Robo Kočan belongs to the prominent representatives of Slovak photography for the past two decades. His work branches out in more directions: in the territories far beyond the borders of photography itself. Similarly like a painting artist, he creates imaginary worlds of images by using external flash illumination, templates and drawing with light. At the beginning, it was a black-and-white cycle of Dialogues (1990 – 1993) with a large number of communicating “Kočan‘s” and unusual titles such as Urgent Phone Call, Crucifixion with Sponsors, or I Met My Spirit. He developed photographic playfulness and joy by another set called By the Light into the Darkness (1993-1997). Robo’s fictional fauna and flora comes alive here, as if we were experiencing incredible dreams. In the cycle Shadows of Ghosts (1998 -) he is handling double expositions of negatives, creating mysterious landscapes with dancing characters reminiscent of extraterrestrial beings. Guarded Angel (1999 – 2001) is a unique cycle, in which Kočan’s daughter Laura in the role of the angel guides us through the typical archetypal places of our region. Since 2004, he has been working on the project of Beings of the old Glamorgan with Thistle Dragon, Crow Devourer or Ferny Man in the main roles, who are accompanying us on the way to the world of mysterious fairy tales. During his internship in Cleveland, USA, he produced the series of The Night-light Stories (2003). The shadow play of animal motives transfers us into the mystical stories of the ancient past. The series are informally continued in the set of Stories From the Other Side (2008), in which he talks about parallel worlds after our death and waiting for a new life. Another branch of Kočan’s work is dedicated to the portrait. Among several series we chose the Family Puzzle III (1995) for this presentation. Kočan applied the faces of himself, his spouse, his and his wife´s parents to each side of the children’s building blocks by using photo emulsion. Then the spectator enters to begin the process of “genetic mixing” of those faces by playing with the building blocks and combining them. In 1993, during his stay at Nottingham University, Robert Kočan created two more portrait cycles. In a black and white multicultural project called The Black and White Benetton, four girls (white, Indian, Chinese, and black) are confronted in the form of a collage. The set of portraits is then installed in the shape of a diamond – a symbol of woman in the size of 120 x 120 cm. The last cycle of portraits in which the faces of different races are mixed with aid of a colored sandwich is the project Love, Faith, Hope (1995). The exhibition also includes a project of mirror-connected images of the body parts of the Peculiar Beings (2006) and a space installation You disturbed me or I surrounded you (1993). The basis of the presentation is a ten meter long panorama of a park at night where a lot of little Kočan’s are moving. This image is inside a dark cylinder, with the author’s self portraits on the perimeter. The project was created during his stay at the Dijon Art School and was also enhanced by sound.
Kočan’s works have an incredible unity of development, each new project is a deployment and shifting of the previous one. Few artists are able to build their programs in such way.