Joint exhibitions of authorial duos are a quite common phenomenon, and it often occurs that such unifications are established thanks to mutual ideological ways of thinking, or contrariwise, formal contrasts, or simply put, personal affinity. Exhibits of collaborative artworks are rather rare, and the reason may be that in a certain sense, they withstand the basic attribute of fine arts – artistic individuality. Today’s exhibition, which goes by the name “…from the other side…”, belongs exactly to this kind of presentation. For this exhibition, authors of the middle generation have come together – photographer Robo Kočan, and painter and graphic artist Zbyněk Prokop. Robo Kočan, coming from Poprad and graduating from the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava, has had a rich artistic career and is a member of the powerful generation of Slovak photographers. Zbyňek Prokop (born 1962), who comes from Košice, does not need to be introduced to the city’s inhabitants – he graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague and is a long-time teacher at the Department of Fine Arts and Intermedia at Faculty of Fine Arts at the Technical University of Košice. During the 90s, both of these authors have been showing off their works in this museum, on separate exhibits.
The works presented do not explicitly represent their creations as being made jointly. It’s an original synthesis of two media – painting and photography, which have been created within their own authorial program. The idea of unifying these two media into one has emerged during a workshop “Génius loci” last year in Levoča, which has held its sixth year dedicated to photography. The spontaneous experiment with digital overlapping of Prokop’s paintings and Kočan’s photographs, with an authentic accompaniment of sounds, has evolved into an exhibitory project which can be seen and heard here, today. The first position is taken by an installation of chamber “lightboxes”, the second one is taken by video projections, accompanied by striking sound effects, and among other things, they substantiate the individual dynamic process of painting and photography overlapping. Prokop’s abstract paintings of dark worlds, perceived somewhere on the other side of our inner conscience, alongside with Kočan’s imaginary, and quite literally, staged sceneries – together, they create autonomous works, and thanks to this unity, the force of their expression is multiplied. The ideal connection of form and content, strengthened with an accompaniment of sounds, creates a meditative atmosphere which usually precedes the moment of taking a peek beyond the curtain of reality. The series of “lightboxes” is distinctively enclosed by a motive of a pair looking into a vast, obscure space, borrowed from a Caspar David Friedrich painting.
The works presented do not represent the ultimate result of the cooperation between the two authors. They only indicate a direction to the next, maybe even more fruitful cooperation, and do perhaps carry a certain inspirational message.
Curator text for the exhibit “…from the other side…” The Vojtech Löffler Museum, Košice, 2010