Fotograf Magazine

Interview with Rudolf Sikora

Concept, Sign, and Photography in the Atmosphere of the 1970s

The cover of the present issue bears your autotype entitled Out of the City III / Z mesta von III (1970, autotype, paper, 700×500 mm, courtesy of the artist) taken one day after the eponymous action Out of the City, which took place in Zvolen, Slovakia, and its near vicinity. Your concepts in those days were literally permeated with the current issues of ecology, or in a broader sense, with environmental issues – can you be more specific about the action itself and the ideas behind it?

The Out of the City action took place on Christmas Eve 1970, as part of a larger project titled Gaudium et pax. Myself and other artists were invited to participate by Milan Adamčiak (note: artist and theorist Jiří Valoch rates the multi-media activities of Milan Adamčiak in the late 1960s as both graphic music and visual poetry). I made use of signs – firstly, arrows to intervene in the urban landscape, and later, together with others, we would take the direction they pointed to literally escape from the city into open countryside. Using a stencil and screen, I outlined nine arrows in red pigment on white snow – nine stations in total. I had this tremendous luck then, as fresh snow had just fallen, and its pure whiteness was heightened even more by the gray clouds of smog hanging over the city of Zvolen. The red pigment was a powerful visual intervention into the landscape, the contrast lending the arrows a greater urgency. The whole action was documented by a friend, amateur photographer Ladislav Paule (see Out of the City, documentation of an action by Ladislav Paule, 1970, nine photographs on paper, 300×400 mm, courtesy of the artist).

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