Exhibition: 9 Feb – 30 Apr 2006
Alsovo nabrezi 12
110 00 Praha
Václav Jirásek (b. 1965 in Karviná) belongs to the intermediate generation of Czech artists who have selected photography as their chosen medium. At the instigation of Galerie Rudolfinum, he has now completed a special project, to be presented to the viewing public from February to April 2006, the sole theme of which is "dying" factories. In a sizeable ensemble of roughly seventy to eighty large-format colour photographs (with dimensions of up to two metres in length), Jirásek attempts to document the interiors of decaying industrial buildings, primarily metallurgic ones, in their full monumentality, dilapidation, disorder and present desertedness (e.g. the CKD Blansko engineering works, the Trinec ironworks, the Poldi Kladno steel mill et al.). These works touch upon the highly compelling theme of the disappearance of these "cathedrals of labour", symbols of progress since the early 19th century, which later, in the ideology and propaganda of the Communist regime played a particularly significant, if nevertheless ambiguous, role. Within the process of their present metamorphoses, we can quite clearly discern, in addition, the depth of the changes that have occurred since Communism's fall in 1989. The deserted spaces of manufacturing halls remain, to this day, evidence of the environmental devastation caused by their industrial production, yet as well bear forth traces of the need, at least to some degree, to render these life-threatening working environments a sense of humanity. Václav Jirásek strives to underscore the monumentality of industrial buildings, as a reflection of humanity's ability to reach for the very bounds of the human dimensions, yet at the same time not to avoid depicting the negative aspects of this process.