Overlooked until recently, now on show in Frankfurt/Main, Germany, the Czech artist Jaromír Funke (1896–1945) pushed in his time the boundaries of photography. Experiments with light and shadow, reflections and transparencies: Jaromír also counts as one of the most important representatives of Czech Avant-garde photography. Often ahead of his time, he sourced impulses from Cubism, New Objectivity, Abstract Art and Surrealism. The Fotografie Forum Frankfurt presents his work displaying more than 70 photographs from the period between the 1920s and 1930s.
Jaromír Funke started photographing at the age of twelve when his father gave him his first camera. After receiving his high school diploma in 1915 he studied medicine, law and philosophy before turning entirely to photography after World War I. Next to his early landscape images adhering to the style of romantic pictorialism, he started creating modern works from 1923: minimalistic compositions with plates, vacuum cleaner tubes and glass bottles, still lifes with glass objects, light bulbs and star fish. The shadows of objects, not the objects themselves, start to take center-stage in his work.
Funke was inspired by the pioneers of abstract photography Alvin Langdon Coburn, Francis Bruguière or Jaroslav Rössler while he quickly developed his own unique signature style. His goal was to “highlight two objects, contrast two realities, combine different elements in a single photo”, he wrote in 1935. At the same time, Funke scrutinized and explored the possibilities of photography as the author and publisher of magazines and books, as a relentless organizer and as teacher of photography at institutions such as the National Academy of Art in Prague.
Jaromír Funke, Avant-garde photographer
January 27, April 29, 2018
Fotografie Forum Frankfurt
Braubachstraße 30 – 32
60311 Frankfurt am Main