Kalhous, Michal / Untitled
Untitled / fomaspeed variant photographic enlargement; 108 × 152 cm
purchased 2018 with the support of the Czech Ministry of Culture
A purely personal photograph in which Kalhous references the photographer Josef Sudek, offering a processual commentary and opening up deeper critical approaches. By photographing Sudek’s original photograph and showing a banal, undisguised reflection of his own camera (which formally disrupts the original work), he expresses his respect for Sudek, contrasting it with the motif of his own (deliberately expressed) lack of technical proficiency. However, this gesture can also be interpreted as an expression of Kalhous’s postmodern approach to photography and to art in general. It is a post-production quotation of a well-known artistic figure, or rather a well-known work, which is manipulated and used as the raw material for an additional process. The undisguised banality of the reflection, combined with the renowned and respected photograph, resonates with a conceptual approach. On the one hand it displays a lightness of touch, with elements of marginality brought to the core of the artist’s intention, yet on the other hand this shift can be viewed as a criticism of the way in which photographs are perceived as untouchable aesthetic artefacts – a perception which was still dominant on the Czech scene during the second half of the 20th century. Both these facets represent strong arguments for capturing the shifting perception of photography as a medium, and also the shifting perception of post-production, which first emerged during the 1980s as a subversive artistic strategy.