Václav Kopecký 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.


Václav Kopecký se kontinuálně zabývá fotografií nejen jako nástrojem k zrcadlení skutečnosti, ale jako fyzickou věcí, která zaplňuje prostor a mění charakter našeho pohledu. Analyzuje fotografii jako paměťové médium, s nímž se pojí specifická historie a technologie – ve svých výstavách odkazuje k uzavřenému světu, který funguje podle vlastních pravidel. Sám fotografie zpracovává klasickými postupy, jako by se snažil nostalgii spojenou s analogovou fotografií vytěžit na maximum. O fotografickém médiu uvažuje jako o způsobu nazírání na svět, k němuž hledá různé paralely, např. v podobě nalezeného otisku, záznamu světla, usměrnění pohledu. Analogicky pracuje i s instalací výstavy, např. když pomocí světlocitlivé emulze nechává na stěnách galerie vyvstat otisk její vlastní podoby. 


Václav Kopecký

Born 1983 in Prague. Lives and works in Prague, Czech Republic



since 2012 PhD., Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design, Prague

2010 – 2012 Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague, Studio of Photography of Hynek Alt & Aleksandra Vajd

2006 – 2010 Jan Evangelista Purkyně University in Ústí nad Labem, Faculty of Art and Design, Department of Photography of  Pavel Baňka, Ústí nad Labem, CZ



2011 Academy of Fine Arts, Studio of Intermedia of Tomáš Vaněk, Prague
2009 University of Derby, Faculty of Arts, Design and Technology, Derby, GB


Solo exhibitions


Future, Lucie Drdova Gallery, Prague


Unseen (with Hynek Alt), Amsterdam, Netherlands


Petrification, OFF/Format, Brno


Petrification, Josef Sudek Studio, Prague


Petrification, Drdova Gallery, Prague, CZ


Petrification, curated by Jiří Ptáček, House of Art, České Budějovice, CZ

Hotel Zenit, Buňka gallery, Prague


Hotel Zenit – Reverse wave, Kabinet gallery, Brno, CZ


Zenit Hotel, Drdova Gallery, Prague

Still Life, the30gallery, Festival Fotograf, Prague

Neon (with Jiří Thýn), The Good-bye Gallery, Volyně, CZ

Hotel Zenit, 35m2 gallery, Prague


Fading light, growing shadow (with Pavel Baňka), Entrance Gallery, Prague
Untitled, Fotograf Gallery, Prague
Invisible Cube, M.odla gallery, Prague


As bee hive seen it / Včela z úlu v pohledu, Jelení Gallery, Prague


Group exhibitions


Ripple Effect, Futura gallery, Prague


Inventura, White Unicorn Gallery, Klatovy


Kdo na moje místo, Plato gallery, Ostrava, CZ


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

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

Hast du von Bergen geträumt ? III, curated by Alena Drahokoupilová, Czech Centre Prague, DE

Hast du von Bergen geträumt ? II, curated by Alena Drahokoupilová, Czech Centre Berlin, DE


Hast du von Bergen geträumt ? I, curated by Alena Drahokoupilová, Kulturrathaus, Dresden, DE

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


Hidden River, DOX Centre for contemporary Art, Prague

6th Zlín Youth Salon, Zlín House of Arts, Zlín, CZ

Fotofestival Uničov 2, Teta Gallery, Uničov, CZ


Finalists of EXIT Award, Emil Filla Gallery, Ústí nad Labem, CZ
The Exhibition 2011, curated by Karel Císař, Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague, Prague
Magic circle (annual exhibition of the department of photography of Pavel Baňka), Emil Filla Gallery, Ústí nad Labem, CZ
In Optima Forma, Emil Filla Gallery, Ústí and Labem, CZ


Collected reflections, curated by Edith Jeřábková, Entrance Gallery, Prague
One day you will lose it all, curated by Markéta Kinterová, 4+4 Days in Motion, 15th Performing Arts Festival, Prague
Making worlds, Emil Filla Gallery, Ústí and Labem, CZ
Notes to the Subject (with Veronika Daňhelová), Školská 28 Communication space, Prague


Gedanken Zur Revolution,  Part 03 “Art & Politics”, Leipzig, DE
Body, Old Brewery Gallery, Brno, CZ
Second shift, Armaturka  gallery, Ústí nad Labem, CZ


The Horizons of Analogue Photography

by Hana Buddeus, Fotograf magazine #21

Last year’s theme-based issue of Critical Inquiry magazine – one of the outcomes of a three-year research project entitled “Aesthetics after Photography” – explored various issues of photography and art from the 1960s until the present.1 In her article Analogue: On Zoe Leonard and Tacita Dean2 Margaret Iversen discusses how following the advent of digital photography, analogue photography again became relevant.
She explains the re-awakening of interest in analogue photography on the part of artists as a response to the rise of digital technology. At a time when there is essentially no reason for using analogue photography in everyday practice, and when the difference between technologies has no significant impact on the practical aspect of things, analogue photography is gaining significance as an artistic device.

