10 Jun 2016 - 15 Jun 2016
Stories from Ostrava – Industry to Culture
As deindustrialization takes hold in Europe, national landmarks such as Dolni Vitkovice, a decommissioned ironworks in Ostrava, Czech Republic face the threat of either dereliction or Disneyfication. In a series of interviews two students at the Architectural Association, Veronika Janovcova and Timothy O’Hare, peel back the layers of nostalgia and romanticism surrounding the site to reveal the social and political forces behind the redevelopment of the European Cultural Heritage site into an educational and cultural hub. Alongside the resulting fifteen-minute film D.O.V., the AA Gallery will host a photographic exhibition Case Study Ostrava by Viktor Kolar, one of the most important contemporary Czech documentary photographers.
D.O.V. takes cues from the films of Charles and Ray Eames and presents a snapshot of the difficult, yet urgent transformation of a city and a community, exposing the conflicting interests of the public and private actors involved.
Case Study Ostrava, the photographic exhibition by Viktor
Kolář juxtaposes for the first time black-and-white photographs from
his famous Ostrava Series with colourful
images from recent years while demonstrating the unity of people and their
environment. Kolář’s use of deep tones, textures, light, and contrast creates a
melancholic and poignant look at the landscape and people of Ostrava over the
course of several tumultuous decades, earning him a place as one of the most
important contemporary Czech documentary photographers.
Viktor Kolář, born in Ostrava in 1941, has devoted his life to photographing his hometown, a large industrial city and important source of coal and steel. Kolář studied at the Photographic Institute in Ostrava but emigrated to Canada after the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. He was subjected to police interrogations upon returning home through Paris and London five years later in 1973. After years of being unable to professionally practice photography under communist rule, Kolář finally gained international acclaim in the 1990s following the fall of communism.
Greatly influenced at a young age by the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson and
by his father, a self-taught photographer and filmmaker, Kolář is known for his
black and white documentary photographs capturing “decisive moments” of action,
when all the elements in a composition come together perfectly for a split
second. In his famous Ostrava Series, Kolář’s use of deep tones,
textures, light, and contrast creates a melancholic and poignant look at the
landscape and people of a single city over the course of several tumultuous
decades, earning him a place as one of the most important contemporary Czech
The exhibition is curated by Marek Pokorný.
Opening Times: Monday – Friday 10am – 7pm, Saturday 10am – 5pm
Private View: 9th June, 6.30 – 8.30pm
Organised in cooperation with Architectural Association and Plato Ostrava.
|Photographs by Viktor Kolář|
Private View: 9th June, 6.30 – 8.30pm | Architecural Association School of Architecture, 36 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3ES
From: 10 Jun 2016
To: 15 Jun 2016
Czech Center is a coorganizer of the event