Research seminar: History of Photography

Eighty Years of Czech Surrealist Photography

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

17.30, Research Forum South Room

book cover in red, black and grey - Surrealism and Photography in Czechoslovakia

Speaker(s): Krzysztof Fijalkowski (Norwich University), Michael Richardson (Goldsmiths, University of London) and Professor Ian Walker (University of South Wales)

Ticket/entry details: Open to all, free admission

Organised by: Sylwia Serafinowicz and Professor Julian Stallabrass (The Courtauld Institute of Art)

The Surrealist Group in Czechoslovakia was founded in 1934 and is still going strong as the Group of Czech-Slovak Surrealists. Throughout this period, photography has played a central role in the activity of the group. This seminar celebrates the publication of the first book in English to look in detail at this unique body of work: Surrealism and Photography in Czechoslovakia: On the Needles of Days, co-written by Krzysztof Fijalkowski, Michael Richardson and Ian Walker, and published by Ashgate Press.

Each of the three authors will make a presentation on one of the key aspects of the subject. The central part of the seminar will take as its theme the importance of the collective in surrealism and discuss why it is important to see these photographs as part of a collective continuum. This discussion will be prefaced by a presentation of work by Jindrich Štyrský and Vítezslav Nezval from the earliest days of Czech surrealism. The final part of the seminar will then look at the use of photography by the contemporary group, particularly in their journal Analogon.

Krzysztof Fijalkowski
is Senior Lecturer, Fine Art, Norwich University of the Arts.

Michael Richardson is Visiting Fellow, Centre for Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths, University of London and Visiting Professor in the Centre for Global Studies, Hitotsubashi University, Tokyo.

Ian Walker is Visiting Professor in the History of Photography at the University of South Wales.

The History of Photography research seminar series aims to be a discursive platform for the discussion and dissemination of current research on photography. From art as photography and early photographic technology to ethnographic photographs and contemporary photography as art, the seminar welcomes contributions from researchers across the board, whether independent or affiliated with museums, galleries, archives, libraries or higher education, and endeavors to provide scholars with a challenging opportunity to present work in progress and test out new ideas.

The seminars usually take place once a term, on Wednesday evenings at 5.30pm in the Research Forum. The papers, and formal discussion, are followed by informal discussion and refreshments.

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