co-author Jakub Vlcek
By the term of "transcendence" we try to express the transition of the human soul, during wich its personality has to go through. The theme we are touching here is a certain self-satisfaction or self-fulfilment the humans are craving for. However that is very difficult to reach.
The way out of the incertainity might be the transcendence, which we understand as a turning of a human towards an all-including reality we may call nature, being or god. A reality that goes beyond our experience.
Individual sorroundings show different types of consciousnesses, through which a human has to go in the process of "self transcendence", no matter whether it is an inner consciousness or anything of a more global character. That is mainly a matter of asking question, rahter than the will to find answers.
Visual Traps and Parallel Worlds
The portrayal and dead spot in life, a sort of inter-space that is almost indefinable, is a large challenge for any artist. Juliana Křížová and Jakub Vlček, decided to focus their attention on the internal frame of mind of a young person at the threshold of adulthood" a person who is often influenced by contradictory external circumstances.
The series Transcendence (2009), analyses and uncovers this specific period of life, during which we begin for the first time to seriously weigh and assess our past so that we can find ourselves and determine our future outlook. Feelings of incomprehension, disilluion, social isolation and other sorts of confusion are almost a certain part of this state. Although it must be difficult to rid one's self of these feelings for a while and attempt to objectively document life`s vacuum, the pair Křížová-Vlček overcame these challenges and created an impressive photo series.
In the artists' older series (Ideal Couple, 2007) I was surprised by the large degree of "psychologisation" of photos and the definite, precise fascinations with questions of lifestyle, comsumption and the depletion of interpersonal relationships in contemporary society. At first glance the photos by Křížová and Vlček are perfectly composed. They use the promotional strategy that always latently idealise their subject. The artists portrayed themselves as an ideal couple living in ideal conditions, yet they fail in that which is most important - in mutual communication. The heterogeneous withdrawal of the young couple becomes a crack in what is a perfect illusion of happiness. It is presented in a very subtle manner, yet with a noticeably mature, empathetic photographic approach. This series was part of the exhibit project , Via Lucis 1989-2009 (Brussels, Bratislava, Jindřichův Hradec), which reflected on the metamorphosis of the photographic optic during the process of societal and cultural transformations.
The series Transcendence is realized via staged documents, coloured by a gentle, imaginative atmosphere. The current new document in photography increasingly uses advertising manuals. Flawless large-format adjusted prints are created: ones that the viewer can seemingly not escape the gallery space. The image is thus so attractive and slavishly inviting that after a moment we begin to prepare it with our eyes. So at the start there is a visual trap that the viewer gobbles up so as to get caught in the signs leading to further layers of the artistic concept. Should, however a certain psychological limit be reached, this can have fatal consequences and the viewer does not arrive at any deeper meaning.
Křížová and Vlček were able to maintain this visual superiority at a healthy level. The tension between reality and fiction achieved the contextualisation of visual perfection in gentle mystical escapes to almost surreal sources of content. The young people in the photos are followed by both the artists and the viewers at that particular moment, when their internal identity is disturbed. The relationship between environment and character clearly carries in itself a code for a concrete psychological stage connected to self-discovery. The artists bravely work with illusive visual effects, which create the impression of computer manipulation. In this case it surprisingly concerns only cosmetic digital correction of the images.
We feel a certain transcendence, i. e. crossing the borders of consciousness and discovery, exactly in the watching of said image effects and in the permanent obscurity / opaquesness of the border between reality and non-reality. Each image bears indications of its own story; it has an irreplaceable atmosphere. Some photographs even work with the composition of the internal parallel worlds that exist newt to one another. The most important and actually the most autonomous is the impression given by the entire mosaic: from the multifaceted structure of the images that are not mutually connected. A deep understanding of strategies for contemporary visual communication, an uncommonly mature critical approach to their own generation, and respect for the meaning-creational qualities of the photographic meaning: this is how to best summarize the greatest contribution made by the artistic coupling of Juliana Křížová and Jakub Vlček.
Anna Vartecká - for Fotograf Magazine (2009)