Václav Stratil


gandy gallery

4 + 1

December 1997 - January 1998

The Prague's Gandy Gallery is five....

The meeting between Nadine Gandy and Václav Stratil, a well knowm Czech contemporary artist, was an ardent and symbolic moment in the history of the Gandy Gallery where will be exhibited the latest work of the artist: 4 + 1 photographs.

Born in 1950, Václav Stratil during the last two decades became one of the most active personalities of Prague's artistic community.
In 1977 he fonded the artists' and intellectuals community,"Huhaba", Stratil developed a unique and personal work inspired from various techniques, such as set productions, performance, drawing, writing....
Václav Stratil undertook photographic work in the early '90's with a series of self -portraits in which he expresses the absurdity and pain of his own living condition as a man and an artist in the universe.
His "four photos + one" are also self-portraits but a couple appears...to tell another story.

Vaclav Stratil was introduced in France by Nadine Gandy at the "International Meeting of Photographie" in Arles in 1995, and at ,"MAC" in Marseilles in 1996 in the exhibit "L/art au corps" Also, in Paris in 1996 the "Art World", featured him in a solo show and exhibit.
In 1997 at the New York's Gramercy Art Fair his solo show, organized by the gallery, was well received by collectors.



"The series of double photographic portraits began in 1995-1997. Luba Kmetová, a painter, was my friend and there was a mysterious love between us. We flirted a lot and from time to time we went to a (public) photographer's studio where we had our photographs taken together. The result was a series of five photographs, which we put together in a private album and then decided to have enlarged considerably (in black and white). Quality framing this year a was the final step.

The began to behave like paintings.
They are formulated individually.

1) "Lovers photographed in a photographer's studio"
2) "Bald couple"
3) "Bride and groom without clothes"
4) "Slovak emigrants from the 1920s in the United States waiting for the official decision"
5) "Beau cou"

These are small stories, remote and intimate at the same time.

But I was surprised by the retroactive coupling that emanated from the ready-made photographs. Anonymity, the fact that we are strange, different, as if we were substitutable. Stopped in time. I don't know if old or young. We can be moved. I don't know if we are beautiful or ugly. With a strange identity and at the same time with an empty whole that is. in us. existential or neutral. In short, neither. Perhaps we are in an interspace that does not exist.

The exhibition 4 PHOTOS is designed for four double photographic portraits. 

The number of paintings is not accidental; four photographs signify a certain symmetrical delimitation of the gallery space, or of its lower part. The fifth photograph, pretending to be a mistake, is an individual, not a double portrait, and will be installed on its own in the upper part of the gallery. It is called "Beau cou". 

The title 4 PHOTOS+1 is at the same time a technical mark chosen in an aesthetic way. The principle of the mark is in harmony with the content of the exhibition. The series of exhibitions I call "is based on collaboration with other authors. So I do the different projects with someone else. It's about the dissolution of authorship, the non-presentation of one's own ego. No signature to a certain extent. I try to work with a monogrammed metaphor. If my authorship and that of my partner are dissolved at the same time, things end up in an authorial interspace that becomes more of a mental field, a space for exchanging information."