Josef Koudelka: Nationality Doubtful
The catalogue for a large retrospective at the Art Institute Of Chicago slightly deviates from the established image of one of the world's most respected photographers (and let’s take “world’s” literally as the title of the Moravian-born artist’s exhibition is "Nationality doubtful"). The former aeronautical engineer’s precision and control over the space of his photos and context in which they appear, as well as stubborn independence and gradual "dehumanization" of his work, which includes the systematic deletion of possible signs of autobiographical in a largely successful attempt to avoid being pinned down, are all disrupted by the catalogue’s cover and titles of its chapters. They replicate the graphic and ornamental hand-drawn covers of paper folders in which Koudelka stores and transports his photos, going through them relentlessly. Through items intimately close to Koudelka-the-human we bring unexpected color, both factually and figuratively, to the photographer's strictly monochrome world.