What sets analogue photography radically apart is its feeling of continuity. This reopens the field for exploring the relationship of the object in front of the camera and the object within the photograph itself. Continuity par excellence is represented by photographs made without the use of a camera, by the direct interaction of light upon photo-sensitive paper.
The paper carrier receives information, imprinting it on itself, and when the image is fixed, it thus captures an abstract moment in time, something which is already past. Photographic paper exposed to light plays a purely passive role, offering a comparison to the status of the person having their portrait taken in relation to a photographer in the 19th century.

Photography is fundamentally bound up with a sense of mourning for something that is no longer – by the virtue alone that it captures a time which has passed. In her article, Margaret Iversen points out that the expression mourning is in fact used by Thierry de Duve in order to differentiate the posed (typical of the said genre of portrait) from the impromptu photograph, which he links with the contrary notion of trauma.3 Photographers exploring their own medium using obsolete technologies is no new affectation of contemporary artists revisiting analogue photography: in the 1930s, Josef Sudek used 19th century cameras, and similarly Walker Evans revisited large-format cameras at a time when everyone was photographing with a Leica. One of the reasons for this was surely that these devices enabled them to achieve an image with an astonishing degree of definition of detail. Still, if we regard this revisiting of old technology without taking into account the sentimental aspect, we reach only a partial understanding. With the advance of digital technology,
nostalgia has become one of the defining attributes attendant to the use of analogue photography in general. It is – among other things – this very sentiment which distinguishes contemporary media-specific photography from similar works dating to the 1970s. Nostalgia turns the cool, technicist medium of photography into a warm, friendly, cosy medium, enabling one to relate to the world immediately, without transfer into pixels.

Václav Kopecký elaborates the theme of analogue photography in a cycle symptomatically entitled Hotel Zenit, inducing the viewer to contemplate a specific encapsulated world, the nostalgic reverie experienced while browsing photo-albums after returning from a vacation, when the experiences captured are already in the past. By exhibiting Hotel Zenit in a gallery, another type of enclosed world operating according to its own rules, he further multiplies its meanings. Flags / Vlajky is depictive without actually offering a concrete representation. The color emulsion offers itself to the light, recording it. His photographs of sea waves are also a polemic with the traditional notions of representation. Their rhythm can be grasped only in the gap between the photographs: as something present even though its ceaseless movement eludes representation. At the same time, the continuity of the waves creates a direct link with analogue photography. Its photographic representation can thus show more than one would expect. For its visualization is based not only on causality, but also analogy.

Hana Buddeus


  1. Diarmud Costello / Margaret Iversen / Joel Snyder (eds.), “Agency and Automatism: Photography as Art Since the Sixties”, Critical Inquiry, vol. 38, no. 4, Summer 2012. 
  2. Margaret Iversen, “Analogue: On Zoe Leonard and Tacita Dean”, Critical Inquiry, vol. 38, no. 4, summer 2012, pp. 796–818. 
  3. Thierry de Duve, “Time Exposure and Snapshot: The Photograph as Paradox” / “Póza a momentka neboli Fotografický paradox”, in: Karel Císař (ed.), Co je to fotografie?, Praha: Herrmann a synové 2004, pp. 273–293. 




Zlín Youth Salon catalogue. Karel Císař

Václav Kopecký is one of the artists to critically reassess the medium of analogue photography. However, unlike most of his colleagues, he does not turn his attention merelyto the process of its creation but primarily to the materiality of the resulting image. In his installation As Bee Hive Seen It (2010), the artist enlarged the image on photographic paper unfolded in space which corresponded to the original scene. The apparently more realistic three-dimensional photographs were scattered and decomposed, only merging into a unified optical perception when seen from the original point of view. In another artwork, Kopecký fixed a sequence of three photographs capturing a collapsing tower of building blocks with propped up laths; as if the laths were not only to hold the pictures on the wall but also to prevent the depicted tower from falling. In his latest exhibitions Untitled (2011) and Fading Light, Growing Shadow (2011), the artist employed photography without a camera, applying photographic emulsion directly onto the wall to create an image of its own, or creating minimalist objects out of almost monochromatic photograms.

2012 ©
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