Fotograf Magazine

Tereza Kabůrková

Tereza Kabůrková and her guest Ondřej Maleček

22 April 2016 – 14 May 2016


Over the past few decades, exhibitions have increasingly started to consist of white gallery walls and only a few sparsely placed artworks. As if the significance of the work is so great that it needs a multitude of space and an area into which it can expand. The photographer Tereza Kabůrková and her invited guest, the painter Ondřej Maleček, proceeded in a similar vein at the Fotograf Gallery, where formal experiments with contemporary photography and art are carried out.

In two rooms, their floors gleaming like ice, visitors to the exhibition could see thinly dispersed photos or paintings hanging on the walls here and there. However, upon entering the third room, they were suddenly confronted with a wall filled with art, reminiscent of the displays in 19th century art salons. They could see several shots of the coniferous Bohemian Forest; in two cases, the artist turned the large-format photos by ninety degrees. The room’s side walls bore two of Maleček’s large paintings – Vodopád/Waterfall and Ptačí muž – Žebra / Birdman – Ribs. This was the climactic section of the exhibition. In the sparser section, Kabůrková placed her photo of clouds in one room, and, in the other, two framed landscapes, one still life, and ornamental photographic wallpaper; Maleček’s work was represented by a miniature painting of a flower/thistle against a gold background. The artist explained the way the gallery was filled bit by bit as a process during which the artworks of two creators gradually came together.

A ‘foul shade of ochre’, turning to gold beneath the lights, says Ondřej in an interview about the exhibition prepared for You Make Art. Tereza agrees, adding, ‘So that it’s not too beautiful and is covered with a light veil of ugliness.’ Ondřej talks about the colours he uses in his paintings, and the photographer explains why she exhibits grey and unmodified photos. More than a hundred years ago the Pictorialists destroyed photographic images. They degraded the quality of photos to make them more like painting. It is not a coincidence that Kabůrková wrote her bachelor’s thesis on the topic of Pictorialist landscapes.

The motivation that drives artists to create varies. Kabůrková sees painting as something ‘greater’ than photography and in her work strives to come closer to a medium she considers to be of higher value. For this reason, she invited Ondřej Maleček, to emphasise that her images are more than ‘just’ photographs. If I were to take this whimsical logic to the point of absurdity, then a carp placed next to a mole would look a little bit like a mole. Not to mention that this influence should work both ways. Ondřej Maleček’s paintings, when placed next to Tereza Kabůrková’s photos should look more like photographs.

Practically speaking, however, this is more a case of the meeting of two close personalities than the meeting of painting and photography. Both have long been depicting nature, looking for the lost connection between the world of humans and the living world, and both believe that an ‘image’, whether mental or materialised, has unsuspected strength. They are both artists of a very high quality, although their works are not yet fully appreciated.

Jan Freiberg