Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Upcoming Exhibition - Viktor Kolář, Canada, 1968-1973

Exhibition Dates: January 21 – February 18
Opening Reception: Saturday, January 21, 2-5pm

Born (7 September 1941) and raised in Ostrava, Kolář fled to Austria soon after the 1968 Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia. Shortly after relocating, he discovered that Canada was seeking “young and healthy people” to immigrate, so he and a friend accepted plane tickets to Vancouver. Living in a cheap Chinatown hotel, they attended a six-month English language course and Kolář began to photograph his new surroundings with his father’s old Leica camera.

 Montreal, 1972 © Viktor Kolář / Courtesy of Stephen Bulger Gallery

His first job was working in the mines in an isolated region of northern British Columbia. This arduous manual labour didn’t provide the true taste of freedom that Kolář yearned for, so after six months he returned to Vancouver and used the money he had saved to purchase a new Leica M4 from a shop on Granville Street. At this time, Kolář shifted his image-making away from generic landscapes and concentrated on producing photographs that captured his bewilderment of his adopted surroundings. He eventually made his way to Toronto but his photographs were deemed too personal by the editors he met. Once he began working as a technician at the BGM photo lab, it enabled him time to pursue his own passion while introducing him to other photographers sympathetic to his vision, namely Michael Semak.

Montreal, 1972 © Viktor Kolář / Courtesy of Stephen Bulger Gallery

For a period of two years, Kolář’s new contacts fostered confidence which resulted in a grant to make new work, exhibit his work, and enabled him to move to Montreal where for the subsequent two years he was able to better pursue his photography. During this time he corresponded and met with Cornell Capa, who in turn introduced him to a wider circle of supporters. By 1973 Kolář longed for home, and he returned to Czechoslovakia soon after an amnesty for returnees was adopted. He initially worked as a manual labourer, then as a stagehand for a theatre which reintroduced him to a creative circle. Eventually, Kolář became a professor at the Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts (FAMU) in Prague, where he has since been a key influence on the generations of photographers to follow him. Kolář is considered one of the most important exponents of Czech documentary photography.

Montreal, 1972 © Viktor Kolář / Courtesy of Stephen Bulger Gallery

“Canada, 1968-1973” is comprised of black and white photographs taken by Kolář across Canada, and offers the viewer an impassioned eye on Canadian life during a period of change. Kolář’s austere compositions evoke a time of modernization against a backdrop of traditional life, and captures details that, at the time, only an outsider would see as profound.

Vancouver, 1969 © Viktor Kolář / Courtesy of Stephen Bulger Gallery

The work of Viktor Kolář has been exhibited internationally and is included in such collections as the Museum of Contemporary Photography (Chicago), the International Center of Photography (New York), Maison Européenne de la Photographie (Paris), the Museum of Decorative Arts (Prague), and the Victoria and Albert Museum (London). Some of his recent exhibitions include retrospectives at the Sprengel Museum (Hannover), Galerie u Kaumenného zvonu (Prague), and the Starmach Gallery (Kraków). He has had seven monographs published of his work including Human (2015), Canada, 1968-1973 (2013), and Ostrava (2010).

Book Launch – The Long Night of Mégantic/La longue nuit de Mégantic by Michel Huneault

Design: MV LevievanderMeer
ISBN 978 90 5330 876 9
Format: 19 x 24.5 cm
Bilingual: English/French
152 pages with 49 photos in full colour
Postface by Laurence Butet-Roch
£27.50 | $40 USD | €35 | $52 CAD
Schilt Publishing, Amsterdam

Book Launch: Saturday, January 28, 1-4pm
Readings by Laurence Butet-Roch: Saturday, January 28, 2pm

July 7, 2014, starts the recorder. “One year after your death, the pain remains just as strong”, begins Louise. The previous year, Louise’s daughter Andrée-Anne, who was working at the Musi-Café, was the first person reported missing after a train transporting shale oil exploded in downtown Lac-Mégantic. 47 people were killed instantly, making it Canada’s deadliest train disaster in almost 150 years.

Michel Huneault arrived in Lac-Mégantic for the first time 20 hours after the explosion. He would continue visiting the community a dozen more times during the following year, photographing inside and outside the damaged area, renamed the red zone. The impressions gathered through research and through intimate discussions with locals loomed over him while he was documenting the calm eeriness of the town, where everything had changed one fateful night at 1:15 am.

Before devoting himself full time to photography in 2008, Michel Huneault (1976) worked in the international development field for a dozen of years, a profession that took him to over 20 countries, including one full year in Kandahar. He holds a MA in Latin American Studies from the University of California, Berkeley, where he was a Rotary World Peace Fellow, researching on the role of collective memory in large scale traumatic recovery. At Berkeley, he was a student and teaching assistant of Magnum photographer Gilles Peress, and afterwards held an apprenticeship position with him in New York. Currently, his practice focuses on development related issues, on personal and collective traumas, and complex geographies. This work, often mixing photography with audio/video elements, includes his project on Lac-Mégantic, which won the prestigious Dorothea Lange – Paul Taylor Prize in 2015, and the CONTACT Portfolio Review Award in 2014. "Post Tohoku", another long term project looking at the tsunami impact in Japan, received a Prix Antoine-Désilet and was nominated for the Prix Pictet in 2016, the same year it was also exhibited by Le Labo during CONTACT. Michel's work has been shown in various venues in Canada, France, UK, USA, Japan and the Netherlands, among other countries. He lives in Montreal.
FREE Saturday Afternoon Screenings at CAMERA
3:00 PM

Join us on Saturday afternoons for a series of films selected by our featured artist, Viktor Kolář.

January 21
Dir. Lars von Trier (Denmark: 2011), 130 min.

January 28
Dir. Ingmar Bergman (Sweden: 1963), 95 min.

February 4
Dir. Michael Haneke (USA: 2007), 111 min.

February 11
Dir. Denis Villeneuve (USA: 2013), 153 min.

February 18
Dir. Jim Jarmusch (USA: 2000), 116 min

Only films in languages other than English will be shown with subtitles. If you require subtitles for English language films we can accommodate a special screening the same day at noon provided we receive 48 hours notice.

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