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Michal Vojkuvka

- SuperSavings

4.3. - 12.4. 2015

Photographer Michal Vojkuvka (*1972) has devoted himself to photography since the 1980s. In his work he uses strictly only film material and he processes his photos with classic analog methods which attract him because of the endless possibilities. That is the reason why he on his third individual exhibition presents a series of photos created very specifically from a technological point of view - Vojkůvka chose a monumental format of silver bromide photos enlarged to 250 x 90 cm, which he decided to process on his own. Fascinating shots were created.

One of the photographs also gave the title to the whole exhibition - SuperSavings. An advertising slogan in the foreground of the picture that no longer lures anyone but carries its own new symbolism. The title could refer to the way most photographs are created today and offer only an overwhelming, tacky digital noise. Last year we celebrated an important anniversary - it has been 175 years since announcing the invention of photography, which changed our world. Since Daguerre's invention, which presented a unique irreplicable original of photographic recording on a silver plate, photography has undergone a great development. On one hand there were other discoveries and minor inventions, from glass panels through scroll films to Polaroid and with it related evolution of cameras, while on the other a new profession was created, a photographer. His role changed a lot through various times. Starting as a handy craftsman or an honored artist in the times of pictorialism, then being a brave documentarist in the 20th century and an anonymous creator today, when digital technology removed the difficulties of manual processing of photos and allowed for photography to become a consumerist product. It attacks us from all the media and in somewhat of an average look can be created by literally anyone. This type of product is of negligible value and we do not even feel it anymore.

Fortunately there is still a lot of artists, who tenaciously cling to classic analog methods and the process of negative - positive is sacred to them. Michal Vojkuvka is one of them. It would be good to say that Vojkuvka is professionally a cameraman and during his studies at FAMU he lived fully through the times, when digital camera was in the diapers and the students inserted into their cameras and projected the filmstrips. The way is short from a camcorder to a camera. It was at FAMU when Vojkuvka fell in love with photography. From all his inspirations we can name two unique photographers who influenced his work and this exhibition a lot. Their names are Josef Sudek and Josef Koudelka. It could be said that finding such two distinct authors is impossible. Sudek is a part of the classical Czech photography and is famous for his still life photos and a generation younger Josef Koudelka is famous for his pictures of the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968. However their work met in one spot - Mostecko. In the 50s Sudek captured the moment when the place changed due to the influence of coal mining with a panoramic device. Koudelka came to the same spot after his return from abroad, exactly 40 years after Sudek, to capture the remains of the landscape with a panoramic device. Both of these influences are projected into Vojkuvka's photos of peculiar landscapes, where human traces are apparent to a lower or higher extent and they continue to remain in his absence. Even the motif of still life appears as a detail of landscape or vegetation. An important spot is held by city landscapes, which we can see at this exhibition.

When a few years ago work led Vojkuvka to the USA, he not only packed his camera but also a panoramic device Linhof. Besides that he also carried some deeply buried photos of American cities, pictures he knew from the works of American hyperrealism painters created in between the 60s and the 80s. He carried these pictures of rusty cars, parked somewhere in the suburbs, gardens, little houses and street lights, who were drafted from amateur family photos, which Vojkuvka had with him as an unprocessed film. Still these latent pictures accompanied him on his flight above Atlantic. The moment he arrived at the spot he had to forget all of them so that he could capture them once more by pressing the shutter release.

It is not by accident that most of the photos were taken in Detroit, a city that supplied the world with a massive production of cars; a faded fame that is now reminded by abandoned factories, terminal halls, closed food booths and idle cars. However not even here are Vojkuvka's pictures completely without life - roads and bridges still stand, cars still go and above all is an inconspicuous cloud of destruction. On the contrary he added a few photos from Venice Beach, outskirts of Los Angeles, a place with palm trees and sea, to his set. But not even these pictures in tiniest bit resemble advertisement photos, in the centre of one them there is even a faded pillar with an unobtrusive tsunami warning sign. The exhibition ends with a picture of a harbour wharf, where you realize that it was a way disappearing in void.


Exhibition curator: Bořivoj Hořínek, photographer


Proceeds will be donated to AKORD Civic Association and Day Care Center for children, youth and people with mental disorder and multiple disabilities in Prague 2.  


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