Fotograf Magazine

Martin Horák

Jiří - Apr 24 – May 23, 2015

Ten portraits of Marilyn Monroe, immaculately mounted in the pristine space of Fotograf Gallery. Displayed in varying formats, their uneven and rugged edges were in stark contrast with the antiseptic geometry of their frames. These looked entirely contemporary, revealing the artist’s ambitions to assert oneself in a gallery context – a fact that evidently has a longer history behind it. Moreover, one was faced with two different Marilyns looking down from the wall – one made up of the left and the other of the right side of the face of the pop icon, split down the middle. The exhibition held at Fotograf was titled Jiří, so that viewers with even the most rudimentary knowledge of the Czech art scene during the years of transformation will be immediately aware that this is precisely the way Jiří David presented his Skryté podoby / Hidden Image in the mid-1990s. These were exhibited at the Rudolfinum Gallery in Prague, and a billboard campaign featuring the motif of the double Marilyn reached as far as Olomouc, where Martin Horák was at that time studying art history and flirting with the idea of becoing an artist himself. Likely during one of his nocturnal student rambles, Horák cut out all of the Marilyn images from billboards around town, stripping them from city walls, rolling them up and hiding them under his bed. Now, twenty years later, he has brought them to light again, paying a considerable sum of money to have them framed and putting them on display. This is basically the narrative recounted in the accompanying text of the exhibition. Horák continues on in a sophisticated and up-to-date artistic effort in cultivating the the persona of a hopelessly out-of-his-time and perennially unrecognized “best artist in Olomouc”.

Josef Ledvina