World-renowned photographic works by the Czech avant-garde of the 1920s, contrasted with the work of the most original contemporary artists from the late 20th century – this was the exhibition Czech Fundamental, which opened at the Museo di Roma Trastevere in the summer of 2015, and which is now being presented in print form. The book’s 47 authors and 177 photographic reproductions offer a look at the history of 20th-century Czech art photography through the eyes of the project’s creators: Suzanne Pastor, first director and co-founder of the Prague House of Photography (today part of City Gallery Prague), and Gunther Dietrich, director of the Photo Edition gallery in Berlin. The nudes of František Drtikol, the compositions of Jaroslav Rössler and Jaromír Funke, the staged compositions of Václav Zykmund, and the poetic still-lifes of Josef Sudek are juxtaposed with the work of leading representatives of postwar surrealism, minimalism, informel, 1960s and ’70s pop art, and finally the most distinctive contemporary Czech and Slovak photographs from 1980 to 1999. These diverse periods are brought together by a fresh artistic freedom characterized by truth – human, philosophical, intellectual, aesthetic, universal truth; a truth that is the sum of beauty. It is a deep, pathological, often quite ordinary beauty, one that made Czech art photography famous throughout the world.
THE CZECH PHOTOGRAPHIC AVANT-GARDE OF THE 1920s – 1940s CONSTRUCTIVISM, CUBISM, SURREALISM, NEW OBJECTIVITY: Jaromír Funke, František Drtikol, Jaroslav Rössler, Eugen Wiškovský, Ladislav Emil Berka, Jan Lukas, Bohumil Šťastný, Alexandr Hackenschmied, Václav Zykmund, Miloš Koreček, Václav Chochola, Jan Lauschmann, Josef Sudek, Miroslav Hák
POST-WAR SURREALISM, MINIMALISM, INFORMEL, POP ART OF THE 1960s – 1970s: Běla Kolářová, Eva Fuka, Antonín Gribovský, Milota Havránková, Emila Medková, Vilém Reichmann, Jan Svoboda, Ladislav Postupa, Ludvík Souček, Jindřich Richter, Miroslav Tichý
CZECH AND SLOVAK PHOTOGRAPHY SINCE THE 1990s: Stanislav Tůma, Pavel Mára, Zdeněk Lhoták, Ivan Pinkava, Jaroslav Beneš, Miroslav Machotka, Josef Moucha, Aleš Kuneš, Suzanne Pastor, Jan Saudek, Eliška Bartek, Jiří Šigut, Helena Lukas, Gábina Fárová, Václav Jirásek, Pavel Baňka, Robert Silverio, Štěpán Grygar, Jolana Havelková, Miro Švolík, Peter Župník, Nadia Rovderová
Czech Photography of the 20th Century, published simultaneously in Czech and English versions, is the first book to present the main trends, figures, and works of Czech photography from the beginning to the end of the last century to such a large extent. Its 517 plates include not only the most important, well-known photographs and photomontages, but also works that have long been forgotten or are published for the first time. The book is arranged in seventeen chapters, supplemented with chronologies of the most important events in twentieth-century Czech photography and history.