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Yancey Richardson Gallery : Jitka Hanzlová : Water That Dreams


Yancey Richardson Gallery presents Water That Dreams, an exhibition of photographs by Czech born, German based artist Jitka Hanzlová. Selected from Hanzlova’s extended project WATER 2013-2019, the 46 intimate color photographs are presented for the first time in the U.S.

Known for her poetic approach to landscape, portraiture and still life, in her series WATER 2013-2019, Hanzlová has turned her attention towards the essential and the elemental, exploring water in all its different states of being: liquid, gaseous, vapor. The exhibition features selections from six chapters of WATER: Ur, Ice, Clouds, Human Dark, Human Light, and Silent Blue.

Water That Dreams simultaneously conveys the beauty of the sea, its fragility, and its vulnerability. In this time of climate crisis, Hanzlová also exposes the effects of human intrusion: pieces of trash float in the blue of the Indian Ocean, melting icebergs shimmer in the seas of Iceland, a dead sea turtle floats in paradise, a stingray swims in a cloudy sea. In the photographs, a quiet unease emerges amidst the sumptuous appeal of the natural world: what is revealed in the images is endangered. Her visual language is both an appreciation of nature and a warning, documenting a world in flux.

As the artist states, “We originate from water; we consist to a large extent of water. Without water any life would be unthinkable. Water is, however, without its own shape and form. In the gaseous and solid state, it creates its own and always unique shapes and forms. Its paths are its own paths – as if it would know where to go… Since the modernization of the world, the elements have gradually lost their claim to wholeness. Thinking, ethics, industrial needs, all of modern life seem to function independently of the elements.”

“Water might be considered Hanszlová’s most transgressive work to date, self-referential and personal, where the artist manifests herself as a poetess of images and a marine lover,” writes art historian and curator Adam Dubak in an essay from Hanszlová’s 2020 exhibition at the National Gallery of Prague. “Each image in Hanzlová’s photographic oeuvre witnesses an initiation of sorts; it is a portrait of innocence, a breath of life.”


About Jitka Hanzlová
Born in 1958 in Czechoslovakia, Jitka Hanzlová left her native country in 1982 for Germany where she studied photography at the visual communication department of the University of Essen. In 1993 she was awarded the Dr. Otto-Steinert-Preis by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Photographie, in 1995 she received the DG BANK Frankfurt scholarship, in 2003 the Grand Prix Arles, and in 2007 the Paris Photo Prize for Contemporary Photography. She was twice a nominee for The Citibank Photography Prize in London. Hanzlová has exhibited worldwide with noteworthy solo exhibitions including the National Gallery of Prague, Kunstverein in Frankfurt, Deichtorhallen in Hamburg, Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, Fotomuseum Winterthur, Museum Folkwang in Essen, Fundación MAPFRE in Madrid, and National Gallery in Edinburgh. She continues to live and work in Essen, Germany.


Jitka Hanzlová : Water That Dreams
from April 13 to May 26, 2023
Opening Reception on April 13, 6-8 p.m.
Yancey Richardson Gallery
525 W 22nd St
New York, NY 10011

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