Martin Kollar

Slovakia - 1971
05 Mar - 12 Apr 2014

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Martin Kollar a graduate of the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava has participated in several artist-in-residence programs abroad. His work has been exhibited at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris and the MOCA in Shanghai. He has won many awards including the Fuji Film Euro Press Photo Award, the Backlight Photography Award in Finland and the Prix Nestlé at the Vevey International Photography Award 2007/2008. Field Trip was published by Mack in 2013.

This series is part of an international project called This Place that aims to explore the intricacies of Israel and the West Bank through the eyes of twelve internationally renowned photographers, including Jeff Wall and Thomas Struth. Combining their different work creates a living and fragmented portrait, allowing the tension and paradoxes of this part of the world to be expressed. Espace Quai1 presents Martin Kollar’s work prior to the group exhibition that opens at the Centre for Contemporary Art in Prague (DOX) in September 2014.

Martin Kollar spent almost a year in Israel between 2009 and 2011. As a unifying thread, one question remains: what can be expressed about this country that has not already been said? This initial questioning results in a collection of portraits and landscapes that impede the clarity of the viewer’s perception: is it reality or fiction? Is it a war zone or everyday life?

The Israel revealed to us by the photographer is a country full of checkpoints, scientific experiments involving humans and animals alike and ambiguous architectural structures. His images are hallucinatory, slightly disturbing and absurd. Without ever hinting about the reality of what he is showing, he confirms the expectations and beliefs of the spectator as well as contradicting them. This is a feeling that he experienced when taking the shots, in addition to an impression of confinement, surveillance and slight paranoia. The images are displayed without a caption or any form of indication of location or time.

Far from proposing a definitive portrait or even an overview of this country, the number of questions raised by this series parallels the lack of answers.

In 2013, Martin Kollar participated in the Vevey International Photography Award organized by the Festival Images.

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