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Open Territory


Libor Fojtík, Jana Ilková, Martin Kollar, Ema Lančaričová, Lucia Nimcová, Ivana Palečková, Daniel Šperl

Exhibition view, »Open Territory«, 2023. © Andrew Phelps

»Open Territory« is a group exhibition of seven positions in documentary photography, each focusing on various aspects of everyday life in Czechia and Slovakia. While the positions in this group exhibition primarily document the outside world, the styles, perspectives, and artistic methods of these artists bear a touch of the surrealism tradition that was developed between the two wars — a tradition that inspires many to maintain a realistic approach in documenting the outside world while encouraging the creation of profoundly odd narratives through an innovative juxtaposition of objects, people, and spaces.
The exhibition begins with Martin Kollar’s »Provisional Arrangement«, a series that explores the negotiation of the state of temporariness and the disintegration of permanence, inviting viewers to reflect on the impermanence and uncertainty of life. Jana Ilkova’s »County« retains the ordinary, odd moments of life across the region, while Ema Lančaričová with »Ramble« captures moments of disruption and invites viewers to embrace the unexpected, encouraging them to confront the unpleasant that they may wish to forget. Libor Fojtík, with »Czech Tramps«, on the other hand, introduces an offshoot subculture of tramps in Bohemia and Moravia, who have found refuge in a unique collective fantasy. In this context, Ivana Palečková, with ‘Public Spaces’, presents a captivating exploration of these remnants in a seemingly evacuated city, raising questions about the human impact on public space in a changing societal landscape. In contrast, Daniel Šperl’s »Homo Pragensis« brings us back to the exhilarating mass of the public in a city that teeters between the real and the imaginary. Finally, Lucia Nimcová’s »Olena«, a movie, playfully narrates a story of a twisted life that runs deep in history.
The artists in this group exhibition explore a range of subjects, each employing distinct and diverse documentary styles. Together, they navigate a shared realm — a vast and expansive territory where boundaries become blurred. »Open Territory« serves as a space where the imposing weight of stark reality gives way to a whimsical and fantastical force, creating a surreal and imaginative engagement with reality.

Libor Fojtík

Libor Fojtík, »On the T. O Maniwaki Settlement. Tramp Jamboree«, aus der Serie: »Czech Tramps«, 2018

Jana Ilková

Jana Ilková, »Untitled«, aus der Serie: »County«, 2022

Martin Kollar

Martin Kollar, aus der Serie: »Provisional Arrangement«, 2014–2016

Ema Lančaričová

Ema Lančaričová, »Ramble_Piestany«, 2020

Lucia Nimcová

Lucia Nimcová, aus: »Olena«

Ivana Palečková

Ivana Palečková, »Public Species«, 2019

Daniel Šperl

Daniel Šperl, Praha, 2010, aus der Serie »Homo Pragensis«
Curated by Motahar Amiri