If we tried to imagine Pavel Baňka’s creative life as a photograph, its inherently transient nature would probably show very soon. There would be a steady stream of portraits, staged figurative actions, spaces artificially created by the artist himself, images verging on the abstract, as well as landscapes and interiors with a spiritual dimension. Such an imaginary picture would then suggest a host of frameworks within which Baňka’s work might be arranged, based on various inner and external criteria – just as the motif of the frame itself keeps recurring throughout Baňka’s work. A biographical angle would show that ever since his beginnings as a self-taught photographer, Baňka has retained his determination to search and invent, thus keeping at bay any danger of artistic stagnation, while always putting new approaches to the test.
This book focuses mainly on Baňka’s early work and is divided into three areas entitled Construction, Figuration, and Abstraction. Construction refers to the way an image is constructed by light. Baňka photographs panels of mirrors placed in a landscape, he opens windows, thus reflecting and focusing the view into the interior. The mechanisms of light shining through or being reflected, as captured in Baňka’s photographs, refine both the vision and the awareness of space. In his kinetic, phased figurative pictures, Baňka’s wife, his daughter, or he himself then become the protagonists of a few second-long photographic actions: a simple movement creates a sequence, interconnecting personal and general levels. The term Abstraction is not used to suggest the notion that images lose their descriptiveness – rather, they shed the shackles of exact contours, becoming blurry and gaining evocativeness. In his experiments with exposure length, the immediate moment of a picture being taken is enriched by the time frame of the past as well as of the possible, just as Baňka himself seems to suggest when he speaks of “recollections” and “imaginations”.
Pavel Baňka, Reflection
Published by Schilt Publishing
Exhibition through Feburary 22, 2017
Peter Martensstraat 121
1087 NA Amsterdam