Jan Saudek »
A return to his roots
Exhibition: – 23 Dec 2020
Galerie David Guiraud
5, rue du Perche
"A return to his roots"
Exhibition: 6 November – 23 December 2020
Opening reception: Thursday, 5 November 2020
Galerie David Guiraud is delighted to present an exhibition of photographs by Jan Saudek, a renowned Czech artist born in 1935. The 37 original prints selected for this exhibition, most of which are period prints, were produced in the 1970s and 1980s, the Prague native’s most creative years. This is the second time that the gallery has had the opportunity to host an exhibition of Saudek’s works from a major French private collection. The distinctive colour palette in the photographs is the result of the artist’s hand-applied ink tinting technique, which makes each print one-of-a-kind. The painted colours highlight the pictorial specificity of the masterfully crafted prints.
This extremely rich collection allows the gallery to present an emblematic overview of the artist’s obsessions. It includes photographs taken in his cellar, and later in his studio-workshop, of women of all ages, often with voluptuous figures and who are erotically complicit; narrative scenes made up of several images, sometimes combined into a single print; stunning playing cards made with one or two models; as well as reminders of the passage of time, made possible by Saudek’s long-standing relationships with some of his models that spanned some ten or twenty years.
Certainly, the secretive nature of the closely watched, marginalised “pornocrat” further fuelled his dedication to his art. With his strong beliefs, he never ceased to make his most intimate inspirations visible.
Saudek was inspired to take up photography after seeing Edward Steichen’s The Family of Man (1955) and quickly became a part of the social circles that included Alfons Mucha, Lewis Carroll, Hans Bellmer, Duane Michals, Robert Mapplethorpe, etc.
The photographs taken by the lively Saudek are a celebration of life, freedom, sexual desire, sensual emotions and family ties, without ignoring the ill will and violence that people intentionally wreak on one another.
Women are the centre of gravity of the alchemist’s universe, and he undresses them to better demonstrate their sublime grace. He is fascinated by the body. It is the essential truth of each living being. The body is where the senses abound. The body is that which is most impenetrable to ideology. Yet, as Saudek knows, none can escape the supreme law of the finite nature of the human body: ageing and death. Each body bears witness to human nature.