could be also questioned in this way. If we focus on a field of photographic medium it is obvious that there have been basic approaches in photographic production but many external and internal factors caused the particular orientation of photographic art in Czech and Slovak context (for example deeper interest in documentary photography in Czech photography and more artistic and imaginative approach in Slovak photography). After the split of Czechoslovakia both Czech and Slovak photography entered a new period of independent existence however the bonds were not broken and they still exist in areas of collaborative exhibitions (such as this one) or in the educational projects.
This curatorial selection of authors and works is not aimed to be a representative and comprehensive illustration of the most recent and the most relevant works across the Czech and Slovak photographic scene. On the contrary it is very subtle and subjective insight into the specific sphere of the medium of photography which could be named as artistic photography in the sense of very intense accent on the aesthetical means. Strong visual quality of the photographic images in this selection is connected with something we could name timeless principle. This principle is universal and open; it has the ability to surpass the language and cultural barriers. Photographs can speak to anyone around the globe because they speak about essential and archetypal within us with the compelling multilayered capability of photographic language. The photographs of Katka Prackova (SK/GER) are incarnation of her thoughts about the possibilities and limits of the photographic medium. The fascination with blurs, frozen movements, details, contrast is only one layer of the image – the formal one. Symbols, allusions, tension between hidden and unveiled constitute the sense and intensity of meanings. Judita Csaderova (SK) mediates her world through imaginative and dreamy images, which are often staged and manipulated. Her subjective being - the woman, the dealing with life and its pleasures and pains is covered into the veil of fantasy and surreal atmosphere. The Photo-mandalas of Milan Fano Blatny (CZ) are spiritual meditations with the means of black and white photography. These images have the power to calm the mind of contemporary fast-moving and too busy human being. The ancient art of mandalas is here transformed with the glimpses of the cultural symbols arranged into the modernistic patterns however some of the photo-mandalas become abstract timeless structures.
Igor Malijevsky (CZ) is the poet, who is able to transform the poetry into dreamy images which are like the doors into the endless world of free interpretations. The author has the gift of depicting the delicate and disappearing beauty. He offers the signs and apparitions for those who are perceptive observers. Vaclav Jirasek (CZ) presents his unique art of portraiture. The stylized portraits show broad scale from the black and white mystical portraits which refer to the Pre-Raphaelite painting to the recent color photographs.The mysticism and hidden secrets together with the sense for equivocal staging are the powerful means of Jirasek’s photographic art. Miro Svolik (SK/CZ) is the representative of postmodern playful and joyful principles in photography. His staged photographs from the 1980’s are well-considered plays with uncomplicated subject matters but very properly invented visual language. Jan Pohribny (CZ) is the photographer and land artist at the same time. His images celebrate the mystical and archetypal nature and its power that is forgotten in our modern world of technologies. Stones play the important role in the sacred landscapes and on the ritual places and the scenery is composed by the magical means of light. Radek Cermak (CZ) depicts his own personal imaginative landscapes that he can enter and disappear. The pictorialistic visual play with the “slightly out of focus” or “shaky” image may have the same intention as the Photo-mandalas of Milan Fano Blatny – the longing for the quietness, slowing down, escape, meditation.

Anna Maximova (Art Critic)

Artist of Guest Country

Igor Malijevský (Czech)

Born in Prague in 1970 , graduated in theoretical physics and studied several years of philosophy at Charles University in Prague. Since 1995 , he has concentrated on photography and literature. He contributes to Czech and international periodicals and literary reviews and cooperates with publish-houses as an illustrator. Apart from his own photographic work, he is known as a poet and short story writer. He is internationally recognized , he has held numerous individual and group exhibitions in Czech and abroad. His work is represented by numerous collections in Europe and USA. He published several books of photography and poetry. He is exhibiting a work from a portfolio called "Signs".

