20 Sep 2014 - 30 Oct 2014
The exhibition “War Photographers” presents the work of three outstanding Czech photographers, soldiers of the Austro-Hungarian Army, whose collections of negatives and photographs have remained unknown for almost ninety years. This is a major discovery, as the history of photography reveals very few specific names of photographers from World War I let alone a significant amount of their work. Therefore these collections by Czech soldier photographers are unique. Some good luck provided the exhibition curator with hundreds of glass and film negatives by Gustav Brož and Jan Myšička and Rajman’s grandson Pavel Hančar supplied dozens of small postcard photos.
His name was identified from multiple photos and the detailed notes he made on all the photographed events. At the beginning of the war Broz was on the Italian front then was moved further east to the Russian front where he took most of his outstanding images. In the middle of 1916 he defected to Russia. Pictures like “In our kitchen”, “The Jump of the ambulance dog”, “Field smokehouse” and many other photos have already become treasures of Czech and world photography.
Hundreds of Jana Myšička’s negatives and copies have been carefully organized and well kept for over thirty years in the attic of Josef Bohuňovský who received them from Myšička’s daughter, Mrs. Mohelská. Jan Myšička fought in Eger in Hungary and also on the Italian front where he was injured twice.
The Czech Republic possesses a unique collection of photographs thanks to Jenda Rajman, although unfortunately the negatives haven’t been preserved. Rajman was working in a military hospital in Podmelec (now part of Slovenia) where he photographed and documented his everyday life throughout the war. He saw the horrors of the war at close quarters especially when crippled soldiers from the front lines were brought to the hospital. In one image, there is a soldier with paper on his thumb which reads: 50,000 wounded ... These are absolutely unique pictures such as “brain surgery in field conditions”, a row of ambulances and a view of the “hospital” full of wounded soldiers, which was set up in an occupied joiner’s shop.
Sat 20 & Sun 21 September: 10 am - 5 pm
Mon - Fri: 9 am - 1 pm, 2 pm - 5 pm
The exhibition is part of Open House London (20 to 21 September 2014), an annual festival which allows the public free access to usually inaccessible and architecturally interesting places. More than a thousand people will have the opportunity this weekend to see these unique photographs at the Embassy of the Czech Republic in London, which is one of the 750 sites available to visit under the banner of Open House.
Accompanying programme of the exhibition:
Czechoslovak volunteers in
World War I (1914 – 1918)
Czechoslovakia, 1934, 44 min
Documentary from 1934, dedicated to the Czechoslovak legionaries from the First World War which illustrates the lives of soldiers, their heroism and everyday life at the front. Czechoslovak legionaries distinguished themselves on many battlefields. They demonstrated their courage in the battle near Zborova in Russia and Piave in Italy. The film shows the conflict from its beginnings, including the Sarajevo assassination and other key events of the first major 20th century war. including the work and influence of President T.G. Masaryk. http://film.nfa.cz/portal/avrecord/0064888
The Austro-Hungarian Empire at War: On the Eastern Front and at Home
13 Oct 2014, 7 pm / Austrian Cultural Forum London, 28 Rutland Gate, London SW7 1PQ
To commemorate the centenary of the beginning of the First World War, the Czech Centre London and the Austrian Cultural Forum London focus on WW1 from a Central European perspective. Christian Ortner, Director of Vienna’s Museum of Military History, will discuss the empire’s war on the Eastern and Balkan Fronts. Czech military historian Eduard Stehlik will analyse the war from the perspective of a nation whose struggle for better representation within the empire was reflected in the fighting morale. Together these two eminent historians will explore not only the military aspects of the conflict but will also focus on how successes and failures were perceived and reflected back home. More about the event
Embassy of the Czech Republic, 26 - 30 Kensington Palace Gardens London W8 4QY
From: 20 Sep 2014
To: 30 Oct 2014