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

Month of photography: Josej Moucha | Galéria mesta Bratislavy | Allowance organisation of the City of Bratislava, capital of the Slovak Republic


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The City Gallery of Bratislava  celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2011.


Month of photography: Josej Moucha

Pálffy Palace (show Contact)
3. 11. 2010 - 9. 1. 2011
Curator: Martin Popelář, Roman Polášek

Self trace: Mošnov 1982
I did my military service in 1981 and 1982.   Nothing special, one can say. And when our politicheskij rukovoditel announced we were going to attack and cross the river Rhine, I realized that he didn’t give damn about what my Czech mind was thinking about it. Physically, I was at the Ostrava airport but geopolitically I was a prisoner in charge of forgetting my personal culture. And all that mess ordered from Moscow, by its own standards  the third Rome.
The preniere of the exhibition Self trace: Mošnov 1982 was organized by Photo Gallery Fiducia, marking the 64th anniversary of the military operation Moravian Ostrava. Its curators Roman Polasek and Martin Popelář had opened the planned triptych of exhibitions with The Italian Diaries 1965-1966, a Jan Lukas`s recollection of rough life in the refugee camps. A visual sample of Nazi slavery, or Totaleinsatz 1942-1944 by Zdenek Tmej will be the last piece of this mosaic.

What do  these documents have in common? The authors would had certainly preferred working somewhere else, however, they were put under the lock. It was not the reporter's tour but a trap where they could not shoot anything else. Thus they offer a view of the inevitable. And a look inside.......

As soon as I open the series Mošnov 1982 during the projection, the photographs make viewers laugh. Is it a laughter of catharsis? That would be my pleasure. But can I be sure? One thing is clear: my shots are not what they used to be.  As the time passed, these not very stylized examples of disintegration of the Soviet colonial empire hava become something way beyond ones imagination. Ordinary images seem to be some kind of  phantasmagoria staged with numerous extras in the costly scenes. Contemporaries alongside those not remembering war, both are laughing alike. But, looking at that period from todays perspective, what is it what is so funny to people of our times?

I was looking for the answer among the students of Secondary School of Arts in Ostrava. Matouš Burda: "... from that time, I actually remember nothing worth mentioning. For me, the eighties in Czechoslovakia are almost a symbol of greyness, disgust, boredom, and without any further importance in the scale of history; there was nothing that I could be fond of. " Magdalena Kotlárová adds that people not even speak of the eighties:" ... as discharged batteries their mouth would slow down because that time had to be horribly boring, it had no colours at all. "Kateřina Valentova: "So what we actually see in the exhibition hall? Uniforms, emptiness and loneliness and the last mentioned, in my opinion, should be the title of the exhibition. This strange loneliness is present everywhere. [...] The whole thing is a story about how the society swallowed and forgot the individual. "
For Sabina Bracháčková, these photographs show  " the soldiers in war." Is she wrong? Oh no! Because that war was given its common nicknames:, it was called next possible war by professional soldiers during the lessons of political training, in civilian life it was more common to hear the expression Cold War.

Acquiring the documents for prosecution of the regime turned the experience of general history into sharp self awareness. I was telling myself : "You want socialist realism? – Here you are! "Indeed, documentary photography does not exclude irony.

Unfortunately, it was not a way  to overcome reality... Hand delivered to addressee. Permit mail. Conscription order line G, number 017529: Show up on 1.10.1981 no later than 12:00 at Military unit 9687 Mosnov, Studenka railway station. Disobeying or abusing this order is a criminal offense.

Josef Moucha

Josef Moucha (Czech Republic)
Born in 1956, Hradec Králové. Photographer, photography theorist, author and curator of exhibitions, publicist. He studied film and television journalism at Charles University in Prague (1975-1980), then various jobs outside the field of his study. Thirty years ago,he opened his first exhibition. In 1990-1995 he was an editor of Revue Fotografie. Since the mid 90s  he has been a freelancer. He was a co-founder in 1991 of the Prague House of Photography. He is member of the editorial board of the bi-annual publication Imago (SK) since 1994. He has also participated in a number of projects together with others, notably on the publication: 2001 Alternative Culture: A Story of Czech Society 1945–1989; 2006 The Photogeny of Identity: The Memory of Czech Photography. Independently he published in 2004: a collection of essays on the history of photography and the technical image, Experience of the Arena, and also in 2004: the novella By the Way, story of a deserter from Czechoslovak People's Army.




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Curators: Jana Kapelová a Nina Vidovencová
27. 5. 2021 - 29. 8. 2021
Mirbach Palace / Accompanying action
19. 5. 2021 - 15. 7. 2021
Mirbach Palace / Exhibition
1. 5. 2021 - 31. 12. 2021
Pálffy Palace / Exhibition
Curators: Daniela Čarná, Vladislav Malast
23. 3. 2021 - 11. 7. 2021

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