David Janecek Film and Photographs

Creating a Human Myth

Artists living in the former country of Czechoslovakia were set apart from the many changes in art sweeping across Western Europe and the United States in the 1970s and 1980s. In the 1980s when Post-Modern art and theory advanced, artists in Prague relied on the knowledge of an older generation of artists who had been exposed in the late 1960s to Post-Minimalism and Conceptual art. Pupils of many of these artists represent today's liberated generation of artists whose work possesses fundamental characteristics that include the Iyrical, social and spiritual. In terms of the capitalist West, artists of the new generation coming of age in the 1980s worked in a context devoid of the social structure connected to galleries, markets, international discourse and media. Many of the artists who have now begun to make a mark outside Central Europe, still remain outside the mainstream because of the impact of the recent repressive environment. However, it is critical to note that an artist such as David Janecek and his contemporaries are never to be classified as dissident artists. Offen their work is complex and could be difficult for a Westerner to fully comprehend because of the artists' use of language, historical references and perceptions about a world undergoing rapid change.

David Janecek was trained as a photographer but elects to make art that transcends a single medium or single categories. This installation intends to overflow the frame of the single portrait and to recreate a flow of time passing. He provides an experience that transforms the static into the active; through the process of seeing single images simultaneously with an art performance on a video monitor, Janecek allows the viewer to go back and forth from the inside electronic scene to the outside photographic image. The hand-colored imagery —placid, immobile and silent—lends new meaning to the lit-up cell of the electronic monitor.

In the work of David Janecek several disciplines are brought together including theater, philosophy and art. In his mysterious pageant, the eight characters whose portraits hang adjacent to the video monitor become the stars of the unfolding narrative. Each personality reveals his/her own story and each is a unique character in appearance and tale. Each is allowed equal time to speak and each contribotion is equally important as the other characters. The orderly and predictable procession of each character poses a sense of structure to the unfolding video. However, their differences are made apparent by the varied gestures of each personality and the unique costumes. The subtle but clever twist to this work is the fact that a single actor portrays all eight characters.

The lasting invention of a mythic drama appears to have been actualized in David Janecek's poetic installation that bridges the realms of performance and visual art. The course of each individual's narrative story is essential—as a viewer we come to recognize that a variety of external circumstances can transform our perceptions of an event even though certain control factors are used to enforce a sensation of stability. The narrative of the self reflects the goal of creating a human myth.

Janecek's work prompts a relationship to the works of Godard and Brecht, who also examine the meaning of words and the importance of context. What perhaps is enacted here is a material representation of humanity's inner turmoil through a mystical poem comprised of technologieal vignettes.

Elaine A. King

Executive Director and Exhibition Curator

Exhibition Contemporary Arts Center Cincinnati, Ohio



What we have before us is a visual language that can itself be linked to a concrete statement as well as to abstract picture. Janecek's photos of fruit refer to an advertising style that belongs unquestionably to the consumer sphere nowadays. Gigantically-enlarged fruit capture our interest in the end as minimalistically separated objects from reality which float above an indifferent background, without scale or shadow. A detail of the surface neither reduces the scale nor pulls us down into the obscene nearness of the monstrously enlarged and attractive goods. The things are left to themselves, to their total uniqueness as they hover in non-space.

Jana & Jiri Sevcik

Exhibition catalogue "Test Run" Mánes Prague


One feeling of Metropole total

A monumental wallphotography disturbs the swinging atmosphere in the cologne artothek. The exhibition space is dominated by a huge blown-up ink-jet-print of citypanorama taken out of a birds perspective.Thru camera pan brought into dynamic, the wallcovering photography doesn`t give anymore stability to the detail seeking eye. Instead you are overwhelmed by the feeling of `metropole totalę. Almost close to a cliche David Janecek has chosen New York as a frame.. . His view through the lens brings us nevertheless a new unseen perspective of Manhattan : instead of precisly outpointed architectual highlights he shows a waving sea of houses, buildings- and astonishing plenty of green islands.

Beside the unusual size of the picture it is mostly its unsharpness by which the panorama is shown. Janecek- born in 1959 in Prague- decided against all technical professionality- very consciously- for the NOT- SHOWING of the sujet and he only gives us a hint. This for sure is a programmatical decision. As he himself feels that putting the lens in a sharp position it is only one of many possibilities...

Susanne Boecker

Koelner Stadtanzeiger, 18./ 19.9.1999, departeur


Out of focus

Eine Scharfstellung des Objektivs (des Objekts) ist nur eine von vielen möglichen Einstellungen. Daß man fast ausnahmslos ausgerechnet diese wählt, hängt mit Sicherheit damit zusammen, daß sie den Betrachtern die größte Menge an präzisen und konkreten Daten vermittelt, die ihnen vertraut und für sie leicht zu lesen sind und dadurch das Bild verständlich machen.

Bei einer Unscharfstellung hingegen ändert sich das ganze Spiel. Die Daten werden eher weniger, statt präziser, eher kompakter und schon überhaupt nicht konkret, wodurch sie alles andere als vertraut und leicht zu lesen sind. Sie machen auch nicht das Bild verständlich, sondern das Gefühl.

Es wird nach wie vor die gleiche Realität erzählt, jedoch mit einer anderen Sprache, was die Wahrnehmung des Gleichen, aber auf einer anderen Ebene, ermöglicht.

David Janecek

Text zur Ausstellung