Fotograf Magazine

Filip and Matěj Smetana


September 3 – 26, 2014


The brothers Matěj and Filip Smetana are artists whose careers rarely overlap at joint exhibitions. Although it is possible to find a number of common points of reference in their work, such as their frequent use of formally striking spatial installations, or a more general emphasis on the “pure” aesthetics of form and geometry, there are as many differences as there are similarities. Matěj is more inclined to work across various media, approaching his subject conceptually, as well as working with video. Filip alternatively places greater emphasis on the autonomy of the object presented, closer to the Modernist tradition in the arts. At Fotograf Gallery, both artists present a mutual artistic synthesis, using the standard format of photolab 10×15 cm print as the basic construction material from which to build structures which take up entire gallery walls. As in vintage computer games featuring two-dimensional textures, so-called “sprites” were used to form the backdrop of primitive three-dimensional models. Here the microstructure and some details of architecture and greenery are employed as the building blocks for erecting complex macrostructures. By the simple repetition or combination of several elements, the monumental “facades” accentuate through hyperbole the compositional patterns of Modernist architecture, with its antipode of an eye-soothing green wall. Photography is stripped in this case of its value as a specific mimetic reference, becoming instead a unified construction element used for testing a set of principles by playing with a matrix.

Viktor Čech