Aleksandra Vajd and Hynek Alt most often work as a duo and this includes running the Photography Atelier at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague. In recent years they worked on a thorough, albeit not uninspired, analysis of photography as a medium; the medium of cameras, and other cameras entering the process of creating a work.

They explored individual elements of this environment and tried to escape from original correlations. The photograph’s illusive nature provided them the basis for its underscoring and the exposure of apparition and deception – by relatively adventurous, still often mechanical, methods – as when they turned the gallery into a laboratory and made the photo equipment a means for transforming the weather, returning to the present a once ridiculed utopia of possibilities for controlling the natural climate by artificial means. They understand their exhibition as a parallel reality, where relationships between individual elements are newly associated, rearranged and shifted.

by Edith Jeřábková

Aleksandra Vajd & Hynek Alt

 

Aleksandra Vajd

Born 1971 in Maribor, Slovenia. Lives and works in Prague, Czech Republic and Ljubljana, Slovenia.

 

Hynek Alt

Born 1976 in Kutná Hora, Czech Republic. Lives and works in Prague, Czech Republic.

 

 

They both hold BA and MA in Photography from FAMU in Prague. Aleksandra holds as well a degree from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Ljubljana from 1997.

From 2004 to 2006 they were both recipients of the Fulbright Scholarship to study photography at SUNY, New Paltz, NY, where Hynek graduated the MFA program in 2006.

Their work has appeared in numerous exhibitions in Europe (Futura and Josef Sudek Atelier in Prague, Modern Gallery, City Museum and City Gallery in Ljubljana) and the United States (Bard College and Samuel Dorsky Museum in New Paltz, the Czech Center in NYC, Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College). They have received numerous grants and awards, among them the 2005 First Prize of the Frame005 Award, Brno, Czech Republic, in 2006 nomination for the Deutsche Börse Photographic Award, London, Great Britain, and were Finalists for the 2006 OHO Group Award, Ljubljana, Slovenia. In 2007 they received honorable mention at the Aperture, New York, USA.

Since 2008 they are head of studio of photography at Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague.

 

Awards and Stipends

2011 Residency, El centro de la Imagen, Mexico City, MX

2010 Nomination Deutsche Börse Photographic Award, London, UK

2010 Atelier MK Slovinsko, London, UK

2009 Finalists, Henkel Art Award, MUMOK, Wien, AT

2007 Honorable mention /Aperture Prize, New York City, USA

2006 Nomination Deutsche Börse Photographic Award, London, UK

2006 Finalists, OHO Group Award, Slovenia

2005 1st prize, Frame005 Award, Brno, CZ

2005 Finalists, EgoArt Prize, Slovakia

2004 Fubright Schollarship, U.S.A.

2001 First Prize at the Portfolio Review Award, Month of Photography

 

Solo Exhibitions (selected)

2016

Solo show of Aleksandra Vajd, curated by Laura Amann, Drdova Gallery, Prague (upcoming)

Solo show of Aleksandra Vajd, curated by Christina Gigliotti, Ferdinand Baumann gallery, Prague (upcoming)

Second Half (1st Season), Galerija Fiducia, Ostrava, CZ

Flowers Never Bend With The Rainfall, artistic intervention into the retrospective exhibition of Ivan Dvoršak at UGM, Maribor (AV)

2015

Vila Pirkmajer na Vrtači (architect Josip Costaperaria), Ljubljana 

2014

Systems' Decomposition, Drdova Gallery, Prague (HA)

2013

Menu, Drdova Gallery, Prague (AV)

Blind Spot, House of Art, České Budějovice, CZ

2012

When I Will See You Again, Škuc Gallery, Ljubljana, SLO

Not Ready! curated by Jiří Ptáček, TIC Gallery, Brno, CZ

The Place from Where You Think, curated by Edith Jeřábková, Fotograf Gallery, Prague

2011

You Can't Change The Weather, curated by Markéta Vinglerová, etc. gallery, Prague

How the Other Half Lives, curated by Pavel Vančát, Jelení Gallery, Prague

2010

Bright Eyes Burning Like Fire, m.odla, Prague

Díra v dlani / Hole in the Palm, curated by Michal Pěchouček, 35m2 gallery, Prague

