Bratislava City Gallery ­– Allowance organisation of the City of Bratislava, capital of the Slovak Republic

MONTH OF PHOTOGRAPHY - Jiří David | Galéria mesta Bratislavy | Allowance organisation of the City of Bratislava, capital of the Slovak Republic


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The Scholarship of Radislav Matuštík has been established in 2004.



Pálffy Palace (show Contact)
31. 10. 2006 - 10. 12. 2006
Curator: Martin Dostál

Jiří David’s Unique Play with a Real Camera
An advantage of photography in, say, the last two decades is that “non-photographers,” who migrate here from adjacent visual media go in for it intensively and with surprising results. Similar development can be seen in the video area, in which the movie territory is attacked. However, for photography we have come to a stage in which all borders have disappeared. Everyone benefits from it, but mostly the photography itself, which has thus reinforced its role among dominating imaging arts of today. This would not, most likely, happen if visual artists who make or use photographs were not interested in what they see.
One of the most distinctive examples in the Czech environment is Jiří David. He originally profiled himself as an important painter of Czech postmodernist style, accelerating also thanks to the “Tvrdohlaví” (Stubborn Ones) group; he dealt with conceptual installations at the break of the 1980s and 1990s. Conceptual thinking also lay at the root of his photographic expansion. The first cycle in the period 1991 – 1995 was “Skryté podoby” (Hidden Image) - right-right and left-left portraits of well-known artists, scientists, sportsmen and politicians. International response, rather surprising for many Czechs, brought “portraits” from the cycle to prestigious expositions. New conceptual cycles have been appearing, including the latest one, “Bez soucitu” (No Compassion, 2002) – weeping portraits of top politicians, of both the positive and negative spectrum.
In addition to such cycles, in which the artist sets the stage, Jiří David has, since the mid-1990s, been taking photographs in several “infinite” series. It should be noted that he had been taking photographs before – empty urban spaces in black and white – but he preferred painting then. One of impulses that took him back to photography must have been colors, which connected his intuition with the speed, immediateness and atmosphere of the „Snapshots.” Taking photos is an intimate process for David, whether of Things and Spaces, People in Landscape, Animals in Landscape, or “family models,“ in which predominantly his photogenic son Daniel enables him to arrange narrative-visual plays with a number of hinted implications.
David does not create one sophisticatedly polished photograph, he rather works in a style similar to movie directors: individual photos are visual fragments whose impact is multiplied by arrangements in chains of twos, threes, fives or any numbers, in “infinite cycles” and chaining even the cycles themselves. Each of them is attractive for its unusual view (often visually witty in a personal, historically aesthetical, socially romantic or decently provoking level), subtle composition and often suggestive colors. The greatest benefit is, however, brought by their mastered balance between their photographic concepts, unique “documentary” narrative character and, last but not least, painter’s experience.

Martin Dostál


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Other exhibitions/actions

Pálffy Palace / Exhibition
Curator: Vladimír Kordoš, Marián Meško
21. 4. 2020 - 30. 8. 2020
Mirbach Palace / Exhibition
Author: Albín Brunovský
Curator: Ivan Jančár
12. 3. 2020 - 30. 8. 2020

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Pohľad z hradu Starhemberg
Author: Moritz Saint Genois
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