Fotograf Magazine

From a scrapbook. On the subversive documentaries of the 1980’s

In my mind I recall the 1980’s as being overheated, feverish. Almost no one believed the regime would fall, but all authentic creations and work, all truth was automatically perceived as being subversive, opposing, disruptive. For a year an unforgettable meeting in 1980 in Banská Bystrice has remained in my memory; one hosted by the courageous Tomáš Fassati. Štreit’s large blowup shot there gave the feeling of an apparition and it’s not surprising that they brought the artist into custody and later (gave him) a sentence with parole. After Josef Koudelka, Markéta Luskačová, Pavel Štech, Ivo Gil and others, a second wave of documentary film culminated; one that could only demand (or provoke) one thing: persecution. My recollection of the monumental installation in the abandoned monastery in Plasy in 1981 is indelible. It summarised the previous, cosy exhibitions initiated by Pavel Štech in the Drama Club (Činoherní klub). 18 photographers, all university students from FAMU in Prague but for a few exceptions, protested against eventual repression and had their names stricken from the lists of official projects (tenders). These matters are sufficiently-well known, but we must name the photographers: Jaroslav Bárta, Ivo Gil, Bohdan Holomíček, Daniela Horníčková, Bořivoj Hořínek, Vratislav Hůrka, Libuše Jarcovjáková, Ivan Lutterer, Jan Malý, Dušan Pálka, Miroslav Pokorný, Jiří Poláček, Zora Rampáková, Iren Stehli, Dušan Šimánek, Pavel Štecha, Jindřich Štreit and Pavel Vavroušek.

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Jaroslav Bárta, Slavnostní zahájení, 1985