Friday, January 20, 2012

Jitka Hanzlová, HERE @Richardson

JTF (just the facts): A total of 10 color photographs, framed in blonde wood and matted, and hung in the back project space. All of the prints are chromogenic prints, each sized 12x8, in editions of 8. The images were taken between 1998 and 2010. (Installation shots at right.)

Comments/Context: This small show of the work of Czech photographer Jitka Hanzlová is a sampler from a decade long project to document her transplanted existence in the Ruhr region of Germany. Her vertical fragments of landscapes and three quarter environmental portraits are infused with the acute curiosity and questioning eyes of an outsider. What locals would walk by without another glance, Hanzlová investigates with crisp, almost antiseptic, precision.

Most of the images on view mix industrial infrastructure with the rural countryside: a cow meandering under an imposing concrete overpass, a man-made hillside reflected in a yellow reservoir, towering electric stanchions above a grassy soccer field, and a snow covered coal mining depression that looks like a miniature striated amphitheater. These landscapes are formal and quiet, sparse but rigid in their own way. I most enjoyed the two portraits in the show, which have a timeless quality to them. The young women pose in front of monochrome walls and yellow leaves with a kind of fresh grace and alert simplicity that is found in paintings from another age.

The whole installation left me with a lingering sense of unease. Hanzlová's photographs have a real feeling of puzzled foreignness, of noticing the subtleties of the everyday with a heightened awareness for difference.
Collector's POV: The prints in this show are priced at 4300€ each. Hanzlová's work has become somewhat more available in the secondary markets in recent years, particularly in the European auctions; prices have generally ranged between $1000 and $3000.
Rating: * (one star) GOOD (rating system described here)
Transit Hub:
  • BMW Paris Photo Prize, 2007 (here)
  • Feature: Frieze, 2003 (here)
Jitka Hanzlová, HERE
Through February 11th

535 West 22nd Street
New York, NY 10011

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