Fotograf Magazine

Jiří Thýn

From the Personal to the Public and Back

The title of the present article is a paraphrase of a lecture delivered by Jiří Thýn when presenting his work in U Mloka Gallery in Olomouc in 2007. The title of his lecture, in turn, was a modified quote of the curator of the photography collections of the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague, the action artist Jan Mlčoch. From the Personal to the Public was the title of an interview with Jan Mlčoch published by the group Ládví, in which he reminisces about his last actionist performance in 1980, whereby he turned the De Appel Gdallery in Amsterdam into a public dormitory. It might be apt to cite the full passage describing the sea-change in thinking that made Mlčoch terminate his career as artist, which inspired the title of the interview: “At that point I lost interest in these I-me-mine things from the early seventies, I went in the opposite direction and was interested in the Salvation Army, or missionary activities. I read the letters of the Baroque-era missionaries from South America, and such things. That’s what I was into back then. To put it simply, departing from the personal approach and towards the public.” For the sake of completeness one should add that Jiří Thýn was member of Ládví and he was involved in both the interview and its subsequent editing.

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