Interview between the curator Martin Mazanec and Dominik Gajarský
Is it possible to understand the title of your exhibition Journey to the Beginning of Time as your reflection about technological visuality of the contemporary image of film and photography?
When talking about the title of the exhibition I ought to mention also how important the English translation of Zeman´s film is because the title “Journey to the Beginning of Time” sounds much more interesting and evokes the beginnings of cinematography or the first attempts to record an image where time was important. Not only when capturing an image or its processing but also during its consequent presentation. The contemporary image of film and photography has different technological forms and there are many paths that artists can follow – I personally concentrate on the contents and only after I choose the technology I want to work with.
This is the first time you have decided to work solely with analog technology – 16mm film and a hand-developed black and white photograph. This decision can be seen as media archaeology which often successfully and sometimes in a slightly jerky manner invades contemporary galleries.
This media archaeology is a strange phenomenon which makes me think about the picture itself. About its communicative function and about my ability to read pictures, to create them and why. I think it is not a contemporary question but a completely natural loop, in which the presentation of an image spanning from history to the present rotates endlessly. New technologies only appear but mechanical gadgets able to capture and show images stay.
I became concerned with analog technology through a topic dealing primarily with light and time. I felt a need to record this topic with the most appropriate process. Following the first attempts with an ideal video image I ceased to be interested in “perfection”. I could compare this feeling to the discovery that the illusionist David Copperfield uses post-production.
Is your examination of works of perfect workmanship, which you consequently shift within the framework of your own interpretations of cultural prototypes of selected art works, a part of your creative process?
As far as the perfect workmanship of prototypes is concerned, on which some of my work is based, I must admit that I do not only examine them but I also admire them. And as regards my own workmanship or handicraft skills these are from the beginning to the end connected with my friends who help me to complete my work.
Pictures grow old – how important is this for you?
It is important. A picture starts growing old the moment it is captured.
Are you quoting anyone? (laughter)
Yes, myself! (laughter)
The moment you quote scientific films by Jean Painlevé, photographs by Gjon Mili, Paul Outerbridge and others, do you automatically verify also their cultural or historical role apart from their workmanship and aesthetic function?
Yes, I do. My work always stems from existing works and each time I draw inspiration from a particular work of art I always try to create it again. I don´t like collages or re-edits, it is the same as in music – I prefer cover to remix. The cultural or historical functions of my prototypes change regardless of me, but what I am interested in is the extracting of motives, I like studying the connections between these pictures and their essence.
- The exhibition is called Journey into Primeval Times,00:00:12.240
- but The English translation Journey to the Beginning of Time00:00:17.081
- is more important, with respect to the00:00:29.935
- two exhibited objects in the gallery.00:00:38.573
- The first one is a minute long 16 mm film,00:00:44.052
- a remake of a documentary scene made by Jean Painlevé.00:00:50.299
- The documentary concerns with time or time illustration00:00:58.344
- on an example of a burning safety match.00:01:03.464
- The second part is a series of black and white photographs.00:01:09.124
- They are mostly experiments with multiple exposition.00:01:15.164
- The theme of the photographs refers to time or traveling in time,00:01:26.177
- lets say from present to past...00:01:40.742