Alena Kotzmannová

An Attempt at Regaining Reality

“My art practice has been about transformations of photography, not only as a medium in terms of technology, but also in the way its role is generally perceived within society – whether in terms of its informative value, its ability to deceive, its propensity for multiplication or its accessibility. I see their transformations as a challenge to look for new creative avenues.”

An Attempt to Regain Reality began its life in 2011 at an exhibition in Prague’s MeetFactory. Alena Kotzmannová exhibited a postcard, a souvenir bearing on one side the pictorial motif of the first astronauts on the moon, and on the other a message, an address and a postmark. Every element of the show was perfectly placed into a temporal and a local context. The artist selected six photographs from her archive whose motifs were more or less closely reminiscent of the landscape of the moon, or echoed space research technology.

Between 2009 and 2019, Kotzmannová completed a total of ten chapters of such photographic series that she entitled Attempts. She has used various motifs and mediums, but every chapter shares one thing: an air of mystery, the mystery of where and when, what came before and what after; even so, they all give the impression of having a certain narrative line. The term line is maybe somewhat misleading, since the most significant aspect of Kotzmannová’s practice is the non-linear temporality of her artwork. The stories seem to be playing out on several parallel levels at the same time, in different places and other time periods; and Alena Kotzmannová allows these levels to intersect for just a moment at the time and place of an exhibition, or in this case within an artists’ book. Similar parallel worlds are represented by the texts of nine authors. The texts, one for each Attempt, have various forms ranging from theoretical essay to prose and poetry. Each author approached the selected chapter in a completely different way and offers expanded possibilities for reading the initial visual message.


Text: Tomáš Pospiszyl, Martina Pachmanová, Radek Wohlmuth, Edith Jeřábková, Lenka Vítková, Jiří Ptáček, Michal Pěchouček, William Hunt, Dušan Zahoranský

Editor: Jan Čihák

Graphic design: Mikuláš Macháček




Order book
Limited edition of 200 296 pages 108 b/w and colour photographs 16.5 cm x 23 cm
Paperback Published: August 2021 ISBN: 978-0-9565808-6-3
€27 | £24 | $30 | 550 Kč