Station to station
photographic series and videoinstallations


Alena Kotzmannová appeared on the Czech art scene in 1998, when she finished studies at Academy of Art, Architecture and Design in Prague. Her dissertation was the cycle of photographs Temporary Person, in which she was inspired by science fiction and looked to the details of our contemporary world to find a reflection of a distant future. At that time, she was already enriching photographs with all manner of adjustments, such as developing a photograph in the classic way on canvas and wrapping it in plastic foil. In the installation Someone is Calling You (1998), Kotzmannová first joined large-format photography with video projection. It was a photograph of two telephone booths, which seemed even more abandoned because of the sound of the video, which captured the footsteps of passers-by and the ringing that no one answered. Other works, such as Famke (1999) and The Way to Work (2000), have a similar kind of installation. Famke was a photograph, installed in a corner, of a woman seated with her eyes closed by the window of a train, trying to steal a little more sleep. The video, forming a right angle with the photograph, was the frame in which the landscape ran past beyond the window, not seen by anyone, living its own life before dawn. The way to Work was a photograph of a man standing in a tram. There was nothing unusual about him, except perhaps his solitude on the way from somewhere to somewhere else. Across the static photograph of this, in reality, moving man, Kotzmannová projected the same scene, only this time she moved it gently up and down as if the tram was bumping a little. The whole scene thus acquired a much more real atmosphere than the vision of the world mediated to us by the photograph.
Very open to collaboration, Kotzmannová is someone who has navigated the insider community and made striking contributions to a number of projects. These include the Prague Steamroller, for which she installed 3D peepholes with documentation of various actions into the windows of the V. Špála Gallery, and joint projects with Michal Pěchouček, Veronika Drahotová, Jiří David and Tomáš Pospiszyl. In her conceptual approach, she plays with the conventions and boundaries of photography, but first and foremost she reflects on the very nature of this medium. Her installations offer an unusual perspective on the things and stories that are playing out all around us. She is able to reveal the intuited and mysterious aspects of their existence and to extol their poetry and ordinary beauty.

Pavlína Morganová  / from the text of catalogue Insiders, 2005