Lovelies from the Files. Sudek and Sculpture
Josef Sudek (1896–1976) devoted a significant part of his professional career to photographing artworks – paintings, sculptures, prints, architecture, applied arts, but also exhibitions and artists’ studios. The rediscovery of this extensive and yet almost unknown part of his oeuvre is a result of a five-year research project of the Institute of Art History CAS initiated by Prof. Vojtěch Lahoda (1955–2019). The exhibition focuses particularly on sculptures – Sudek’s favourite subject which he photographed all throughout his career from the 1920s to 1970s. Sudek would call Gothic Madonnas and saints “lovelies” and he generally liked to photograph sculptures not only as part of commissions but also “for himself.” In addition to iconic photographs from the Cathedral of St. Vitus and the “Garden of the Lady Sculptor” (the sculptor Hana Wichterlová), the exhibitions presents photographs Sudek made for sculptors, art associations and publishers. Artifacts on display include not only original photographs but also negatives and reproductions in books and magazines of the period. The exhibition thus materializes the tension between the photograph as an original artifact and its reproduction, between the medium’s potential to bring art to the masses and the photograph as a unique artwork. Sudek's contemporaries-photographers also appear at the exhibition – Drahomír J. Růžička, Jaromír Funke, Jan Štenc, František Illek and Alexandr Paul, Josef Ehm and Tibor Honty are represented with one photograph each. In order to initiate a dialogue between Sudek's works and contemporary art, the curators invited Alexandra Vajd, Jiří Thýn and Hynek Alt to participate in the project. The exhibition is accompanied by an extensive, generously illustrated scholarly publication.Exhibition is organized in cooperation with the Institute of Art History, The Czech Academy of Sciences and The Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague.