Vojtech V. Slama – Colorjoy – 29. 11. 2013 – 12. 01. 2014
The poetics and kind of romance but also playfulness and intimacy that are blending in the work of Vojtech V. Sláma are these days on display in The Brno House of Arts. The loose photographic serie of author notoriously working in the square middle-format, had developed in time span of approximately 10 years. The name of the exhibition and accompanying catalogue really summs up the atmosphere the author managed to capture and invites the visitor to enjoy the visual experience.
Already in 2004 at the time being a student of photography on The Institute of Creativ Photography in Opava had Vojtech Slama showed with his serie Wolf’s Honey a strong fixation on auto-documentary that have developed in the next 9 years. Colorjoy makes you feel blissfull, melancholically but also joyfull. It is a diary of impressions and a visual novella made by the method of authomatic recording. Although it is composed of mostly documentary record from authors life the definition is rather complicated. His documenting method lies in the strong subjectivity and in the primary self-reflexing of the picture before capturing the reality in front of the camera. He is aiming to capture things more the way he feels them then how they are or seem. This frame is being created by already standardized format in his work and in Colorjoy also by the specific use of colored filters. This is also a result of loose associations or coincidences by using a found PET bottle or working with expired rolls of film.
Traveling, coincidences and life itself is one of the strongest inspirations for Slama when he explains:
„During one of my trips across India, while waiting for the bus, my Rolleicord got stolen. The chaiwallah started shouting: Thief! Thief! Thief! At last... I wasn’t a photographer anymore. I could start not to photographs, not live through the camera. / But still had had unexposed film in my backpack. / A week later I went to bazaar and my friend from grocery store lent me a Bakelite camera Agfa Clack 6×6. Its lens was like the glass top of a chidren’s watch, two f-stops, two shutter speeds, the viewfinder had fallen off. I bought some more rolls of 6 x 6 film Agfachrome 100 RS with an expiry date in November 1992. Plastic bottles and various plastic films found in the garbage were good enough photographic filters, they were „Indian enough“. / Over time I started using other cameras too and then returned to Rolleicord and Flexaret. What I’m trying to say here is that when for a little while I finally forgot that I was a photographer and began to play. I found a new way of recording things that really mattered. The loss of my camera in India led to a method that I have eventually came to apply in „our“ world too.“
The serie Colorjoy consists not only from the sun-drenched pictures from India but also parts of American Tourister serie or Hajenka-Pulkov serie, set in the typically „czech“ environment. His more ironic tone in Hajenka-Pulkov is a bit differentiated, nevertheless his expression becomes so integrated that in context it does not disturb the coherency of the continuous serie. The media of photography is fully present in authors life so even apparently staged photographs (such as portraits and self-portraits) seems authentic in relation to the snapshots and photographs of architecture.
This visual diary is fulfilled with the actual feelings and emotions rather than events and it acquaints the viewer with the sweet poetics of more-or-less ordinary moments, which can recall on the mood from older czechoslovakian movies. Yet it would be a mistake to take Slamas work as a citation since he finds in his subtly surreallized forms a visual language of his own.
We can mark Colorjoy as an ending to one era in the authors work, since he himself says he would like to objectify his own work after the experiences with preparing the book and the exhibition when he had to re-live his memories again and felt the predicaments of his own subjective forms.