YEARS MEASURED BY LIGHT
11. 1. — 3. 3. 2019
Stanislav Tuma undoubtedly belongs among the most significant Czech photographers of the end of the 20th century and turn of the 21st. Despite the many years since his passing, photographs from his extensive archive remain contemporary and represent the artistic values characteristic of the best of classical photography’s legacy. The black and white photos taken with his Leica all share some common attributes – poetic imagination and the use of metaphor; minimalism and a certain freedom in the message conveyed; a well thought-out composition and flawless utilization of light.
Gallery YEARS MEASURED BY LIGHT
Photos from exhibition opening
There are many of Tuma’s skills that connect his work with the best of classical black and white photography, but first and foremost it’s his use of light as the most important expression medium. A photograph is a painting “painted” by light and perfection in this style of “painting” was something Tuma always strived to achieve. The light, the shadows or the ways structures were lit always aroused Tuma’s imagination and thanks to his talent, he was able to transform the grey reality before him into something magical and poetic. He was one of the artists for whom photographing was an essential existential need; he was the type of walker that would never forget his Leica at home. His images always had to be shot in exactly the right light – sometimes that would mean only photographing things lighted by sun rays or the reflections of neighbouring structures. Besides the poetry and metaphors that are integral for his work, Tuma’s black and white photographs always share an intentional minimalism and a certain crypticism when it comes to communicating the work’s meaning.
Many of Tuma’s photos are only fragments of the subjects photographed; still lives depicting outdoors or indoors or their details. They work so well due to their extraordinary lighting and composition – both of these push the work far beyond a naturalistic description of reality and therefore give it a new meaning entirely. Other group of Tuma’s photographs are characteristic with their narration that only hints at the unfinished or incomplete stories they tell – as if they were the static versions of the new wave motion pictures that toyed with the idea of expressing that there is something left unsaid. Stanislav Tuma loved Mala Strana quarter and we could call him it’s court photographer; thanks to him the borough’s non-replicable atmosphere during the second half of the last century is captured. A big part of Tuma’s Mala Strana were his friends and acquaintances from the artistic and bohemian circles that he photographed with an ease and exact sense for their characteristic facial features. After Tuma’s premature departure, an unbelievably rich archive of photographs was left behind. This exhibition focuses mainly on the extraordinary still lives that are considered amongst his artistic legacy as the most valuable of his work.
Tuma never photographed on a big format. The film tape and light cameras offered him a freedom of movement and lent his work a certain sense of casualness and immediateness. Thanks to his Swedish passport, Tuma had the opportunity to travel and photograph all across Western Europe, England, USA and Africa during the times when our borders were closed shut for the vast majority of the Czech people. These travels were extremely important for shaping his world view; he returned with not only the experiences of the western world, but with a new perspective and a courage to freely express even taboo topics. Stanislav Tuma is a representative of the so called “flower generation” with all of it’s warmth, romanticism, lack of traditionalism and a strong relationship with even the most common of things. Despite this, the legacy of the Czech classical and avantgarde photography is very strongly rooted in his work. This merging of influences that are usually considered incompatible is why Stanislav Tuma’s work is both unmistakeably important and irreplaceable in Czech photography.
Eva Heyd, the curator
(CV) Eva Heyd (*1953)
Born in Prague and having graduated from Charles’ University, Eva Heyd began her career as a professional photographer and journalist in the seventies.
In 1985, she emigrated to the United States, where she lived for twenty years, working as a photographer for prestigious museums and galleries in New York City. In her own artwork, she concentrated on art projects experimenting with the use of photographic images. Her work was mainly presented in leading galleries of New York as well as other galleries in the United States and Europe. In 2005, she returned to the Czech Republic where she settled in Rožmitál pod Třemšínem.
Currently she works as a director of Czech National Trust, a nonprofit organization that aims to save cultural heritage, and manages several of this organization’s projects. She is also active as a journalist, photographer and an author. She teaches photography and curates art shows.
(CV) Stanislav Tůma (1950 – 2005)
Stanislav Tuma was born in Cheb on 11th of July 1950. He was interested in photography ever since his childhood but following his family’s wishes, he enrolled in a hotel school, where he only lasted for two years. After leaving the school, he moved from the family home and started to make his living as a DJ. He found an apartment in a baroque villa at the foot of the Petrin hill in Prague. The house became a centre of meetings of his like-minded artistic friends and Mala Strana quarter became Tuma’s fate.
In 1969 Tuma begins photographing professionally and in the seventies he focuses mainly on the Czech music scene, theatre and architecture. In 1980 he moves to Sweden and later on to Amsterdam.
