Eves69 and Merunka Don´t Defy the Forrest Mothers and Daughters  




Postmodernism with its slogan “Anything goes” has relativized many principles of artistic work, recognized on a practically universal scale. Among others also the idea that documentary and stage phography constitute two totally different poles and any arrangementon whatever is just inadmissible in view ol the authenticity and objectivity of the photographic document.

Although it is known that also authors of many famous photographs from the golden age of humanist photography had recourse to non-confessed stagings, it is only contemporary authors like Philip-Lorca diCorsia, Jeff Wall, Istvan Balogh, Elinor Carucci, Tina Barney and some others, who quite openly, in a way never seen before, mix reality and fiction to create works that at first sight look as direct, instant snapshots of an autentic reality, but they are in fact very carefully arranged compositions. Neither does Barbora Kukliková conceal in her new cycle (under a happy pun – City v cizím city, i.e. Feelings in the Foreign Town), realized with the pedagogical guidance of Assoc. Prof. Aleš Kuneš toward her B.A. degree at the Institute of Creative Photography in Silesian University in Opava, that she teeters on the interface between documentary and staged photography. In this work she follows the lives of the four foreigners – the Vietnamese Le Bat Dung, the Slovak Katarína Janigová, the Syrian Natali Zein and the Russian Alexander Sevrjukov – in Prague, and shows not only their authentic homes, work and hobbies, bul also endeavours symbolically to portray their their feelings, emotions, longings and dreams and to indicate in pictures their joy, nervousness, tension, peace or lonesomeness. The chiselled compositions of these photographs and the extraordinarily inventive application of colours whose psychological impact helps to visualize various emotions, speaks of the extentive artistic erudition of Barbora Kuklíková who also pursues, and with equal, experimental photography, photographic illustration tions of internet pages. In many of her photographs one striking colour predominates, often green, blue or red, so that they impress the viewer as monochromes, however, frequently dued tones appear and spectres or monsters, accentuating the sensed intimacy. A considerable role is likewise played by shadows and contrasts of light which also have a metaphorical role. Many a time, the protagonists as such are shown in detail only, or even as simple silhouettes and their characters, moods or hobbies are primarily revealed by the milieu in which they move, or objects that surround them. Gradually, Bára Kukliková became friendly with all the subjects photographed and penetrated into their inner world which she then tried to express in pictures. Her photographs, thoughtfully assigned into theme-, motif- and colour-rounded sequences of four pictures each, impress as photo compositions from episodes in supporting films which, in their summary, provide a multi-layered view of four young persons, living far from their homes and their families and show us some sort of a visualization of their dreams and their sensations. These are not typical sociological studies, for the author does not tell us much about the social, cultural or religious background of her subjects, about the reasons for their emigration, nor the relations and contacts they have established in Prague, although her work does point, in rather general terms, to the fact that today the destination of numerous migrants need not be the United States of America, Australia or Western Europe, but is also the Czech Republic, and thus the Czechs must learn to live in common with people from various parts of the world. Kuklikova concentrates, in the first place, on a psychological portraying of the personalities she photographs and simultaneously, through this subjective statement, she reveals to us this and that about her friends and also herself. And she does it marvelously well.

In the other part of the exhibition Barbora Kuklíková presents a part of her still unfinished cycle TEENage, coming into existence within the school assignment for Colour Documentary Photography. She pays attention to several girls finding themselves in an extremely complicated life period of puberty, in which do not only their physical appearances but also their inner worlds go through essential transformation. The exhibited cycle Juliet portrays a girl who is sometimes a child playing with a ball, and at other times she turns into a young woman who judges her appearance in front of the mirror with some kind of uncertainty, daydreams, and full of apprehension expects changes that will soon affect her life. Kuklíková, with a great deal of empathy and understanding, implies the girl‘s feelings and moods in her visually fine photographs, in which she brilliantly uses psychology of the influence of different colours and leaves no space for disturbing and unimportant things. Her cycle proves she does not content herself with once reached objectives of her work, not even after her previous cycle Feelings in the Foreign City has been unanimously accepted and successful in our country but also abroad.

Vladimír Birgus




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