2009

Dál nic není / Nothing Follows, Entrance Gallery, Prague

Media Specific, curated by Jiří Ptáček, 207 gallery, Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design, Prague

2007

Photographer, Galerie 35, Berlín, DE (HA)

Fotograf, Josefa Sudka Atelier, Prague, CZ (HA)

manwomanunifinished, DVD projection, Krakow Photo Festival, PL (catalogue)

manwomanunfinished, DVD projection, Likovni salon Celje, SL

manwomanunfinished, F/Stop Photo Festival, Leipzig, DE (catalogue)

2006

untitled 2003, Atelier Josefa Sudka, Prague, CZ (AV)

Book: manwomanunfinished, Kibla, Maribor, SLO

Book: manwomanunfinished, Galerija Fotografija, Ljubljana, SLO

Exposed Appearance, Public presentation at CEC ArtsLink, New York City, USA

The Documentation Project, At 932 2nd Avenue, New York City, USA

2005

Exposed, Vitrínka P. A. S., Prague

You Look Like I Look, Czech Center, New York, USA

2004

untitled 2003, Modern Gallery in Ljubljana, SLO (artists´book and catalogue) (AV)

Various pictures, Gallery Loža, Koper, SLO (artists´book and catalogue) (AV)

2002

Puls, Month of Photography, Bratislava, SK (HA)

2001

The Edge, Malá výstavní síň, Liberec, CZ (HA)

Crumbs upon the Sheet, Second Kiss, Umetnostna galerija Maribor, Razstavni salon Rotovz, Maribor, SLO  (AV)

Second Kiss, Photo gallery, Sarajevo, BA (AV)

Zona, Month of Photography, Bratislava, SK (AV)

2000

Second Kiss, Minus seven and minus three and a half, SloFine Arts, Manifesta 3, Moderna galerija, Ljubljana, SLO (AV)

Family Album, Obala Art Centar, Sarajevo, BA (AV)

Crumbs upon the Sheet, Galerija Avla NLB, Ljubljana, SLO (AV)

 

 

Group Exhibitions (selected)

2016

The Independent Research of Subjectivity, curated by Pavlína Morganová, 4+4 Days in Motion, 21st International Festival of Contemporary Art Prague (AV)

2015

Manwomanunfinished, Central Europe - Japan Contemporary Art Exchange Kyoto, Zuiun-an- Art Project Space, Kyoto, Japan

Objectonomy, curated by Sally Haftel, Meetfactory, Prague

Still Life Recurring, with Joe Morgan, Lisa Helder, Nathan Cahill, Néstor Guttiérez, Amu gallery, Prague

Setkávání / Begegnung(en), Austrian, Cultural Forum, Prague

You Can´t Change the Weather, Europe Europe, curated by Gunnar B. Kvaran, Ulrich Obrist, Astrup Fearnley Museet, Oslo, Norway

2014

Vienna Fair, The New Contemporary ( solo presentation), Vienna, Austria

7th New Zlin Salon, Regional Gallery of Fine Arts in Zlin, CZ

Hin Mah Too Yah Lat Kekt, Gamu gallery, Prague

Ready or not, here I come, Fait gallery, Brno, CZ

Things, curated by Michal Novotný, Design Cloud's Gallery, Chicago, USA

Explain Me Not, curated by Edith Jeřábková & Mariana Serranová, SVIT / Autocenter Berlin, DE (AV)

Graphic design, curated by Michal Novotný, Futura gallery, Prague

Pierre Huyghe, curated by Jan Kratochvil, Drdova Gallery, Prague

About the Chair, 9th International Biennial of Photography and Visual Arts, Liege, Belgium

2013

Intimate interactions, curated by Ladislav Kesner, City gallery Ostrava, CZ

The Beginning of the Century, curated by Pavlína Morganová, House of Arts in Ostrava, Ostrava, CZ

Prague Biennale Photo 3, curated by Pavel Vančát, the functionalist railway station Žižkov, Prague

The Intimate Circle in Contemporary Czech Photography, curated by Vladimít Birgus,City Gallery Prague

