The Budapest Photo Festival is presenting a retrospective exhibition of the work of Czech photographer Jan Saudek. The exhibition has been organised in collaboration with Kunsthalle Budapest and features a broad range of Saudek's photographs.
The Work and Life of Jan Saudek
Jan Saudek is a renowned Czech photographer, who gained international recognition during the 1990s. His photographs are known for their combination of photography and painting, and they have an old-worldly atmosphere of earlier photography studios.
Saudek's interest in photography began when he was in secondary school. He was drawn to the medium after being influenced by Edward Steichen's book and exhibition, The Family of Man, which he encountered in the 1960s. After travelling to the United States, Saudek began exhibiting his work overseas, before returning to his native Czechoslovakia, where he worked in secret, given the dictatorial climate of the country.
Saudek's art has been described as both ornate and grandiloquent, with complex scenes and themes that express the duality of both human nature and the world. He was influenced by his trauma from witnessing the Nazi occupation of Prague as well as his agitated love life. His photographs feature beautifully shaped and old bodies, eroticism, frivolous burlesques and are a metaphor for life.
Saudek's photographs initially faced criticism for being clichéd and kitschy, but they have since become iconic pieces of photographic history. He has more than 400 solo exhibitions, and his work is featured in many of the world's most prestigious collections.
The retrospective of Jan Saudek's works features a range of themes, including sensual nudes and richly detailed scenes. The exhibition aims to showcase Saudek's world, which is depicted in his many iconic works shown at the Budapest Kunsthalle. The popular exhibition features works that are often conflicting with each other and thereby signaling the artist's view on life.
Questions & Answers
Who is Jan Saudek? Jan Saudek is a contemporary Czech photographer known for his baroquely sultry and hand-coloured sensual nudes, who has become famous worldwide in the 1990s for his erotic photographs blending photography with the world of painting.
What are some of the recurring themes in Jan Saudek's photographs? The recurring themes in Jan Saudek's photographs are the collision between the innocence of childhood and disillusioned adulthood, as well as the duality present in all of us, the good and the bad, the sublimity of the soul and the lewdness of the body.
What influenced Jan Saudek's way of looking at the world? Jan Saudek's way of looking at the world was greatly influenced by his horrendous experience of the Second World War, which he witnessed along with his twin brother, including the Nazi occupation of Prague and the monstrosity of the concentration camps.
What did Jan Saudek use to take his photographs? Jan Saudek worked with his medium format 6x6 Flexaret camera in the 1960s.
Where did Jan Saudek have his first foreign exhibition? Jan Saudek's first foreign exhibition was organized at the Indiana University in Bloomington after he returned to Prague from the United States, where he met Hugh Edwards, the curator of the Art Institute of Chicago who encouraged his artistic endeavours.
What is the focus of the retrospective showcasing Jan Saudek's works at the Budapest Photo Festival? The retrospective showcasing Jan Saudek's works presented at the Budapest Photo Festival focuses on his world as reflected by his works showcased at Budapest Kunsthalle, a world not devoid of contradictions.
What are some of Jan Saudek's well-known photographs? One of Jan Saudek's most well-known photographs is "Life" (1966), where a half-naked muscular man is hugging a newborn baby with touching gentleness.
How did Jan Saudek become more well known by the end of the 1970s? By the end of the 1970s, Jan Saudek became well known, mainly thanks to his foreign exhibitions and publications.