5. 9. 2008 - 11. 11. 2008

Andrej Balco Domésticas

Although the author’s point of departure for his “Brazil photos” is anchored in traditional color documentary photography, the photographer’s signature style is gradually gaining in originality and much greater penetration. He does not seek to emphasize the Brazilian “style”, nonetheless he doesn’t omit it. Balco finds contemporary life in the largest and most populous Latin American country, which today has nearly 200 million people, in particular thematic constants. The theme was to have been the daily lives of men and women employed in Brazilian households. He then confronts images from their lives with ones from the daily lives of their middle-class employers. As the Brazilian cult author Paulo Coelho has said: “The theme of man in search of his own identity doesn’t deal with the old and worn-out categories of right and left.” Balco shows not only the ability to empathize with the “otherness” of an environment, but it is as if he continually reopenes paths to the “humanization” of all too clearly shaped destinies, in many respects by circumstances. The constants of broadly conceived narrative images and elsewhere the functional use of the delimitation of the space, which confirms the identity of those photographed, bring the photographer’s work close to the contemporary approach of the so-called New Documentary. The more (or less) present appeal of the colonial style with roots in Portugal or Spain in villas that are swimming in green and the unplastered masonry of the tightly delimited area, the clarifying blue pool and sizzling asphalt roof with oddments and plastic chairs. People, coming to their jobs in the homes of the more fortunate in the “chameleon disguises” of elegant uniforms so different from their own clothing. But at the same time because of the prodigious linking of the two social strata (even though one family may have a stray mutt as a pet while the other owns a riding horse) their human fate remains intertwined.

Balco says, “As a small boy I had a favorite book, There Behind the River Is Argentina. It was huge and full of strange, even frightening photographs. I spent a lot of time with it. In the little hamlet where I spent part of my childhood with elderly parents, I fell in love with the countryside in this book. Thus I already know it — it attracted me like a beautiful woman who knows what love is.” And the south of the Federative Republic of Brazil borders with Argentina. What more could you wish than to move a little closer to your childhood dreams again.

Aleš Kuneš

Andrej Balco is represented by Leica Gallery Prague. More about him can be found under the reference PHOTOGRAPHERS