Measures of Saving the World_Part 1, curated by Margarethe Makovec & Anton Lederer, < rotor > center for contemporary art, Graz, Austria

2012

The Islands of Resistance. Between the First and Second Modernity 1985-2012, curated by Jiří Ševčík, Edith Jeřábková and Jana Ševčíková, National Gallery in Prague at the Veletržní Palace, Prague

The Beginning of the Century, curated by Pavlína Morganová, Pilsen Regional Museum, Pilsen, CZ

Nova F, curated by Vasja Nagy, Galerie Stolp, EPK, Maribor, SLO

2011

Uchronie, curated by Le Bureau, Klatovy/Klenová Gallery, CZ

Inter-view 2, Nitra gallery, Nitra, SK

The Object of the Spectacle, hosté výstavy Jasminy Cibic, Škuc, Ljubljana, SLO

Oblikovanje republike, Muzej za arhitekturo in oblikovanje, Ljubljana, SLO

Fotoobjekti, kurátor: Jan Babnik, Galerija Simulaker, Novo mesto, SLO

Prague Biennale 5, curated by Vjera Borozan, Mariana Serannová, Microna, Prague

Mutating Medium – Photography in Czech Art 1990-2010, Galerie Rudolfinum, Prague

In optima forma, Galerija Emily Filly, Usti nad Labem, CZ

Fundamentals & sediments, curated by Petr Vaňous, City Gallery Prague

Cinetactics – Residents IV, MeetFactory Gallery, Prague

2010

Ego / Portrait x Photography, Langhans Gallery, Prague

Cinetactics – Residents IV, MeetFactory Gallery, Prague

Artyčok.tv – Art Fair, MeetFactory Gallery, Prague

Spotlight on Central Europe, Paris Photo 2010, Carrousel du Louvre, Paris, FR

One Day You Will Loose It All, 4+4 Days in Motion, 15th Performing Arts Fesival, Prague

2009

After Velvet, City Gallery Prague

Finalists of the Henkel Art Award, MUMOK, Wien, AT

Not a Photograph, Obalne galerije Piran, SLO

2007

Plus, Museum Wiesbaden, Wiesbaden, DE (AV)

Paperworks, City Museum, Ljubljana, SLO

Neexistuju, když mě nevidíš, Galerie Futura Gallery, Prague

Photographic Biennial Dunaujvaros, Institute of Contemporary Art, Dunaujvaros, Hungary

Relative closeness, Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, USA (AV)

F-Stop Photo Festival, Leipzig, DE

I Don’t Wanna Talk, Czech Centre, Moscau, RU

Intercity: Berlin - Prague, KMZA, Berlín, DE

Contemporary Slovene Photography, Month of Photography, Bratislava, SK

2006

Not quite/not right, Histories, Bodies and Concepts in Contemporary Photography, Galerie Božidar Jakac, SLO

Finalists of the OHO Group Award, Gallery and Center P74, Ljubljana, SLO

Check-In-Europe, Reflecting Identities in Contemporary Art, European Patent Office, Munich, DE

MFA Thesis Show, Samuel Dorsky Museum of Arts, New York, USA

I Image, Galeria Nowa Przestrzen, Lodž Photographic Festival, PL

Intimacy, City Gallery Piran, SLO

1:1 The Interpersonal in the Contemporary Art, Gallery PM, HDLU, Zagreb, HR

2005

Prizor-Privlacnost-Prag, Galerija Kresija, Ljubljana, SLO

Czech Photography of the 20th centrury, City Gallery Prague (HA)

EuroPART, Aktuelle Kunst aus Europa, Billboard Project, AT

Intercity: Berlin - Prague, Mánes, Prague

2LIVE, Gallery of Fine Arts Koroska, Slovenj Gradec, SLO

I Image, Dorothya Gallery, Budapest, HU

EgoArt Prize: Finalists 2005, NoD Roxy, Prague

This is not an Archive, Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, USA

2004

28th Annual ev+a, Limercik City Gallery of Art, Limerick, IR (AV)

