Experts on photography agree that the work of Ivan Pinkava represents a distinct phenomenon in contemporary Czech photography. Indeed, his well-defined and very clearly recognizable style of image-making has become his programme to a certain extent. The composition of Pinkava’s photographs and their colours, using an almost monochromatic palette, seem to conform to a principle of simplicity which is at the same time a carrier of aesthetic qualities. In his works we find inspiration from classical art, particularly painting, which is apparent in more than just their approach to image construction. The final photograph also bears a figurative meaning, as the author suggests in his titles, which often refer to biblical and mythological parables. At the same time, there is an element of surprise by means of contrasting connections or the directness of the statement.
Pavel Dvořák has commented on the work of Ivan Pinkava: “Pinkava’s works are actually analogues to altar images, though their goal is not to depict biblical situations but to revive and retrieve them. Nor does Pinkava want just to depict in his images, he wants to let viewers re-live the seen. The medium he uses simultaneously helps and limits him in doing this. Photography, actually, works as a kind of semi-transparent mirror which seems only to reflect our world but at the same time allows us to see somewhere beyond the human experience through it. Archaic thinking – and Pinkava’s thinking is indisputably archaic in this sense – has referred to mythology as its prefiguration, its hint. Again, it is necessary to mention that this prefiguration does not need to be blindly followed. It does not suppress the imagination or a free creative life. Archaic thinking in this sense revives the experience of the past and organically invites it to participate in current problems.”
Ivan Pinkava (1961- )
studied photography at the Film and Television Faculty, Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (FAMU). After the change of regime, he was a co-founder of the Prague House of Photography. Since the end of the 1980s Pinkava has exhibited in numerous group and solo exhibitions throughout the world, and has published several monographs. His work is represented in international collections such as the National Gallery Prague, the Bibliothèque Nationale de France in Paris, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.