Fotograf Magazine

Confronting History

Though the sense of being an old-timer had been gradually creeping up on me, the full force of this realization hit me in one fell swoop. Projects such as the exhibition Česká malba generace 80. let (Czech Painting of the 1980s Generation, held at the Wannieck Gallery, Brno, 2010) incriminate their participants according to the extent that they have changed their image. An inquiry into the decade of the emergence of my generation in the context of art history also opens the perspective of a most peculiar genre, that of reminiscence: “Perhaps the crucial difference in contrast to our professional history is that this other history tries to evaluate all, looking for ‘meaning’ in everything. And thus this history does not include all which it might, but rather merely what has most meaning to them” [Třeštík 1999].

Personal experience reveals the pitfalls of the construction of both public opinion and systematic historiography. It is better in this case to give preference to critical detachment rather than the re-iteration of long-received data and contexts. Alongside periodicals, the 1980s have been presented in a plethora of books and catalogues that immediately come to mind: Dílna 88 Ašsko (Workshop 88 Asch Region, 1988), Česká fotografie v exilu (Czech Photography in Exile, 1990), Česká a slovenská fotografie dnes (Czech and Slovak Photography Today, 1991), Československá fotografie v exilu 1939–1989 (Czechoslovak Photography in Exile 1939 – 1989, 1992), Příběh Galerie 4 (The Story of Gallery 4, 1995), Zakázané umění (Prohibited Art, 1995), Jindřich Štreit Zabavené fotografie (Jindřich Štreit: The Confiscated Photographs, 1999), Alternativní kultura (Alternative Culture, 2001), Retrospektiva Galerie 4 (Gallery 4 Retrospective, 2005), Fotogenie identity / Paměť české fotografie (Photogeny of Identity / The Memory of Czech Photography, 2006), Dějiny českého výtvarného umění 1958–2000 (The History of Czech Visual Art 1958 – 2000, 2007), Třetí strana zdi (The Third Side of the Wall, 2008), Tenkrát na Východě / Češi očima fotografů 1948–1989 (Once Upon a Time in the East / Czechs Through the Eyes of Photographers, 2009), Mimo zónu (Outside – Photographs 1970 – 1989, 2009), Plasy 1981 (2009), Česká fotografie 20. století (Czech Photography of the 20th Century, 2010), Česká fotografie 1938–2000 v recenzích, textech, dokumentech (Czech Photography 1938 – 2000, Reviews, Essays, Documents, 2011)…

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#18 80′