Fotograf Magazine

Jaroslav Beneš

Architectural still lifes

One cannot term Jaroslav Beneš (1946) a photographer of architecture, even though it is almost exclusively architecture that provides the subject matter for the realization of his photographic vision. In particular contemporary architecture, the setting of our contemporary life, the edifices of which are not only collective but also part of the artist’s personal everyday reality. And even more than this it is a challenge that Jaroslav Beneš must live up to, for better or worse. Most probably in ways both good and bad, as is the rule with his often psychologically polymorphous art. And yet it is a thing of wonder that Beneš’ images, so apparently harmonious in terms of both composition and lighting, are filled with internal drama and tension, and sometimes even a Baroque sense of chiaroscuro. Their wistful melancholy invariably contains a romantically motivated contradiction between the proposed ideal and actual reality. Jaroslav Beneš, however, creates a type of “architectural still-life” in the true sense of the word, both in Czech and other languages – zátiší, Stilleben, still-life, natura morta. In doing so, he isolates in a most original manner with a large-format camera a segment of architectural reality, and his composition transfigures the customary technoid reality of contemporary architecture to an altogether different, and doubtless subjectively motivated, context of a peculiar and uncommonly contemplative image.

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#9 Architecture


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