Milota Havrankova


17. 1. 2020 - 15. 3. 2020

Milota Havránková (1945) is an exceptional and to a large degree unique photographer who has been active in Czech and Slovak photography for quite some time; a certain, still persisting lack of categorization and comprehension of her work is therefore all the more surprising. An experimenter who continues to break with tradition and change her style, she entered the art scene at the end of the 1960s. She started using her own reality as a matrix for further creative interventions and revealed an invisible relationship and emotional logic by means of staged analogue photography with seemingly random compositions. The exhibition will focus on this crystallising period of the 1960s and 1970s when almost all the key features and symbols of her later hybrid artwork appeared.

Exhibition opening

Milota Havrankova (*1945) belongs to a first generation of Czechoslovak photographers with university education; she graduated from art photography from Prague’s FAMU at the end of 1960s. Her work is characterized by a variety of technological and thought processes and a very wide range of artistic disciplines used, from monumental and staged photography to experimental film and design.

Milota Havrankova entered the art scene during her studies. During that time of Czechoslovak photography, a young generation of photographers emerged who weren’t frightened to display a strong disrespect to the contemporary prevailing genres or formal traditions, or to socially or politically engaged topics. The photographical “new wave” with its surreally expressive and lyrically staged images was a terminological and expressive branch of the new wave of Czechoslovak cinematography. The photography also brought aspects of surrealism back to life, however the attempt to capture its imaginative potential was made in completely new conditions. Visual, literary, photographical or even film strategies could appear in photography in mutual symbiosis as photography’s technical reproduction potential set no limit to experimentation. And so at this time the author organically discovered the quality of the staged form, which she then transformed and visually appraised and uncovered the invisible logic of relationships and emotions in her spontaneous compositions. The key motivator of Milota Havrankova’s work is her desire to discover herself and her world through seemingly detached and objective technical methods. Her work process shows first and foremost her uncompromising stance on the question of artistic freedom.

The center of gravity of the “View from a Window” cycle is the author’s work in the hectic 1960s and 1970s, a time that the Czechoslovak society experienced not only euphoria but also a crushing skepticism and moral destruction due to the incoming normalization. In the background of these changes Milota Havrankova’s work crystallized. She oscillated between individual artistic freedom and political oppression. She found the base for her work in exploring her own truth from a fictitious reality. Its no coincidence her photographs became a visual part of the legendary student magazine The Echo of Bratislava University Students printed in 1964-1968 as one of the few publications critically and defiantly reflecting the contemporary sociopolitical and cultural happenings. Milota’s “View from a Window” showcases the clash of two realities, an inner and external one, and the subliminal and arbitrary infiltration of life’s authentic experience in a world of photo image filled with conscious truths, lies and hints.

 Anna Vartecka, curator

Milota Havrankova

1945: Born 7th August in Košice, Slovakia, as Milota Marková

1960-64: Studied photography at the School of Applied Arts, Bratislava, Slovakia

1963-65: Employed as photo-reporter by Koliba Film Studios, Bratislava, Slovakia, where she produced her first art photos

1966-71: Studied creative photography at Prague Film Academy (FAMU) under Prof. Ján Šmok

1970: Solo exhibition at Photo Gallery in Krakow, Poland, under the name Milota Marková

1972-77: Taught photography at the School of Applied Arts, Bratislava, Slovakia

1975: Solo exhibition Women in Slovak Literature, Chamber gallery, Martin, Slovakia

1977-91: Freelance photographer (industrial, commercial, fashion, advertising)

1978: Solo exhibition at the Cyprián Majerník Gallery, Bratislava

1980: Solo exhibition Monumental Photography, Photo Medium Art Gallery, Wrocław, Poland

1982: Solo exhibition Monumental Photography, Photo gallery, Warsaw, Poland

1989: Solo exhibition, Burgenlandisches Landesmuseum, Eisenstadt, Austria

1990: Co-founded Galéria X in Bratislava, where she showed her photos of fashion, jewellery and artworks

1991-2007: Head of Creative Photography Studio and member of Academic Senate, AFAD, Bratislava, Slovakia

1992: Honorable Mention, Podvedomé súhry (Subconscious Interplay), International Biennale of Arts and Crafts, Bratislava, Slovakia;       exhibited her own textile designs, Galleri 101, Kristiansand, Norway

