For a topic of “contemplation” there is an essential moment in the history of photography that brought the search for it through photographs into the spotlight. It was after the publication of Stieglitz’s famous cycle Equivalents: records of a visual game, perhaps of symbolic messages, unknown to us and communicated through the clouds in the sky above and their situational compositions. In this spiritual space, the artist seeks a deeper connection to our ephemeral lives and suggests that these insights into the nearby celestial space may bring a sense of harmony with the depth of the heavens and the universe, and perhaps even provide relief from the pettiness that life constantly forces on us.

In Central and Eastern Europe, the tradition of contemplative photography is particularly strong. There are conceptual and performance artists – those who seek a distinctive form of harmony between themselves and their chosen space through meditative activities connected with natural rhythms, using nature as a studio for their actions. In all of these approaches, time plays a central role. Quite often it is in the form of the ritual repetition of similar approaches, when time and never-ending shifts in the protagonist’s life rhythm constantly change the default situation, while, at the same time, there remains a noticeable common order, which dominates the resulting feeling one has from individual photos and entire series.

 

James Welling

Viktoria Binschtok

Zbigniew Dłubak

Jan Hudeček

Jan Svoboda

 Martin Vongrej

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