The Acrobat on the Globe of Life
25. 11. 2011 — 8. 1. 2012
Retrospective of noted Czech documentarian and reporter Dagmar Hochová (born 1926), her work will concentrate on the fundamental line that has accompanied her entire production. The presented selection reminds us that she was Jaromír Funke´s student at the Public School of Graphics in Prague. She grew up and made friends with a generation that often kept evolving the stimuli of surrealism in a specifically Czech concept of suprarealism and anatomy of wonderfulness. Both her documentary and portrait photographs, and perceptions from street nooks, were flavoured by these concepts, and even by the absurd overtone of the contemporary socialist society and Prague of the 1950s through 1980s.
Photographs from the exhibition opening
Photographer Dagmar Hochová belongs among the most noted Czech representatives of humanistic photojournalism. Most known from her production are photographs of children and old people, portraits of prominent personalities, reactions to political events of 1968, burials of Jan Palach or Jaroslav Seifert, as well as of the velvet revolution in 1989, and also photos from her travelling to Russia, Vietnam, France, Italy, Sweden and Slovakia.
The exhibition of fifty photographs would like to show that Dagmar Hochová´s production was not formulated only by humanistic photojournalism, the example of Family of Man exhibition (1955), or the creation by Henri Cartier-Bresson, but also by friendship with visual artists and writers, Czech surrealistic tradition, in which she grew up, and the atmosphere of contemporary Prague. Apart from the snapshot photos that do not deny the mentioned ways out, we tried to monitor the not well-known and so far unexhibited line of Dagmar Hochová´s production. This photographer of children´s world naturalness, life and relationships among people, also took photographs of places without people, which are also filled by intensive human presence. Found seclusions depict not only the poetry of the city, but also reflect important political events. Proximity with thinking of Jaromír Funke and other surrealists can be expressed itself in following children´s „graffiti“ on paving and walls of Prague houses, becoming addicted to the magic of Matthew Fair at the time when it was still on the Dejvice Vítězné square, and searching for poetics in seemingly insignificant moments of everyday life.
Tomáš Pospěch, curator of the exhibition
Represented photographs from collections:
Power of Age
Ten, Twenty, Thirty, I am Going!
Dagmar Hochová (married Reinhardtová) was born on 10 March 1926 in Prague to a family of a historian and publicist Karel Hoch, a clerk of a university library. In 1942-1943, and with an interval, when she was totally committed in Pragfilm in Barrandov, in 1945 – 1946 she again studied at Secondary Graphic School in Prague under Jaromír Funke and Josef Ehm. After she graduated from camera branch at Prague´s FAMU, she worked as a freelance photographer-reporter for magazines such as Vlasta, Kulturní politika, Literární noviny, and others, or Albatros publishing house. Between 1990 – 1992 she was a representative of the Czech National Board.
She concentrated on reportage photography, documentary photography and portraits for her whole life. She illustrated a number of books with her photographs. Her production arises from humanistic photojournalism tradition. She concentrated on systematic elaboration of several basic topics (children´s plays, the old, portraits of writers and artists). Next to that, collections of photos from travelling were emerging (Vietnam, 1961), Paris (1964), Rome (1965 and 1968), Sweden (1974), Russia and Ukraine.
In 1989 she had an extensive retrospective at the House at Stone Bell prepared by Marie Judlová. Her individual projects are mapped, above all, by these books: Ten, Twenty, Thirty, I am Going (Kuklik, 1994), Curtain was Jerked by Time (Kuklik, 1995), Power of Age (Kuklik, 1996), End of Bread, Beginning of Pebbles (Torst, 2001), Ten, Twenty, Thirty, I am Going! (Fraktál and Moon by Day, 2009) and a retrospective publication Dagmar Hochová (Odeon, 1984) a Dagmar Hochová. Czech Photographer (Torst, 2000).