Fotograf Magazine

Vladimír Havlík

Peak Performance

5 May — 3 June, 2017


Vladimír Havlík’s exhibition in the Fotograf Gallery is one of the possible answers to the question of how to present performances in retrospective. He says his photographic records were originally meant to be as a record for the direct participants and a way to convey the event to those who could not see the performance in person. At the time when the earliest performances were created, Havlík glued some of his manually enlarged documentary photographs into albums or just put them in a box to show them to his friends at the kitchen table. When we look at the documentary photographs on the gallery walls today, they seem to be free of the original dependency on the performances, and we can relate to them. This also corresponds to the presentation itself – the large photographs in the current exhibition are far away from the home-made blow-ups from the 1980s. Yet, something from the original aesthetics of family albums can be found in the way the pictures are arranged on the walls: large, regularly positioned, horizontally hung photographs are accompanied with small, sometimes deliberately askew pictures glued to the wall that the author used instead of labels. Such a pretty exhibition, perhaps too much. Havlík’s humour – illustrated by the press release including a photograph of the author in front of the Peak Performance store with shop-windows appealing to customers with December discounts, standing in a weird position reminding us of a child who probably wants to pee – is tied up with aesthetics. The old performer, as curator Jiří Ptáček called the artist in his text, could be a bit naughtier.

Hana Buddeus