Formerly a bookbinder, Josef Sudek lost his right arm in the war, abandoned bookbinding and turned to photography. Sudek’s studio window became the surface of his canvas, as he captured the exquisite moments being played out in the world beyond his room. We see a flowered branch brush against the windowpane or the world outside being transformed under an infinite cover of mist.
Lovingly called “the poet of Prague”, Sudek meandered through the streets of Prague and its suburbs and visited places that held personal or spiritual significance for him, producing some of the most haunting and insightful photographs of the place he loves. From mundane to exotic, the objects he collected – feathers, crumpled paper, drinking glasses, flowers, seashells, envelopes, flasks, frames, prisms, candelabras – also became loving subjects of his photographs. The interplay between light and its absence in Josef Sudek’s photographs is, at the same time, fascinating and frightening.
With some 130 photographs on display, the viewer suddenly has an access to and is a part of the delicate, intimate world of Josef Sudek. A magnificent exhibition.