Unfinished, quartier 21/Piroschka, MuseumsQuartier Wien, AT

2003

The Photographic Eye, Contemporary Photography from Central Europe, FotoFest Headquarters, Houston, Texas, USA (AV)

Osebno-Izrazno-Dokumentarno, Moderna galerija, Ljubljana, SLO

Balkan Konzulat - Sarajevo, Graz, AT (AV)

InOut, Festival of Digital Image, Prague (HA)

By Tevž Logar (text of the exhibition When Will I See You Again in Škuc Gllery, Ljubljana)

Transforming or rearticulating the media of art is a natural development of artistic expression, which always directly refers to the spirit of the times: specific geo-political, social and economic factors. This is directly connected to how different mechanisms of the art system canonise and affirm art media. Photography is no exception, as it sought to join the art system from the first beginnings in the first half of the nineteenth century to the second half of the twentieth, attaining a status equal to that of the classic media of sculpture and painting. But just when photography began to enter visual arts more resolutely via conceptual practices, a question about the possibilities, limits and existence of the medium began to emerge. This questioning of the medium provided some sort of starting point for preparing an exhibition of works by Aleksandra Vajd and Hynek Alt, whose approach to photography very directly and innovatively moves beyond traditional media categorisation. The exhibition When Will I See You Again in Škuc Gallery seeks to present different levels of the perception and development of photography, while revealing layers of content which are the result of over ten years of collaboration.

Over a decade before George Bernard Shaw became engaged with photography, he wrote in his novel entitled Unsocial Socialist (1883): “Photography is not an art in the sense in which I understand the term. It is a process.” This does not refer to the contemporary understanding of process in art in the sense of art practices as contemporary laboratories in which various experiments and research take place, but particularly to becoming aware of the anchor points that photography as a medium can have. In Shaw’s case, as we later discover, it is a question of highlighting the possibility of ‘the social’ in the context of photography; however, perhaps more crucial is to recognise the potential of photography, particularly in terms of the relationship between the created photographic image and its content “anchor points". This also provides the key to reading the exhibition When Will I See You Again in Škuc Gallery: it seems that the photographs of Aleksandra Vajd and Hynek Alto are constituted in the relationship to their “anchor points”, which dictate their format. Therefore, in the context of their work, the viewer constantly sees the traditional photographic image transformed into a moving picture or object, or even a relationship in space, which seem like a study of sculpture. These unusual transitions are constantly being defined, while the content “anchor point” linked to individual projects that question authorship, intimacy, social and sexual identity or art references are constantly thematised. By questioning the “photographic image as something final”, the authors directly address the viewer’s experience or lack of it, and seek to reveal processes which are usually hidden behind traditional photographic images, framed and hung on a wall. The existence and non-existence of a photographic image has become a model for the work of Aleksandra Vajd and Hynek Alt, which continuously makes the viewer doubt what photography is, offering the possibility for further contemplation of the subject, both by the artists and the viewers.

Photography as understood by Aleksandra Vajd and Hynek Alt never ceases to challenge, revealing a restlessness and conflict between the final image and the process of its creation. Therefore, it seems that we not only see the photographic (non)images, but also hear, read and perceive them with all the senses. The exhibition does not seek to present a linear narrative via individual photographic projects, but attempts to show the close connection between the shifts in content and form, “anchor points” revealing the artists’ relationship to the medium of photography in different periods. Walking through When Will I See You Again seems like an endless dialogue: between the artists, between man and woman, between the art work and the viewer, between different expressive media, which is connected with an intimate story being slowly revealed, layer after layer, but is never concluded.

 

 

Autor: Hana Buddeus

Aleksandra Vajd a Hynek Alt většinou pracují a vystavují společně, přičemž umělecké dvojité (podvojné) identity přímo využívají i v některých projektech. Fotografie jim slouží k přehodnocování vizuálního vnímání světa i fotografie samotné. Na problematičnost percepce poukazují většinou prostřednictvím výstav, instalovaných s důrazem na celek a s ohledem na konkrétní prostor. To, co je na fotografii zobrazeno, tak je (znovu) obohaceno o třetí dimenzi.

