Fotograf Magazine

Matěj Skalický

Sit by the Fire and Smoke

Photographer Matěj Skalický draws primarily on his visual intuition and natural sensibility. His theme is the world itself, in its purest form, particularly as it reveals itself in the photographer’s own natural environment – in this case, the landscape and nature, or in a forest or rural dwelling. Matěj Skalický takes photographs in the context of contemporary artistic discourse, within which young artists treat their works as a means of exploration, as a way of reflecting on and interpreting reality, to question, undermine and mock experienced visual codes, or to analyze their own media. And while many others seek to comment on or shift the meaning of that which is seen, Matěj simply exposes himself to experiencing beauty and records these experiences in an equally uncomplicated manner.

He does not use beauty as such as the basis for his photos, and they themselves are not particularly “beautiful”. His subjects from a forest environment or simple interiors come across as unforced, sometimes almost banal. Matěj does not employ excessive aestheticization, nor does his very way of capturing, processing, and editing, or even his installation method, which is also temperate. His handmade, enlarged, rather monotone images are simply mounted directly on the wall with nails, almost as if they are trying to break free from the tradition of carefully composed and effectively exhibited hanging paintings.

We may thus ask what is the meaning of these photographs, and this brings us back to the word “experience”. The basis for Skalický’s shots happens to consist of unintentional situations in space, ones that are more perceived and contemplated, and which touch his innermost human essence. The visual “punctum” (the sensitive and forcefully compelling part of an image) is in principle hardly transferable, but, in this case, the transferal somehow naturally functions. This is possible thanks to this photographer’s ability to let the image “flow over him”, to identify with it and stand behind it with no noticeable regard of the surrounding audience. It is specifically this type of the author’s thinking that introduces some kind of authenticity and truthfulness about things to the image – about things as they really are. It is as if his photos, with their temporal and situational non-specificity and quiet definiteness, do not even need an interpretation, any commentary, or even a title. They exist on their own – scenes frozen in time, from the perspective of a man who saw it all.

Lucia L. Fišerová