Between avant-garde and repression
Czech Photography 1948 - 1968
Following the classical avant-gardes in Paris around 1930, an exhibition of Czech Photography in the post-war period will now focus on another major chapter in the history of European photography. The centre of attention will be five Czech photographers from that period: Josef Sudek, Vilém Reichmann, Emila Medková, Jan Svoboda and Josef Koudelka.
Medková and Reichmann positioned themselves decisively in the surrealist tradition of the inter-war period when, on their forays through Prague and Brno, they uncovered a dream-like dimension behind everyday reality. Svoboda, however, took modern abstract-geometric still-lifes, while Sudek combined the different facets of Czech photography, be that in still-lifes composed as if by chance or in magically hovering views from the famous garden of the architect Otto Rothmayer. Finally, Koudelka’s photographs documenting the suppression of the Prague Spring visualize how the socio-political conditions of those years became inscribed in all his photographs, albeit indirectly. Despite these differences, surprising parallels also emerge enabling conclusions to be drawn not only about the specific features of Czech photography in the post-war period in Europe, but also about the outstanding artistic quality of the works on loan from the Moravian
Gallery (Moravská galerie), in Brno and the Museum of Decorative Arts, Praha (Uměleckoprůmyslové museum v Praze.