 

Ať už se konkrétně zabývají čímkoli, většina projektů něco vypovídá i o fotografii a některé z nich jsou otázce specifické mediality fotografie věnovány zcela. Děje se tak pomocí nejrůznějších prostředků, ať už fotografováním vyfotografovaného (Two Sides of One Story, 2009; Exposed, 2005), odkrýváním skutečné povahy věcí, skryté za obrazem (Nightwatch, 2006; You Can´t Change the Weather, 2011), zkoumáním ukotvenosti fotografie v textu (Snapshots 2009), manipulací skutečnosti pomocí fotografického zobrazení v životní velikosti (Lifesize, 2009), případně jeho umístěním do negalerijního prostoru (Door No.1, 2008). Jakousi apoteózou fotografie (kresby světlem) a zároveň její radikální kritikou je video s fotoaparátem zastaveným v procesu fotografování, vydávajícím a přijímajícím zároveň, agresivně oslňujícím a přitom zaznamenávajícím okolí (Lighthouse, 2009).

 

Relativizací polarity autora a jeho objektu, muže voyeura a ženy jako objektu jeho pohledu, ale částečně i fotografa a diváka se zabývá dlouhodobý a zatím neukončený projekt Man Woman Unfinished (od 2001), založený na konceptu vzájemného portrétování. Oba autoři zaujímají střídavě roli fotografovaného a roli fotografa, pózují před fotoaparátem nebo zachycují neopakovatelné momentky. Výsledkem je množství portrétů muže a ženy, kteří spolu vedou nekonečnou sérii rozhovorů, v nichž se nemluví. Wittgenstein napsal, že o čem nelze mluvit, o tom se musí mlčet. A Baudrillard k tomu dodává: Ale o čem nelze mluvit, o tom se může mlčet prostřednictvím (fotografického) obrazu. Protože se dvojice fotografií kombinují pokaždé jinak, jsou témata rozhovorů určována náhodně a proměňují se v čase, stejně jako se v průběhu času mění podoba obou aktérů. Identitě jednotlivce v rámci dvojice a možnostem dvojího pohledu se ostatně věnují i další projekty (No Audible Dialogue, 2006; My left hand, 2006; Disguise 2006).

 

Přemýšlení o odlišnostech skutečného, viděného a fotografovaného vyústilo m. j. ve výstavu Díra v dlani (2010). V sérii fotografií vytvořených pro tuto příležitost se realita fotografie potkává s viděnou skutečností, která se ukazuje jako pouhá iluze. Volba úhlu pohledu či vzdálenost fotoaparátu od fotografovaného předmětu přispívají k vytvoření fiktivního světa, v němž vidíme skutečnost jinak. Pohled zachycený na fotografii odpovídá viděné iluzi a současně se neodchyluje od reálné situace. Způsob, jakým je tato situace vyfotografována (vykonstruována) totiž přispívá k tomu, aby naše oko ulpělo na iluzivním obraze, a teprve ve druhém plánu začalo odhalovat jeho reálný základ. V takovém případě fotografický obraz neslouží k přiblížení skutečnosti, ale naopak od ní udržuje odstup. Nejen v tomto projektu můžeme vysledovat úzkou návaznost na postmoderní reflexi fotografie, a to včetně teoretických textů, např. již citovaného Jeana Baudrillarda, který se vztahu optické iluze a fotografie v jednom svém textu přímo věnuje. Iluzivní obrázky si podle něj stejně jako fotografie uchovávají něco z magické povahy obrazu.

 

V tiskové zprávě k výstavě The place from where you think (2012), v níž umělci zavedli diváka do temných jeskyní, aby mu dali spatřit světlo světa, Edith Jeřábková připomíná Platóna. „Co by podle tebe řekl, kdyby mu někdo tvrdil, že tehdy viděl pouze přeludy? Nemyslíš, že by byl zmatený a domníval by se, že předměty tehdy viděné jsou pravdivější než ty, které se mu ukazují teď? S možnostmi zobrazení, které by odpovídalo naší představě o skutečnosti spíš než skutečnosti samé, ostatně už v antice vědomě pracovali. Hynek Alt a Aleksandra Vajd  tento princip využívají, myslí obrazem a současně přemýšlejí fotograficky.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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