Fate, Gelatine Silver Print (printed by artist, archival selenium toning), 45×45cm, 2009

Peter‘s Shadow, Gelatine Silver Print (printed by artist, archival selenium toning), 45×45cm, 2000

Underground, Gelatine Silver Print (printed by artist, archival selenium toning), 45×45cm, 2001

Jan Pohribný (Czech)

Born in Prague in 1961 , educated in Secondary school for Graphic Arts in Prague (line Applied Photography, 1976~1980 ), Film and TV Faculty of Accademy of Fine Arts in Prague (the Department of Artistic Photography, 1981 ~1986 ), 6 Months study program at University of Applied Arts in Helsinki (FIN, 1985 ~ 1986 ). Since 1986 he works as a free lance photographer-artist. On top of his artistic works he works predominantly in the field of design and illustration photography. He co-operates with a number of leading agencies, companies and magazines at home-country and abroad. Since 1990 he is a member of Professional Photographers Association and a member of Prague House of Photography, where he acted (1992–1997 ) as a lector as well as main coordinator at Summer Workshop Program of PHP. Since 2003 he is a meber of its executive board Since 1995 he is a founding member and president of Society for ÚněticianCulture Renovation. Since 1998 he works as part-time teacher at Silesian University, Institute of Creative Photography. He leads number of workshops home and abroad. Since 2000 he gives regularly the lectures at Polytechnic Art School in Imatra (FIN). In 2006 he was working as artist in residence in Etelä - Savo region in Finland. He has had 50 independent photographic exhibitions and participated in more than 80 group exhibitions in Czech republic and abroad. His works are part of numerous collections in Czech republic, USA, France and Switzerland. He was awarded various czech and european photography awards and published several photography books.

Withoutyou, Lambda print, 125×100cm, 2001

Heads, C-print, 120×60cm, 2005

Boy, Lambda print, 150×65cm, 2009


Judita Csáderová (Slovakia)

Born 1948 in Bratislava. Studied at the School of Applied Arts in Bratislava and at FAMU in Prague. Her work touches on a diversity of fields. She uses various forms of photographic expression as tools to create her own dreamlike, surreal world. Together with ´classical´ photographs, she uses photogram, montage and assemlage as well as digital manipulation. She fulfills the theory that photography is a combination of reality, fiction and fantasy. Aside from teaching photography, she devotes her time to photograph, as well as to organizational work. She was many years one of the organizers of the Month of Photography in Bratislava. Her works have been displayed in numerous books and exhibitions and are part of many collections.

Swimming nude, Gelatine Silver Print, 40×30cm, 1989

Nude from aside, Gelatine Silver Print, 30×40cm, 1980

Selfportrait with lens, Gelatine Silver Print, 30×40cm, 1974


Katka Pračková(Slovakia)

Born in 1977 in Handlová. Master in Strategic anagement (2002 ) and in Business and Marketing (2000 ). Self-taught photographer exposing her work internationally from 2003 . In her art she creates a special language, full of mystery and tension between polarities. She balances on the thin line between dark and light and what is seen and unseen. Her works are part of international private collections and her landscape portfolio 'Distant Proximity" was recently acquired by La Bibliothèque nationale de France. She is currently living and working between Germany and Slovakia.

Touched by Light, Gelatine Silver Print, 30×40cm, 2005

To the Light, Gelatine Silver Print, 30×40cm, 2005

Flying Upside Down, Gelatine Silver Print, 30×40cm, 2005


Milan Fano Blatný (Czech)

Born in 1972 , in Brno, where he still lives and works. Graduated photographer from the Silesian University. The renowned Czech photography artist of the younger generation. His most important work, portfolio "Photomandalas" is based on the strong tradition of well-known Eastern European photography Avantgarde, but completely contemporary. This portfolio of Photomandalas is inspired by mandalas – traditional sacred images of eastern cultures. He is working in the traditional techniques, with his unique approach, all the work is a handmade darkroom collage, not a computer manipulation. All the prints are selenium toned gelatin silver prints. He is internationally well recognized , received many awards. He has exhibited his work in numerous solo and group exhibitions in Europe, USA and Japan. In 2008 was held his exhibition "Photomandalas" in the prominent Philadelphia Museum of Art, USA. His work is represented in many private and public collections in Europe, USA and Japan (Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Arts).

