Profiles

Jiří Ptáček Let´s try to draw closer to Jiří Thýn´s art through three examples.

Example one. In one of his early photographs we can see a girl with her breasts exposed. She is holding a bunch of white flowers. The black-and-white photo is structured vertically the same as test strips which are used in darkrooms to determine how long to expose a photograph for. Jiří Thýn´s creative program is based on the awareness of how complex the relationship between reality and the depiction of reality is. Although he frequently makes or searches for conventional photographic images, he adds elements with an alienating effect to them. He believes that photography is close to other art media and this is also from where his interest in abstraction stems from. According to him abstraction in photography is specified more as a departure from narrative contents. He often refers to his series as studies in order to emphasize his interest in the visualisation of principles he is currently occupied with.

Example two. Two years ago Thýn found and exhibited a photograph of grazing horses. He intervened in the composition by cutting into the photo six times with a surgical knife. This photograph belonged to a larger series of photographs with „knife interpretation“. However, Thýn did not display the original photographs that he cut into but only their reproductions. The cuts also represent the above mentioned alienating element. The reproductions he makes later give us the impression that he wants to stick the image he had cut together again. He wants us to see the result as „sealed together“ – in other words as consistent as possible. I think that he does not aim at deconstructing the photograph but at reconstructing the inner tension of the photograph. On the one side there is a photograph with a visual interpretation of a past moment and on the other side there is the recipient or interpreter who lets the photograph speak to him but at the same time is aware of its limits. Jiří Thýn states that his elegant cuts are the result of an intuitive process while contemplating over the photographs.

Example three. One of Thýn´s recent works is a board with documentary photographs that underwent similar treatment as in the above mentioned example. This time he intervened in the photos using white correction tape and applying small plastic objects. The board is covered by a sheet of transparent glass with three columns of text written on it.
The informative value of the photographs is vague, but what keeps it the game is just knowing that this type of photographs usually have some informative value. In the text Thýn whirls around the importance of experience, memory and the word for understanding images. It is not easy to determine the genre of the text, it oscillates between a manifesto and a fragmented theoretical treatise or a non-epic poem. However, Thýn´s treatment of photographs is exactly the same – both analytical and emotional, fascinated by the impressiveness of the images which is so strong that it calls for the need of correction through visualisation of technical circumstances or through disturbing their semantic cohesion. Unlike others who have dealt with Thýn´s photographs, I believe that the furthest horizon of his creative activity is the need to deal with the appeal of images and with succumbing to images.

Jiří Ptáček

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