His work is exhibited in museums and galleries throughout Europe, for example in Amsterdam’s Canon Photo Gallery (1981), Copenhagen’s Kunstindustrimuseum (1983) and Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek (1984) and in Oslo’s Henie-Onstad Kunstsentret (1984). He’s published in European photography magazines and his work is represented in important collections.
In 1982 Tuma was awarded the Cultural Prize by the Swedish Arts Council in Stockholm. His first photography book Womenis published in the Netherlands and includes Jaroslav Seifert’s poems.
He permanently returns to Prague in the spring of 1990. Mala Strana and Hradcany became the integral theme of his work. In this time, other photographic series are created as well: still-lives, nudes and portraits.
Tuma spends a number of years organizing his own as well as group exhibitions of photographers and artists both in the Czech republic and abroad.
His first large retrospective exhibition in the Czech republic was held at the Manes exhibition hall in the spring of 1994. His second book, Suburbium Pragense, is awarded with the title of Best photographical publication of 1997. His book Prager Motive in Fotos und Poesiewas named Best Photographic Book with Text of 2004.
The last important exhibitions of Tuma’s work took place in 2000 as a part of the Prague 2000 – European Capital of Cultureproject at Staromestska city hall and in 2006 in the Prague Fragments exhibitionheld at the City of Prague Museum.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech republic introduced Tuma’s works at the Czech centers throughout Europe, namely in Stockholm, Berlin, Budapest, Moscow, Warsaw and Sofia.
Stanislav Tuma passed away on 14th of September 2005 in Prague.
1977 AFRICA - PLAN DESIGN STUDIO, Copenhagen DK
1978 AFRIKA, RUBÍN THEATRE, Prague CZ
1980 MALOSTRANŠTÍ - ATELIER TŮMA, Prague CZ
1981 FOTOGRAFIE Z MALÉ STRANY - V NERUDOVCE THEATRE, Prague CZ
PRAGUE PHOTOGRAPHS - CANON PHOTO GALLERY, Amsterdam NL
1982 PORTRÉTY, DETAILY - VE VĚŽI GALLERY, Mělník CZ
1983 PRAG FOTOGRAFIER - KUNSTINDUSTRIMUSEUM, Copenhagen DK
MINEN FRÅN PRAG - PENTAX GALLERY, Stockholm S
FOTOGRAFIEN AUS PRAG - GALERIE 70, Berlin D
MUISTOJA PRAHASTA - VALOKUVAMUSEON STUDIO, Helsinki SF
DIVADELNÍ FOTOGRAFIE - RUBÍN THEATRE, Prague CZ
1984 FRIENDS - NY CARLSBERG GLYPTOTEK, Copenhagen DK
FOTOGRAFIER - HENIE-ONSTAD KUNSTSENTRET, Oslo N
MALÁ STRANA – GALERIE VAN DER HAVE, Amsterdam NL
FOTOOS - STUDIO VISA, Alkmaar NL
FOTOGRAFIE 1980 - 85 ZÁTIŠÍ - DŮM UMĚNÍ, FUNKEHO KABINET, Brno CZ
FRIENDS - GALERIE 70, Berlin D
FOTOUTSTILLING - PREUS FOTOMUSEUM, Horten N
1987 WOMEN - FOCUS ON PHOTOGRAPHY GALERIE, Amsterdam NL
STILL-LIFES - PORTFOLIO GALLERY, London GB
1988 WARTEN AUF LICHT – ATELIER HERBERT DÖRING, Köln D
1990 FAREWELL, FAREWELL - CANON IMAGE CENTRE, Amsterdam NL
STANISLAV TŮMA –PENNINGS GALLERY, Eindhoven NL
1991 MALOSTRANSKÁ ZÁTIŠÍ - GRADUS GALLERY, Prague CZ
1994 FOTOGRAFIE - MÁNES, Prague CZ
