Libuše Jarcovjáková
Schwarze Jahre - Berliner Tagebücher 1985 - 1990
30. 9. - 22. 11. 2018
European Month of Photography Berlin 2018
Tschechisches Zentrum Berlin, Wilhelmstraße 44, Berlin

EVOKATIV by Libuše Jarcovjáková

The street, night, sex, work, alcohol, love, and depression. Libuše Jarcovjáková’s photos are captured with a self-destructive lack of restraint. She is unafraid of imperfection, she portrays the world around her, other people, and her feelings of apparent hopelessness with unwavering honesty. The book features photographs taken between 1970 and 1989 in Prague, in communist Czechoslovakia during a dark period of political oppression and lack of personal freedom. Libuše Jarcovjáková’s photographs, on the other hand, recount freedom, express fluidity and atmosphere, and bear an authentic and clear-eyed witness to the life of an artist. 

Curated by Lucie Černá

The oppressive atmosphere of communist Czechoslovakia forced the photographer Libuše Jarcovjáková (b. 1952) to flee to West Berlin. However, life was not exactly easy even here.
She knew no German and had no friends or popular places to hang out. She lacked the warmth of the human body, proximity and understanding. Against the background of a divided city she set out to search for herself in an attempt to discover whether her emigration had really led to internal and external freedom. She looked for faces and places that might help her understand her new reality and embrace her. At night she walked through the dark city and frequented bars and pubs, and during the day she undertook arduous work for little money. She battled with loneliness, but all of this time she recorded everything in photographs and words.
The title of this exhibition, Schwarze Jahre (The Black Years), is intended to evoke a feeling of sadness and hopelessness. But what effect do Jarcovjáková’s photographs have today? Do they continue to tell the same story? Thirty years on we do not see the desperation and pain. In her intuitive snapshots there is strength, confidence and a dazzling photographic concept. The aesthetic and dynamic of the images that appear as though inadvertently and impulsively contain an order and harmony within them. They speak to the viewer and force her to question what might be concealed behind the image. Jarcovjáková has a clear idea of what to shoot and how, and allows the viewer into the world of her inner being, the very core of her selfhood, by turning her gaze back upon herself and shedding her soul in front of the viewer.

Modern prints / Josef Horázný
Framing / Petra Eis Pajunková
Graphic design / Marek Fanta

Partners of the exhibition / Ministry of Culture Czech Republic, Tschechisches Zentrum Berlin, European Month of Photography Berlin