2018 #17


by Vaclav Kopecky

Selected by
Drdova Gallery,
Prague, Czech Republic


Selected by Drdova Gallery,
Prague, Czech Republic

The physical existence of photography is critical for me. In fact, everything that exists in physical form is destined to age, including our memory of that material object.


Future belongs to the broader 1973 project. Rather than hinting at a particular year, its title is designed to allude to themes of chronology and memory. The focus of the work is not on nostalgia – nor the past in general – but rather on the principle of reading photography and the act of looking at time through the form of a photograph. The work also makes reference to early western colour photography; its compositions rooted in modernism and its specific colour schemes. For me, “pure” photography is like a cut-out of reality imprinted in a particular context.


Analogue photography is a good vehicle with which to tackle the themes I’m interested in. It has a deeper historic connection to culture, to processes of industrialisation and to the economic climate of a society. Over the years, photography has manifested itself in so many different forms that I can work with. Dye transfers, tintypes and other processes rooted in materiality allow my work to reference and engage with a certain context of time in relation to photography.


The physical existence of photography is critical for me. In fact, everything that exists in physical form is destined to age, including our memory of that material object. This idea applies in the same way to the work I will be showing at Unseen Amsterdam; it will be presented in a physical space, and it will continue to age over the course of the exhibition and beyond. A photograph may be damaged as time goes by, but this is all part of the life cycle of physical objects. I am interested in all of these conversations and in creating distinctly physical, sculptural works that build upon these ideas.


Both the final work and the process are absolutely paramount and inseparable to me. I have never been completely satisfied when an external party was too heavily involved with the making of my work, so I always try to be a central part of the process and contribute a physical input to the work I create. This does incur the possibility of small errors, but I prefer to see these errors as openings and opportunities for other ideas, avenues and ways of working.

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Vaclav Kopecky

Prague, CZ

Vaclav Kopecki Portrait

Vaclav Kopecky

Prague, CZ

Since the invention of celluloid, the still image has defined our imagining of the past. Václav Kopecký plays upon this relationship, (b. 1983, Czech Republic) approaching photography not only as a reflection of time and memory but also as a physical object which disintegrates and ages. His use of fade, discolouration and tint questions materiality, drawing to mind turn-of-the-century colourised pictures. In the advent of near-universal digitalisation, Kopecký returns to the darkroom, finding innovative relevance for analogue film and traditional techniques. He pushes the medium to its limits; installing exhibitions with photosensitive emulsion which has the effect of stepping inside the walls of a developing chamber.

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