A sole protagonist strolls through romantic landscapes with psychedelically transforming toxic colors. The series starts and ends with cool portraits; we do not know if the protagonist’s story is real life or the feverish hallucinations of his inner world. The unnatural tonality and dramatic skies create a stifling atmosphere that at first sight contrasts with the idyllic countryside. The fairy-tale aesthetic heralds not the romanticism of a sunset, but rather the promise of a slow demise, contamination, and apocalypse… Infection demonstrates how an artwork can mature over time and take on immediate relevance in an entirely unexpected way. This sensitively elaborated story of death and despair almost exceedingly evokes our current lives, insecurity, and the ubiquitous, invisible threat…
Infection is topical, although proven timeless twenty years after its inception. The photos started to be shot in 2001 as a dialogue between artist-photographer Václav Jirásek and record label owner Dan Trávníček. For one therapy, for the other an aesthetic-critical expression, in precise miniature dealing with worldwide emergency issues that have taken the form of pandemics and environmental disasters. Only now has it become clear that Infection foreshadowed many features of the present – excessive consumption and contamination from plastics, pesticides, and other pollutants; the proliferation of mental illness and various lifestyle diseases; the dearth of spirituality; and finally, the absence of solidarity and the collective unpreparedness of humans, lost both as individuals and as a species, to face global problems. After spending years in a private archive, this publication of Infection presents the virus as a symptomatic expression of culture. It interprets the protective wear, ostentatiously standing between a disoriented individual and a natural world with which they will never again become one, and the reaction to the disease itself as a transformative, restorative process: vital preparation for the next phase of evolution at a time when we are all anxiously awaiting the new shape our world will take.
Large format artists’ book, limited edition of 50 copies.
Text: Michal Nanoru, Pavel Turek, Filip Láb
Editor: Michal Nanoru
Graphic design: Mikuláš Macháček