Fotograf Magazine

Martin Kochan, host Cyril Blažo

Podobizny, 14. 11. — 14. 12. 2012

Serious works of art are often born out of struggle, suffering, and pain. On the other hand, there are exhibitions which make it instantly obvious that the artist had great fun in creating the works on display. This is all the more so in the case of an artistic duo – the more, the merrier. Observing these two flaneurs hanging around in the shabby public space of a post-Communist city, a random passer-by surely would not guess that they are a student and his former mentor, loitering in overgrown nooks and around decrepit sculptures fallen into oblivion – the witnesses of past utopias and past transformations – discovering picturesque, bizarre and startling details, being astonished, fooling around, laughing, photographing. The joint exhibition of Martin Kochan and Cyril Blažo at Fotograf Gallery represents only a small sample of their shared artistic adventures. In contrast to the entertaining nature of the pictures themselves, their installation is non-spectacular, un-showy, intentionally stripped down. The photographs are printed in rather small format, and fastened to the wall unframed. In some of them, the absurdity of the chosen situation is accentuated by the figure of Cyril Blažo, who takes the pictures out of the province of documentary photography and into the realm of a sort of short site-specific performance. Blažo often uses his body movements to comment on the composition of public monuments and sculptures dating to the period before November 1989; elsewhere, he is seen seated in the midst of a campsite apparently abandoned by homeless people. But Blažo and Kochan’s laughter is not carefree. Their pointed banality and comical leer alternate with the squalor and alienation of the urban settings. Perhaps this shared laughter is in fact nothing but a defense against suffering, which lurks underneath the anguished grotesqueness of this exhibition.

Milan Mikuláštík