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Home Exhibitions Central European House of Photography Štefan Komorný / SK / Fotografie 1. - 26.6.2016
Štefan Komorný / SK / Fotografie 1. - 26.6.2016
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Štefan Komorný, a photographer, cameraman, teacher of film and photography, a native of Skalica living permanently at Gbely in Záhorie, ranks among the leading figures of the contemporary Slovak photography scene. Influenced by the flourishing Czech art scene, he acquired mastery particularly during his studies and subsequent work for Barrandov Studios in Prague. His entire artistic career has reflected his professional involvement in two parallel areas. One is cinematography including animation, feature and documentary films and commercials. The other is photography with which he has been concerned for more than four decades. After completing his studies, he opened up a new chapter in his photography, not in a conventional but in an innovative, ambivalent sense, introducing new refinement into technology.

In 1991 his first works appeared under the title Interferences. They were created on the basis of classic films and slides, and have repeatedly proved the photographer’s skill in dealing with an extremely wide colour range. They are characterised by a strong static quality as staged single works, diptychs, triptychs or more numerous series thatexplore the multiplication or mirroring of the image projected on to sophisticated symmetrical or asymmetrical compositions. When arranging compositions, he works on the level of abstract geometric connections, and the intensity of their vibration effect is accompanied by a distinctive structure. The photographs bear distinctive features of classic works, having their morphological and colour attributes. The concept of these works created by this technique has been reflected in the large-format photographs with the dimensions 100 cm x 100 cm.

With the advent of digital photography, his works from 2001 are fundamentally different from the previous in form and content. Creating a new series called Transparency, he joined the properties of the classic and modern technology to develop the digital form and experiment with postproduction. He rejected external reality, analysing it primarily, disintegrating it into individual elements, and then putting it together in a new stylised form. He projected objects by thelayering and repetition of various compositional sequences, allowing them to show through and mutually penetrate in a manner unrealistic in daily life. While the first series was static, the second is profoundly dynamic. A new emotional impact of the image resultedin different colour rendering. He often suggests the illusion of the penetration of old and new, namely black and white with local accents or subtle colour tonality. The key subject matter of the series requires more sophisticated work, further shifting them in the present, interpreting the motifs of the surface area by slow and challenging layering to create new compositions. The resulting works show the disappearance of flat shapes of installations and move into 3D space. The strength of their philosophical meaning has a wide scale supported by the richness of the material and formal interpretation.

In parallel with Transparency, Štefan Komorný has also developed another series called Still Life in which “painting or drawing with light” is the key interpretive resource supplemented by subsequent work involving the digital postproduction of the image. In this case he shifts Still Life to the level on which he perceives it through digital technology as an object of manipulation.His works are based on the play of light and shade, while manipulation requires determination of the angle and intensity of illumination to endow the objects and their multiple shadows with detailed analysis, plasticity, and volume, suppressing at the same time their weight. The laws and principles of perspective are irrelevant to theentire configuration and spatial composition. The Still Life series presents objects featuring simple smooth lines and shapes; the key subject matter consists of bottles and glasses enhanced by the elements of geometric morphology that levitate in a sterile space of monochrome variations. The works from this series are conceived with an extremely refined, fragile, poetic feel and appear to be somewhere on the border betweenphotographs and prints.

In 2010, Štefan Komorný completed an illustrated publication on St. Martin’s Cathedral in Bratislava, called DOM, which received several awards and became the Book of the Year in 2010 (text by Jozef Haľko). In more than 500 photographs, the photographer presents the story of the Gothic cathedral in a free sequence of long shots, details and fragments. Through this publication his work reflected a conventional theme, his favourite subject of architecture, after a longer period. He was concerned with architecture at the beginning of his photographic career as a pupil, a secondary school student and occasionally as a filmmaker. He has a strong feeling that it still remains an unfulfilled chapter, which he has not definitely completed.

Štefan Komorný realises his artistic statement in many different visual nuances and alternatives of the medium, in which experience, the profound knowledge of technology, the power of the broad-spectrum source of the content and his creative skills enable him to achieve continual progress. His art is dominated by outstanding work with composition, and a rich and sophisticated tonal light range of the image and the colour construction of pictures.

His entire artistic output has confirmed a firmly formulated line of a consistent creative programme, distinctiveness and specificity, the purity of expression, and his ability to meaningfully and creatively transform reality in front of his lens, as well as faithfully capture the power of the moment.

Dana Janáčková

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