November 8, 2016 - DOX - Centre for Contemporary Art, Prague - Tomki Němec, Bohdan Holomíček, Petr Jančárek: HAVEL
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November 8, 2016

DOX - Centre for Contemporary Art, Prague

Tomki Němec, Cabo da Roca, 14 December 1990. On the Portuguese Atlantic coast near the westernmost promontory of the European continent. © Tomki Němec.

Tomki Němec, Bohdan Holomíček, Petr Jančárek
HAVEL
Václav Havel through the eyes of his personal photographers
October 28, 2016–February 13, 2017

DOX - Centre for Contemporary Art, Prague
Poupetova 1
17000 Prague
Czech Republic
Hours: Thursday 11am–9pm,
Wednesday and Friday 11am–7pm,
Saturday–Monday 10am–6pm

T +295568123
info@dox.cz

www.dox.cz
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The DOX Centre for Contemporary Art has prepared an extensive exhibition on the occasion of what would have been Václav Havel’s 80th birthday. The HAVEL exhibition features several hundred photographs by two leading Czech photographers, Tomki Němec and Bohdan Holomíček, who for a number of years recorded important historical events as well as ordinary moments in the life of Václav Havel, playwright, politician, president, and citizen. The photos are accompanied by hitherto unseen documentary film footage of the last three years of the president’s life by documentary filmmaker Petr Jančárek.

Tomki Němec was Václav Havel’s official photographer from 1989 to 1992, and during 1997–2003 was invited to document the president’s official life as a member of a newly-created team of photographers. In 2001 he published a book with a selection of photos from Havel’s first presidential term. He has received two World Press Photo awards, once for his photo of Václav Havel caught by an incoming wave on Portugal’s Atlantic coast.

He is currently publishing a photo book entitled Václav Havel—Tomki Němec—Photographs, which will be launched at the DOX Centre on November 24. In the beginning, there were 67,000 images, of which about 250 were selected for the book. About two thirds of the photos in the book are part of the exhibition.

“The mood of the 1990s was amazing and so chock-full of energy that often one realizes this only when looking back. Images that 15 years ago I passed over without notice are much more relevant today. This is one of the reasons why both the book and the exhibition contain a lot of photos I haven’t published before,” says Tomki Němec.

 

Bohdan Holomíček met Václav and Olga Havel in 1974, and began documenting social and cultural events at their house in the countryside, Hrádeček, and elsewhere. He photographed countless people, from the most ordinary to well-known dissidents. His unique photo installation method has become part of Holomíček’s signature approach. He hand-writes dates and comments on his images, and installs the photos side by side in multiple rows. His photos at the DOX exhibition are also presented in this manner.

“It’s a kind of mosaic of our lives, and Václav is sort of a guide through it. One could also say that it’s a cross-section of our lifelong friendship,” says Bohdan Holomíček regarding the images, which he is also currently publishing in a photo book that captures moments from Václav Havel’s dissident years as well as his presidential era.

 

The film footage, in the form of short series of edits that complement Holomíček’s and Němec’s photos, was shot by director and cameraman Petr Jančárek. He worked with Václav Havel from 2003 as a creator of audio-visual programmes that were sent to various parts of the entire world, and together with Martin Vidlák then co-produced a documentary trilogy for Czech Television from Havel’s federal presidential era entitled Václav Havel, Prague—Castle, with the first of the three films receiving the Jury Prize at the Politics on Film festival in Washington, D.C.

In 2009, Václav Havel asked Petr Jančárek to “shoot the rest of his life." Until December 2011, he recorded the president’s official as well as private life in detail on camera.

Some of this footage is featured at DOX in the form of short artistically produced videos. The footage will also be used to produce a feature documentary film intended for worldwide distribution.

“I lived through truly amazing times with Václav Havel, and most of all I miss his delicate sense of humour, his courage, and his strength. But it would be stupid to hide behind tears over his departure; on the contrary, we should do something worthwhile and let ourselves be inspired by his ability to loudly and publicly call things by their proper names,” adds Petr Jančárek.

 

The attendant programme will include presentation on December 10, 2016 of a tapestry in honour of Václav Havel, which was created according to a design by Czech artist Petr Sís for the new Václav Havel building at the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

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