Fotograf Magazine

Funke’s Kolín 2003

Rhythm of Sex, an exhibition of Martin Mainer, was the first in a series of exhibitions held in the regional museum. Mainer used oil or acrylic marker pens to paint over pages taken from pornographic magazines, and subsequently had them photographed and printed. From a certain distance, the large format digital prints look like ornamental paintings, and only a closer look reveals certain details, which in my view still retained too much of the original base. It should be added that Mainer’s exhibition excited much debate.

One floor below in the same building, exhibitions were held of the work of Michaela Thelenová and Du‰an Skala. The former artist presented two cycles – a sensitive collection entitled Poems, composed of blown up computer commands, and the inventive series New Fashion, in which the various accessories and appliques, with titles such as I Am a Gambler, I Hate, etc., tell us shocking things that are usually not medialized. Dušan Skala’s series Untitled Works with video recordings, of which he then took photographs. These are strange, somewhat introverted images with a clear etiology, their meaning in some instances perhaps too open.

Malá galerie Na Hradbách featured the playful photographs of Jiří Surůvka, under the title Kitchen Games. Naďa Kováříková prepared an historical exhibition of advertisement photography of František Krátký, the most significant figure of commercial photography in Kolín at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, for the Arton bookstore. These were black and white contact copies made from the old glass negatives.

Jiří Křenek presented a wholesome collection of photographs with the symptomatic title Mobiles. Some images from this series were already presented the previous year at Czech Press Photo, where Křenek won the First Prize in the category Science and Environment.The figures in his photographs, pressing mobile telephones to their ears or sending text messages, may look out of place or even ludicrous, but Křenek’s documentary series in some way captures the contemporary lifestyle and changes in the contemporary society that we have witnessed in the last several years.

 

Tomáš Souček, a student of FAMU, presented in Kino 99 several photographs from his most extensive series to date, A Provisional Sphere of Activity. From relatively unattractive locations, which Souček visited for several months, he managed to extract a number of precious color images.

The Kolín theatre’s rehearsal room, curated by Martin Dostál, introduced a selection from the work of Jifií David (the photographs Silver People and Hands above Art) and of Jiří Černický (In). Jiří David’s projects are often a commentary on a certain system of the world’s functioning, frequently touching the borders of the aesthetic, but he is almost always able to take his audience by surprise, especially by the image from the series Silver People. It is only a pity that the author did not exhibit the series in its entirety. Jiří Černický installed one rather witty, new and probably intentionally repulsive photograph of a hand tattooed in the manner of a sausage on a plate; in the severe space of the rehearsal room the installation had a strong effect.

The Photography Festival has since the moment of its origin in 1993 gone through a marked evolution, but the basic concept has changed little. Alongside mature artists it successfully presents beginning or young authors, and apart from classical photography it features various experiments and interdisciplinary projects. Over the years, the festival has featured as curators of various exhibits a number of names, for instance the art historian Anna Fárová (author of the brilliant concept of the Jaromír Funke exhibition, remembered to this day), the critic and curator Martina Pachmanová or the photographer Jana Havelková. Funke’s Kolín is the only functioning photography festival taking place on the territory of the Czech Republic, and last year’s annual festival once again proved that such events are meaningful.

Andrea Šandová