Újezd 19, Praha 1 - Malá Strana


© Petra Skoupilová: Water Magic, 1986© Petra Skoupilová: V. + K. + E. Pollert (from the series Mothers and Daughters), 1986
© Petra Skoupilová: Expectations, 1991© Petra Skoupilová: Oh, Memories, 2003
© Petra Skoupilová: Chantal Poullain, 1993 © Petra Skoupilová: Protective Wings (from the series Mothers and Daughters), 2002
© Petra Skoupilová: Asahi girl and Housewife, 1976© Petra Skoupilová: K.+ M. Kapral (from the series Mothers and Daughters), 1984

Petra Skoupilová (1944) studied reproduction photography but her journey towards personal photography was more complicated. Through her work as a secretary in the music company Supraphon at the beginning of the 1970s she was accepted in the Asahi-Pentax photo club and soon she started photographing alternative fashion shows at Bertramka in Prague and later also portraits of musicians and actors. Petra Skoupilová always balanced her gradual foray into professional photography with personal work in which she focused on woman as a personality; photogenic attributes were secondary.

Since her early Kladno series of arranged self-portraits Skoupilová has held on to the theme of the “woman’s role” which she later also began exploring in other women. Her pivotal series, “Mothers and Daughters”, captures the intangible mood of women’s relationships within the family but mainly illustrates the timelessness and elusiveness of constellations based on common genes, desires and preoccupations, the heredity of beauty, intelligence and fantasy. In other personal pictures and series Skoupilová often drew on her professional fashion and portrait work but her models suddenly became personalities who stopped posing to be be more themselves in timeless moments.

Petra Skoupilová’s photographs are dedicated almost exclusively to women, their nature and beauty as seen by a sensitive and understanding female eye. In contrast to male photographers she choses a natural, non studio environment creating a quiet symbioses of female solidarity. Of key significance for Skoupilová was her exhibition at the Fotochema Gallery in 1985, prepared in collaboration with Anna Fárová. That exhibition definitely confirmed the photographer’s unique handwriting originating from a number of sources: the 19th century studio portrait, the geometrical dictionary of the avant-garde and the romantic arranged photography of the 1970s. Petra Skoupilová’s work is rare in its concept which always compensates poetry and romanticism with the purely female, non-pathetic sensitivity that guarantees her a unique position in Czech photography.

Curator Pavel Vančát

© Nikon CEE GmbH, odštěpný závod, 2017