Table,  1970-1990


The photographs of Willy Najvar, who responded to the call for photographs in 2007 as part of the Brno exhibition, are presented in series of two to thirteen in several rows. The original photographs, which were on negatives only, were first exhibited as part of the Diagram project (see original catalogue description below). The photographs from the 1970s and 1980s are a parallel commentary on the development of contemporary art. The photographer did not originally intend to create photographs as part of the context of performative and conceptual art; he was concerned with the particular documentation of phenomena of interest to him, such as vandalism, sentiment, and documenting the lives of friends and family. Baladrán then used the photographs in series (even the ones the original artist thought were unsuccessful) and placed them in a new context of post-conceptual art that spoke in a different way. Najvar is thus a contemporary of the late twentieth-century artistic generation without being aware of it when taking the photographs.

The challengingly formulated request for collaboration on the Diagram (Monument of Transformation, fragment #3) project, announced by the selected media, framed the criteria of the specific archaeological research initiated by the project’s author Zbyněk Baladrán (time: the last fifty years, place: Brno and its surroundings, study material: photographs). The exhibition in the Atrium of the Pražák Palace of the Moravian Gallery in Brno presents “a method of transformational phenomena grasped by art. It is the third fragment of a long-term interdisciplinary project aimed at reflecting on the political, cultural, social and individual changes associated with the transformation of Czech society in the last twenty years.” The basic prerequisite for the Brno exhibition was the public’s interest in the topic and willingness to exhibit often private, emotionally attuned images recording change or the process of change. The common denominator of each set is the time of creation, easily recognizable even through seemingly trivial details (clothing, hairstyle, make-up, design of objects, interiors, etc.). Although many photographs do not capture the so-called turning points of the time, the power of their statements compensates. They are endowed with the ability to bring back cinematic memories of the past, and, although not closely related to our own lives, to revive images lost through the accretion of oblivion. We find similarities in the records of particularly private photographs. Thanks to the anonymity of the creators, their private nature becomes public. It succeeds in updating the past as part of living memory. An inseparable part of the exhibition project is the catalogue, which documents the chosen workflow of memory research, the process of social transformation (formulation of the advertisement, its publication, collection of material, selection).

Installation at Überblendungen, Shedhalle, Zurich, 2010