Czech Center New York
321 E 73rd Street, (646) 422-3399
Upper East Side
October 25, 2012 - January 15, 2013
Reception: Thursday, October 25, 6:30 - 8:30 PM
The exhibition introduces the works of photographer Emila Medková and sculptor Zbyněk Sekal, eminent figures of the Czech art scene during the fifties and sixties, and projection of experimental films by the U.S. filmmaker Bill Morrison.
By using segments of reality as abstract elements and thus shifting their meaning, Emila Medková has brought a new approach to Czech art photography. She photographed urban scenery, details of dilapidated apartment buildings, crumbling and defaced walls, and isolated shabby buildings. Her focus was on details torn from their original contexts, which had suddenly started to live their own lives. Medková didn’t manipulate her shots very much but rather worked with exact cropping. Her creative activity lied in seeing and exploring the inner phantoms in the ordinary, grey urban reality. By a selection within authentic reality she evoked images and stories which didn’t truly exist.
While being the author of paintings, collages and assemblages, Zbyněk Sekal’s core point of work, however, remained in sculpture. Similar to Medková, minimalism and the use of abstraction in Zbynek Sekal’s work hides the exceptional emotional force of inner expression. All his bronze objects form independent, complex organisms with complicated structure and while highly minimalized and abstracted, still keep a certain organic base. The author thus manages to balance on the edge of reality stylization and abstraction.
Despite the fact that Bill Morrison belongs to a recent generation of artists and his work generated from another time period as well as visual culture, a comparison of his experimental motion pictures with the Czech artists’ exhibited pieces and finding some liaisons is possible. Bill Morrison uses old 35mm film strips damaged by outside elements, stained and smeared by abstract smudges, which are covering and absorbing the filmed story.
Medková and Morrison thus approach shifts of external reality from opposite ends: the former is entwining a new story by abstraction while the latter is proceeding from abstract formations and letting the stories, deliberately embedded in them, dissolve.