Photomandala Ayuthaya, Selenium toned Gelatin Silver Print, 80×80cm, 2001

Photomandala Colonia, Selenium toned Gelatin Silver Print, 80×80cm, 2002

Photomandala Wolfsburg, Selenium toned Gelatin Silver Print, 80×80cm, 2001

Miro Švolí(kSlovakia)

Born in Zlate Moravce, in 1960 . For 4 years, he studied Applied Photography at the Secondary School of Applied Arts in Bratislava (graduated in 1979 ) and, thereafter, for 6 years, at the FAMU Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (degree in 1987 ). Since 1988 , he has been working as a freelance art photographer. Since 2009 , he has been working as the head of the Department of Photography and New Media at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design (VSVU) in Bratislava (Slovakia). In 1990 , he won the ICP award at the NYU. Young Photographer, Sixth Annual Infinity Awards, International Center of Photography, New York City. He lives in Prague, Czech Republic. Since 1984 , he has had 62 independent photographic exhibitions and participated in approximately 200 group exhibitions. He has exhibited his photographs in various European countries, several times in the USA. In 2005 , he published a book with black and white analogue photographs called The Way to the Centre. He likes to take bird's eye view pictures and usually creates photographs as collages and montages. In the last 3 years, he has been creating photographic montages also using a computer. His most recent digital photographs were published in 2010 in a catalogue called Big Woman Little Man.

And in Romania (on old stone bridges), Gelatine Silver Print, 58×48cm, 1986

And ship, Gelatine Silver Print, 58×48cm, 1986

After my death, I went to heaven, Gelatine Silver Print, 58×48cm, 1986


Radek Cermak (Czech)

Born in 1964 in Prague. He graduated from Czech Technical University, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering. He lives in Prague and works as programmer. Since 2004 he has sought to capture the landscape in an entirely new and unique way, using a multiple exposure technique. In 2006 he exhibited his 'Trees" for the first time in Prague. Since 2006 he held several individual and group exhibitions in Czech rep. Multiple repetitions of one motive on the same negative combined with the author’s poetry create a higher, more universal and spiritual reality. It is a similar principle to that of rituals, the sacred as much as the completely common ones. Just like a child only after having done the thousandth time. Repetition clears the unimportant and random and the substance is revealed. In the same way the multiply exposed sceneries of Radek Cermak speak with often a more compelling and urgent voice than their actual source. They speak about the essence of beauty and mystery, and their significance. Slowness, perseverance, attention and love. Four ways to understanding – not only of the magical sceneries of Radek Cermak.

Personal landscape No. 001, Handmade Gelatine Silver print, matt.
Made by author himself, 25×25cm, 2004

Personal landscape No. 003, Handmade Gelatine Silver print, matt.
Made by author himselft, 25×25cm, 2004

Personal landscape No. 086, Handmade Gelatine Silver print, matt.
Made by author himself, 25×25cm, 2005


Václav Jirásek (Czech)

Born in 1965 , Karviná. One of the founding members of the artistic group Bratrstvo'[Brotherhood](painting &photography&music, 1989 -1994 ), with whom he exhibited his photographic work anonymously. Since 1994 works mainly with photography. Educated in Academy of Fine Arts in Prague(The School of Painting, 1984 -1990 ), The Secondary School of Applied Art Brno(Specialization Applied Graphics, Dalibor Chatrny, 1980 -1984 ). He exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions in Czech and abroad. His work is a part of many collections in Europe and USA. Exhibited is a cross-section of his work from 1992 until today, from various series like Narrative – Mystique, The Infection, Industria.

Sleep with the fishes, to be printed on gloss cotton paper Hahnemühle
(such as FineArt Baryta high-gloss), 100×80cm, 1992

Infection (no.2), to be printed on gloss cotton paper Hahnemühle
(such as FineArt Baryta high-gloss), 145×120cm, 2002

Upsych 316a, to be printed on gloss cotton paper Hahnemühle
(such as FineArt Baryta high-gloss), 125×100cm, 2009