“The means of photography that Alena Kotzmannová uses is derived much more from a dialogue between the photographer and viewer. The difference between the creator and the later consumer of the photographic image is, to a large degree, blurred in such a concept of photography, which is not uncommon in contemporary art. This in fact results from the very process of creating these pictures. Kotzmannová does not make a preconceived work – first she looks. Before she becomes the photographer that pushes the shutter-release button, she is a person who sees something that she decides to take a picture of. The appeal of her photography does not lie in a photojournalistic boast: I have been to places that you have not. No matter where her pictures come from, they feature everyday things lying in the backdrop of spectacular photogenic events. These are situations that can happen anywhere in the world. Kotzmannová does not show exclusive shots from exotic countries to her viewers, but instead provides the viewer with instructions how the viewer himself should proceed in viewing the world and what can be seen in it. Yes, the final photographic image and its aesthetic quality is also essential. But its meaning is, above all, the aforementioned strategy for viewing the world.”
Tomáš Pospiszyl, 2011, from the text You Cannot Step Twice into the Same Stream
Alena Kotzmannová’s art will bite into you and change you a bit. Perhaps it’s not so much about what you do with it in close contact, but what it does with you after. Even though her photography, video sequences and installations are not teeming with a dynamics of action, they usually put me into a strange, hypnotic state. They absorb me and I’m incapable of doing anything for the entire time I spend with them in one room; then they follow me like a shadow, a mood, a visual hangover. I can’t tell whether it’s a pleasant feeling — all I know is that someday I’ll come back for more.
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.