Újezd 19, Praha 1 - Malá Strana

25. 4.–9. 6. 2013 THE BEST OF AKT/NUDE

© TARAS KUŠČYNSKYJ: Dana, 1972© TARAS KUŠČYNSKYJ: Dana, 1972
© TARAS KUŠČYNSKYJ: Venus, 1971© JAN SAUDEK: Slavic girl with her father, 1998
© JAN SAUDEK: Oh, the 1970s, 1984© JAN SAUDEK: Old dancer, 1979
© ROBERT VANO: Merry Christmas, Prague 2006© ROBERT VANO: Petra, Tereza, Zdenka, Czech Elle, 2000
© ROBERT VANO: Homage to Herb Ritts, Prague 1995© PAVEL BRUNCLÍK: From The Geometry of nudity, 2006–2007 (private collection); (dancers of the National Theatre ballet in Prague)
© PAVEL BRUNCLÍK: From The Geometry of nudity, 2006–2007 (dancers of the National Theatre ballet in Prague)© PAVEL BRUNCLÍK: From The Geometry of nudity, 2006–2007 (dancers of the National Theatre ballet in Prague)
© ANTONÍN TESAŘ: Latex Face 2007© ANTONÍN TESAŘ: Leda and the stan 2011
© ANTONÍN TESAŘ: Purple pig 2011 

Nude photography, as well as its creators whose work forms an important component of the world’s photographic treasures, have an irreplaceable value in the history of Czech photography. However, since the beginning of the last century, when every important international exhibition had to have nudes by the Czech artist Frantisek Drtikol, the genre has undergone a fundamental change: in nude photography the important aspects are not only beautiful curves of the body modelled with light, not even the object and its artistic transformation; but a feeling of life and ambitiously conceived sophisticated messages. To a certain extent, that includes Frantisek Drtikol, the first Czech modern photographer who, through nude photography, succeeded in expressing the changing lifestyle of his time. The photographs of the nude body were increasingly becoming a reaction to the reality of life – a reality full of unrealised desires, romantic dreams, aggression, anxieties and uncertainties. And obviously also of erotic fantasies.
The exhibition The Best of Nudes deliberately presents five completely different artistic approaches to photographing the human body, from Taras Kuscynsky, now regarded as a classical photographer to provocateur Jan Saudek, romantic Robert Vano, rational precisionist Pavel Brunclik and the decadent enfant terrible, Antonin Tesar. Each of them contributed individually to the changes in the genre, which is as old as art itself. Their individual art, regardless of their differences, carries the specific marks of Czech photography - the sense of lyricism and gentle irony, humour and absurdity.
TARAS KUSCYNSKYJ (1932 -1983) was a master of linking the female beauty and eroticism with a psychological portrait of a woman. During the communist times his photographs of nude bodies, taken in open nature, had the effect of apparition. They were the symbols of freedom. Their strong impact, especially on the younger generation, led to their use in publications (magazine illustrations, posters, calendars, record covers).
JAN SAUDEK (1935) is probably the most controversial personality of Czech photography. The genial creator of the “theatre of life” is still not sure whether he formed his own life according to his dreams which he staged and photographed or whether his photographs are a reflection or even the reality of the life he lives. His work reflects the exciting and shocking drama of human existence from birth to death. It’s both the human comedy and tragedy where passion plays the key role. Since 1977 he’s been colour-tinting his black and white photographs.
ROBERT VANO (1948) has created a unique portrait of homosexuality through his male nudes whom he infused with special emotional intimity, joy and playfulness. His experience in fashion and portrait photography and the old technique of platinotype he uses play a large part in the impact his photographs have.
PAVEL BRUNCLIK (1950) brought his legendary aspiration to perfection of form to the top with his exceptional set called The Geometry of Nudity. The perfect bodies of individuals and ambitiously arranged groups in dance poses and in movement are a celebration of beauty, shapes and human energy. His photographs are a monumental perceptual experience, a festive pictorial choir.
ANTONIN TESAR (1963) moves through his bizarre installations towards the sphere of ambivalence, hybridity and perversion of contemporary world. He flirts with the decadent imagery of love and death, touches on the subconscious forms of anxiety and insanity, refers to pop culture and the devaluation of traditional ethics and aesthetics and the mass adoration of sex. He rouses both understanding and disgust. He tints his photographs.

© Nikon CEE GmbH, odštěpný závod, 2017