“Jitka Hanzlová goes to museums to look at portrait paintings. She gazes at the sunken faces, the lost meanings, and she no longer finds it astonishing to encounter living people in the outside world who resemble those figures. The story of her new work begins in Italy. The photographer meets a young man, and her head is suddenly filled with the image of the Mona Lisa. In light of the dialogue between her new work and Renaissance portrait painting, the photographer could have chosen no better godfather than Leonardo da Vinci. As a painter, he created such marvels as the ‘Woman with an Ermine‘, ‘La Belle Ferronnière,‘ and the ‘Mona Lisa.‘ As an engineer, architect, and natural scientist, he explored the nature of color, among other things. He made important contributions to the development of perspective and the study of proportion, and he granted freedom beyond their religious significance to colors, to attributes, and to their backgrounds, allowing them to become phenomena of the visible world. We are not far here from the notion of photography as a technique of “copying nature”; the camera’s eye is not called “objective” for nothing. But photographs only become pictures through the imaginations of those who use the camera to give structure to that which is accidentally visible. Hanzlová’s task here lies less in searching for the right people to play along than in finding them. Their beauty is less important than their ability to take the time for self-discovery. The sitting may take place in the open — as with the young woman in pink, gray slag heaps nestling around her like wings. However, the world of remembered pictures intensifies in the face of the increasingly apt mirroring in the present; the way leads inward. This special light is what makes Jitka Hanzlová’s paraphrasings of a five-hundred year-old past in the present so fascinating. Equally fascinating is her deep and fine delineation of the backgrounds against which her subjects show themselves with such wonderful poise. Jitka Hanzlová’s art proves itself not in imitation but in allowing things to reveal themselves as they are.” JANOS FRECOT
Published on the occasion of the presentation of Jitka Hanzlová‘s new series at Kicken Berlin, 2011.