Shaped reality. Between object and image
at Krokus Galéria / BRATISLAVA (Slovakia)
12.11.2014 – 16.1.2015

Krokus Gallery presents a group exhibition by artists from the Czech republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Germany entitled “Shaped reality. Between object and image”. In the centre of their interest lies the transformation of the world of objects into the shape of a photographic record which gains an autonomous aesthetic and semantic quality. All the exhibited artists are characterised by a conceptual approach, a high level of reflection on the history and processes of the medium of photography as well as by intermedia overlaps towards other disciplines such as sculpture, painting, object and collage.

The German artist Samuel Henne was presented in the Krokus Gallery for the first time in 2012 at the “It´s red and not moving” exhibition with a series of colour photographs entitled “Something Specific About Everything" (2010), where he recorded sculptural still lifes which he had personally put together. Henne's interest in reproducing a three-dimensional object using the medium of photography has long been a feature of his work, and remains so. In the current show we are presenting his series “Musée imaginaire" (2012) which is devoted to the relationship between photography and sculpture. The title is based on the much-discussed book by the French author André Malraux “Musée imaginaire de la sculpture mondiale" (1952-1954)”, a trilogy devoted to the pictorial history of world sculpture. Henne took photographs of art history publications on sculpture and monographs on famous sculptors such as Rodin or Brancusi against a black background. By individually folding the pages of the books, he created three-dimensional objects and using the principle of pictorial sampling, he fragmented and also made even more abstract the reproductions of sculptures from different cultures and historical periods, which had already been stripped of their original contexts.

In a similar way to Samuel Henne, the Hungarian artist Peter Puklus takes an interest in the relationship between photography and space. In his work, he likes to experiment and to test the boundaries between media, as we saw in his première in the Krokus Gallery in 2013 as part of the “Grey Zone” exhibition, where Puklus presented his installation “Statue of a Lefthanded Soldier". He is currently working on a cycle entitled “The Epic Love Story of a Warrior" which includes a set of works consisting of an abstract wooden object, photographic records of it and a light installation. By combining flat and three-dimensional media, he creates a three-dimensional collage where light and shade have an important function, together with the movement of the viewer in the room. Light and shade already played an important role in avant-garde photography, for example in the work of Lászlo Moholy-Nagy, André Kertész and Paul Strand. Puklus comes from the roots of modernist photography, even though he approaches the complexity and multi-layered nature of the photograph from the position of post-modern techniques which the American art theorist Douglas Crimp described as “hybridisation”: combining heterogeneous media, genres, objects and materials.

Viktor Kopasz, an artist of Slovak origin living in Prague, is presented for the first time in Krokus Gallery. He has been working with photography since the early 1990s; his work is characterised by an inventive approach to pictorial material and to his own archive. As well as individual photographic cycles, a fundamental part of Kopasz's work is the creation of photographic diaries/ albums combining image and text, manually or digitally coloured and collaged photography, a quick sketch and a well though-out concept. His open attitude to media enables him to cross over its boundaries towards installation. In this exhibition, we are presenting his latest cycle, “Absence” (2014) in which he creates abstracted models of human figures using manipulated digital photography. Kopasz combines realistically appearing elements with fictive ones, thus creating sorts of male and female prototypes, anonymous portraits without a true identity. He combines figurative motifs with geometrical elements, working with contrasts between shapes, colours and meaning. Even in his photographs from the “Deadlock” series (2013), he combines realistic photography with digital intervention. In this case, the object of his interest is not the human body, but nature.

The Jasanský – Polák duo of artists have been working together since the middle of the 1980s, and the Czech curator and publicist Pavel Vancát described them as the first truly post-modern photography artists in the Czech republic. In their series of black and white photographs entitled “Abstractions” (1995-1996) they depicted everyday objects such as slippers, towels or a potato, but by use of composition, perspective and a minimalist environment, they appeared to strip them of their original function and meaning. The results is not cold, polished minimalism, but playful curiosity and astonishment at the forms of reality combined with a touch of humour. Jasanský – Polák's more recent cycle entitled “Colour Photography” (2010) deals with the traditional art history genre of the still life. The artists made their own “inventory” of objects and environments, a sort of catalogue of possible compositions. The still lifes which appear timeless are thoroughly composed in terms of colour and narrative.

Curated by Gabriela Kisová

Foto Credits: Adam Sakový, Krokus Gallery 2014
Courtesy of the artists and Krokus Gallery