PAVEL MARIA SMEJKAL

FATESCAPES

24. 6. – 9. 8. 2015

Over the course of my photographic work I have become intrigued by famous photographs, those instantly recognisable images whose content is often linked to extreme life situations. These photographs have influenced generations of artists, who have repeatedly referred to them and commented on them through appropriation, citation, or other methods. Many of these images provoke a discussion about truth and reality. In Fatescapes (2009-2013), I combine the following approaches: I ask about the entity and essence of our bodies; I examine historical themes using the existing photographic record; I explore photography as a medium, interrogating its function of representation and the limits thereof; and I consider the aesthetics of the image itself. From historical documentary photographs, I remove (using Photoshop) the central motifs — such as the human form. I use images that have become part of our cultural heritage, that constitute the memory of nations or serve as symbols or tools of propaganda, and exemplify a specific approach to photography as a document of a historical moment. I explore their purpose and function and I ask about the future of this magic medium, as well as about the entire human existence. Being aware that photographs can sometimes be questioned, I return to these key images after they have been reinterpreted numerous times from various perspectives, and by manipulating their content, I explore their purpose, function, and future. What would happen, if the given event never took place? What is it that we are really doing when taking pictures, when the very next moment the record becomes questioned? At the same time I investigate the relationship between documentary photography and archetypal landscape; the search for solid ground in the turbulent world of human existence; the search for the eternal beyond the ephemerality of our bodies, and the fleetingness of events.

Pavel Maria Smejkal, DM, MA (*1957 Ostrava). Graduated from the Veterinary University, Kosice (1983) and the Institute of Creative Photography at Silesian University in Opava, 2009 (MA).. A chairman of PhotoArt Centrum. Works as a free lance photographer, curator and lecturer in Kosice, Slovakia. His work is in public and private collections in France, UK, USA and Hong Kong. www.pavelmaria.com