Opening Thursday, January 28th, from 5PM - 7PM
On view through Sunday, March 28th
50% Grey: Contemporary Czech Photography Reconsidered brings together the work of six contemporary Czech artists (two of whom work collaboratively), all of whom reflect on the very materials of photography and find poetic resonance in a lack of obviously-poetic subject matter. As the analog technology of photography fades away, these artists subversively employ a variety of photographic materials to investigate the potential for photographic veracity, and push the idea of framing and selection to counter any perceived objectivity the medium might have.
Instead of creating brightly colored, large, splashy digital works that dominate much of contemporary photography, they make quieter works, generally gelatin silver prints using traditional chemistry and film, a trademark that extends the rich black and white photographic tradition of their country. Although there is arguably an interconnectedness between artists working in the same city in a relatively small country, who know each other and were taught and influenced by some of the same mentors, it is not our intention to argue that these artists are primarily a product of their nationality. Rather, the exhibition is intended only partly to consider how the pallor of historical circumstance—in this case stereotypically “grey” post-communist society—might impact artistic production. More importantly, it may provoke a reconsideration of how a nationalist label affects an artist and an exhibition in a more general sense.
It is also an exploration of what the word “photography” brings to mind and what it means to “reconsider” it, and what parallels can be made between contemporary artists whose works deal with some of the most compelling questions artists can ask: Where is the edge between abstraction and representation? What is the relationship between time and space? Between two and three dimensions? What sorts of spaces in the imagination are opened up by paring down information and exposing the basics of photography? These, among other concerns, occupy these artists who deal with ideas of fragmentation, time, space, narration, and perception in different, and extremely compelling ways.
Recent Acquisitions of Czech Photography from The Baruch Foundation features work by Vaclav Chochola, František Drtikol, Josef Ehm, Jaromir Funke, Emila Medkova, Jaroslav Rossler, Jan Saudek, Adolf Schneeberger and Josef Sudek.