1994-2005: External lecturer at Dept. of Photography, FAMU, Prague

1994: Solo exhibition, Ars Temporis gallery, Klagenfurt, Austria

1995: Senior lecturer in photography, Prague Film Academy (FAMU); the catalogue Milota 1974-1994 named photographic publication of the year by Czech Photo; solo exhibition and video projection Milota Havránková, Gallery Teatru NN, Lublin, Poland

1997: Special prize of Eva magazine at Brno International Fashion Fair, STYL 97; solo exhibition of digital photography and photo design with live fashion show, Trade Fair Palace, Prague

2000:  Solo exhibition Nutná hra (Necessary Game), Josef Sudek House of Photography, Prague; solo exhibition Milota, Nova Gallery, Košice, Slovakia

2002: Appointed head of Photography and New Media, member of Departmental and Artistic Board, AFAD, Bratislava, Slovakia

2004: Solo exhibition Milota, Koloman Sokol Gallery, Washington DC, USA

2005: Solo exhibition Milota Havránková, Gallery 10, Washington DC, USA; Zelený dom (Green Home): 2 solo exhibitions at Bratislava City Gallery and Gallery Art Factory, Prague

from 2006: Member of Departmental Board for doctoral studies, AFAD, Bratislava, Slovakia

2006: Appointed Professor of Liberal Arts, AFAD, Bratislava, Slovakia

2007: Solo exhibition V kružnici M. H. (In the M.H. Circle), Nitra gallery, Slovakia

2007-11: Director of Galerie PF 01, Bratislava, Slovakia

2008: Crystal Wing award for outstanding contribution to the visual arts in Slovakia; solo exhibition Bytie (Being), Slovak Institute, Vienna, Austria

2009: Solo exhibition Modrá strecha (Blue Roof), Embassy of the Slovak Republic, London, UK

2010: Documentary portrait of Milota Havránková in the TV series about outstanding Slovaks

2011: Solo exhibition inBOND Performing Gallery, Saatchi gallery, London, UK

2012: Solo exhibition inBOND, Central European House of Photography, Bratislava, Slovakia

2012-13: Taught at Dept. of Photography, FAMU, Prague

from 2013: Head of Photomedia Studio, Dept. of Intermedia and Digital Media, Banská Bystrica Academy of Art, Slovakia

2014: Named Professional Photographer of the Year by the Central European House of Photography; received Slovak National Council Award for Humanitarian Education and Culture for photography; participated in the international collective exhibition Grey Gold: Czech and Slovak Artists 65+ In the Brno House of Arts; solo exhibition Selected Works, 1964-2014, gallery of Slovak union of Visual Arts, Bratislava, Slovakia

2015: Collective exhibition Grey Gold: Czech and Slovak Artists aged 65 and over, Nitra gallery, Slovakia

2015-2016: Milota – exhibition of the Slovak photographer Milota Havrankova, Dum u Kamenneho zvonu, Prague City Gallery

2019-2020: Milota Havrankova: TORSO  | Laboratory of Eternal Returns, East Slovak Gallery in Kosice | SK


Museum of Decorative Arts, Prague; Prague City Gallery; Moravian Gallery, Brno; National Gallery of Slovakia, Bratislava, Slovakia; Matica slovenská, Martin, Slovakia; Turiec gallery, Martin, Slovakia; Slovak National Museum of Literature, Martin, Slovakia


Anna works as an art theorist, exhibition curator and since 2001 as a lecturer at the Department of History and Theory of Art at FUD UJEP in Usti nad Labem. She focuses on the theory and history of photography, graphical design and on the topic and critique of contemporary visual art and it’s overarch into other theoretical disciplines such as gender studies and sociology. She publishes technical texts in domestic and international journals, catalogues and monographies. Since 2012 she’s working on a research in the field of late work of the modernist generation of Czech and Slovak female artists aged 65 and over. As a curator Anna contributed to many domestic and international projects, for example:

·       Milota Havrankova: TORSO/Laboratory of Eternal Returns, East Slovak Gallery in Kosice/ SK, 2019/20

·       Blurred Topography – Pilgrims over the Sea of Fog, part of the annual FUD UJEP Monumental Topography project, Emil Filla Gallery in Usti nad Labem, 2018

·       Grey Gold: At my fingertips, Kunstverein in Schwerin/ DE, 2017/18

·       Milota – exhibition of the Slovak photographer Milota Havrankova, Dum U Kameneho zvonu, Prague City Gallery, 2015/16

·       Tectonics of memory. Movement of personal memories in Czech and Slovak art of the young generation, Brno House of Arts, 2015

·       Grey Gold. Late work of Czech and Slovak female artists aged 65 and over, Brno House of Arts, 2013