1996 PRAŽSKÉ PODHRADÍ/SUBURBIUM PRAGENSE - OBECNÍ BESEDA GALLERY, Prague CZ
SUBURBIUM PRAGENSE - ČESKÉ CENTRUM, Moskva SU
SUBURBIUM PRAGENSE - TA FANTASTIKA THEATRE, Prague CZ
SUBURBIUM PRAGENSE - U HASIČŮ THEATRE, Prague CZ
1997 SUBURBIUM PRAGENSE – KAMZÍK GALLERY, Prague CZ
1998 FOR THE END YET AGAIN - STAROMĚSTSKÁ CITY HALL, Prague CZ
MALOSTRANSKÁ ZÁTIŠÍ - PEN KLUB, Prague CZ
2000 FOTOGRAFIE 1970-2000-STAROMĚSTSKÁ CITY HALL, Prague CZ
FOTOGRAFIE 1970-2000 - KULTURNÍ DŮM, Dobříš CZ
FOTOGRAFIE 1970-2000 – CITY GALLERY, Trutnov CZ
2001 FOTOGRAFIE 1970-2001 – FR. DRTIKOL GALLERY – Zámeček, Příbram CZ
2002 SUBURBIUM PRAGENSE – Česká spořitelna’s SMALL GALLERY – Kladno CZ
PRÁGAI VÁRALJA – A CSEH CENTRUM, Budapest, H
2003 PRAŽSKÉ PODHRADÍ – MILLENNIUM GALLERY, Prague CZ
2004 ZLØTA PRAGA – CZESKIE CENTRUM, Warszawa PL
PRAŽSKÉ PODHRADÍ – PALFFYHO PALÁC - ČESKÉ CENTRUM, Bratislava SK
AKTY - GALERIE PERON, Prague CZ
LIDSKÁ KRAJINA – BESEDA GALLERY (with Janem Šafránkem), Prague CZ
2005 SUBURBIUM PRAGENSE – TJECKISKA CENTRET, Stockholm SWE
PRAGER MOTIVE, CZECH CENTRE Berlin D
PRAGER MOTIVE, Rehau, D
LIDSKÁ KRAJINA – MILLENNIUM GALLERY, Prague CZ
KOMERČNÍ BANKA, Prague CZ
2006 PRAŽSKÉ FRAGMENTY- MUZEUM OF PRAGUE CITY, Prague CZ
2007 FRAGMENTY TICHA – NOSTRESS GALLERY, Prague CZ
ARS PRAGENSIS – BESEDA GALLERY, Prague CZ
NÁRODNÍ VÝSTAVA ČR/THE CZECH NATIONAL EXHIBITION-Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
2010 VE STÍNU/IN THE SHADE, STAROMĚSTSKÁ CITY HALL, Prague CZ
2011 PRAISE OF SHADOWS/CHVÁLA STÍNŮ, Czech Centre Tokyo, Japonsko, J
ČÍ JE TO MĚSTO, NA ZÁBRADLÍ THEATRE, Prague CZ
2012 ARCHITECTURA POETICA, FOTOGALÉRIA NOVA, Košice, SK
ZÁTIŠIA, Caraffova väznica GALLERY, Prešov, SK
2015 JINÝ POHLED, Art in Box, Prague CZ
AUF DEN STEIN GEFÜHLT, Galerie auf der Pawlatsche, Wien, A
REPRESENTED IN THE FOLLOWING COLLECTIONS
1980 KONGELIGE BIBLIOTEK, Copenhagen DK
1981 BIBLIOTHÉQUE NATIONALE, Paris F
1982 STEDELIJK MUSEUM, Amsterdam NL
1983 MORAVSKÁ GALERIE, Brno CZ
SUOMEN VALOKUVATAITEEN MUSEO, Helsinki FIN
1984 MUSEUM FOR FOTOGRAFISK KUNST, Odense DK
HENIE-ONSTAD KUNSTSENTRET, Oslo N
1985 RIJKSMUSEUM AMSTERDAM BERT HARTKAMP COLLECTION, Amsterdam NL
THE MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS - MANFRED HEITING COLLECTION, Houston USA
1986 PREUS FOTOMUSEUM, Horten N
1988 IBN KUNSTSAMLUNG DEUTSCHLAND D
1990 MUSEUM OF MODERN ART, Yokohama J
2002 COMUNITA COMPRENSORIALE OLTRADIGE, Bolzano I
MAGYAR FOTOGRÁFIAI MÚZEUM, Kecskemét H
NARODNI MUZEUM FOTOGRAFIE/NATIONAL MUSEUM OF PHOTOGRAPHY, Jindřichův Hradec CZ
2003 MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF THE CZECH REPUBLIC
2008 UMĚLECKOPRŮMYSLOVÉ MUZEUM/MUSEUM OF DECORATIVE ARTS IN PRAGUE/ Prague CZ
2010 GALERIE HLAVNÍHO MĚSTA PRAHY /CITY GALLERY PRAGUE, Prague CZ
1982 KULTURNÍ CENA STÁTNÍ KULTURNÍ RADY ŠVÉDSKA - Stockholm SWE
1983 TVURCI STIPENDIUM UNIE SVEDSKÝCH UMELCU - Stockholm SWE
1997 FOTOGRAFICKÁ PUBLIKACE ROKU 1997 – Prague CZ