AGO presents photographer Josef Sudek
25.09.2012 / 17:37
Exhibition to feature 175 works in Canada’s first retrospective of the artist.
For over 60 years, the legendary Czech photographer Josef Sudek created inventive and poetic black and white images, capturing through shadow and light the atmosphere of his city and his studio. Beginning Oct. 3, 2012 the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) presents Canada’s first retrospective of the artist in Josef Sudek: Legacy of a Deeper Vision, on view until April 7, 2013.
Filling three adjacent gallery spaces of the AGO, Josef Sudek: The Legacy of a Deeper Vision brings together over 175 photographs, including his acclaimed pigment prints and early studies, to chart the artist’s diverse work. Born in 1896 in then-Bohema (now the Czech Republic), Josef Sudek seldom travelled, spending most of his life in Prague. After losing his right arm on the Italian Front during the First World War, Sudek returned to Prague to study photography and to open his own studio. Success came quickly through commercial work, but it was his moody photographs of the streets, churches and gardens of Prague that earned him the title ‘The Poet of Prague’. During the Second World War, Sudek retreated into his studio finding new inspiration in the theme, The Window of My Studio. During the Soviet era in the 1950s he once more began to explore Prague through the lens of an antique panoramic camera.
Curated by the AGO’s Maia-Mari Sutnik, curator of special photography projects, and drawing on works from the AGO’s significant holdings of nearly 1000 Sudek prints, the exhibition spotlights both signature and lesser-known works by the artist; from his early details of St. Vitus’s Cathedra, and the uncanny images of The Magic Garden to the landmark Glass Labyrinths images from 1968-1972.
“Sudek was a continuously innovative photographer, whose explorations of various techniques and materials set him apart from his contemporaries,” said Sutnik. “The key to appreciating Sudek’s work is to take note of his insightful use of light and dark illuminations, which add a distinctly moody and poetic tone to his subjects.”
In conjunction with the exhibition, the AGO announces Josef Sudek: The Legacy of a Deeper Vision, a corresponding publication edited by Sutnik. Published in hardcover by Hirmer Verlag, the book illustrates 195 plates from the exhibition, a detailed chronology, as well as essays and comments from international Sudek writers and scholars. Contributors include Sutnik herself as well as Dr. Antonin Dufek, photo-historian and curator at the Moravian Gallery, Brno; Richard Rhodes, critic and editor of Canadian Art Magazine; Geoffrey James, photographer; and John Banville, the Booker Prize winning author and Sutnik. Included is a tribute to the late Anna Fárová, who provided a detailed Sudek chronology. This rare volume is available for purchase at shopAGO for $63.95.
More information on exhibition on AGO web page.