Reports

Václav Kopecký exhibits and exhibition. An eponymous exhibition was held in the summer in the House of Art in České Budějovice; moreover, the viewers at Drdova Gallery only encounter the exhibition by means of various references: a thin catalogue with several reproductions, deinstalled photographs and exhibited china by Antonín Tomášek. Kopecký works with the history of a particular exhibition that not only has been but still is. He shows us the situation after the closing of the exhibition as well as right after the opening, dealing with photography on various levels at once. The title of the exhibition alludes to reproductions produced by nature; the exhibited china alludes to reproducible casts that represent both an original and a copy in a certain sense; and finally, the catalogue alludes to photography used to document an exhibition that is no more. When Václav described his intention to me it made me think of various empty galleries in the history of art that have been mediated to me through photographs and books; I thought of Yves Klein who exhibited emptiness in a Paris gallery in the late 1950s, of George Brecht and his presentation Three Chair Events at Martha Jackson Gallery in New York; perhaps because of the fact that the gallery window facing the street as depicted in a documentation photograph reminds me of the gallery of Lucie Drdová in some way. Obviously, the concrete realization of the original idea, which was strongly influenced by the given space as well as by the viewers, played an important role. It is the imperfection of the final realization, which is limited by real conditions, that can be interesting to us today. That is why an empty gallery is but one of the levels of the exhibition and definitely not the intended result. Rather than an ambitious gesture, it represents a deliberate effort to use the available means as thoroughly as possible.
Václav Kopecký studied photography at the Jan Evangelista Purkyně University in Ústí nad Labem (under Pavel Baňka) and at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague (under Aleksandra Vajd and Hynek Alt). He continuously approaches photography not only as a tool of reflection of reality but also as a physical object that fills up the space and changes our perspective. He analyses photography as a medium of memory related to a specific history and technology; in his exhibitions, he alludes to a closed world that follows its own rules. He processes his photographs by means of traditional methods as if trying to make the best of the nostalgia related to analogue photography. He considers the photographic medium as a way of perceiving the world to which he seeks various parallels, e.g.in the form of a found imprint, a record of light, a redirection of our view. He approaches the installation of the exhibition in a similar way, for instance by using a photosensitive emulsion to let the installation make its own imprint on the gallery walls.

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