Aleksandra Vajd and Hynek Alt usually work and exhibit jointly, drawing upon this dual (double) identity in several artistic projects. Photography serves as a means of revaluating the visual perception of the work and photography itself. They usually highlight the problematic of perception by means of exhibitions installed with an emphasis on the whole and with a focus on the specific space. That which is depicted in the photography is (re)enriched by the third dimension.
Whatever the specific subject matter, most projects have something to say about photography, and several are completely devoted to the question of the specific mediality of photography. This is achieved in various ways, be this by means of photographs of the photographed (Two Sides of One Story, 2009; Exposed, 2005), uncovering the genuine character of the thing hidden behind the image (Nightwatch, 2006; You Can´t Change the Weather, 2011), exploring the anchorage of the photography in text (Snapshots, 2009), manipulating reality using life-size photographic imagery (Lifesize, 2009), or placing the work in non-gallery environments (Door No.1, 2008). A kind of apotheosis of photography (painting with light) as well a radical critique thereof is represented by a video with camera suspended in the process of photographing, emitting and receiving at the same time, aggressively dazzling and yet recording its surroundings (Lighthouse, 2009).
The relativising polarity of the artist and his subject, the male voyeur and the woman as the object of his gaze, along with the photographer and the viewer, is the theme of the ongoing project Man Woman Unfinished (begun in 2001), based on the concept of mutual portraiture. Both artists swap the role of the photographed and the photographer, pose in front of the camera or capture unrepeatable moments. What results is a set of portraits of a man and a woman who hold a never-ending series of conversations in which they do not speak. Wittgenstein wrote that “Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent”. Baudrillard adds: “But whereof one cannot speak, one can be silent thereof by means of the (photographic) image”. Since the duo are always photographed differently, the topics of their conversations are determined randomly and are transformed in time, just as the form of both actors changes over the course of time. Other projects are also devoted to the identity of the individual within the framework of a duo and the possibilities of a double gaze (No Audible Dialogue, 2006; My Left Hand, 2006; Disguise, 2006).
Considerations regarding the differences between the real, seen and photographed resulted in the exhibition Hole in the Palm (2010). In a series of photographs created for this occasion the reality of photography encounters reality as seen, which is shown to be simply an illusion. The selection of the angle of view or distance of the camera from the subject created a fictive world in which we see reality differently. The scene captured in the photograph corresponds to the illusion as seen and yet does not deviate from the real situation. The method by which this situation is photographed (constructed) contributes to our eye clinging to the illusory image, and only on a second attempt beginning to uncover its real basis. In this case the photographic image does not bring us closer to reality but maintains a distance from it. In this project and others we can discover the close links to postmodern reflections on photography, including those in theoretical texts by, for instance, Jean Baudrillard, referred to above, who is concerned with the relationships between the optical illusion and photography in one of his texts. He claims that like photography, illusory images retain something of the magical character of the image.
In the press release to the exhibition The Place From Where You Think (2012), in which the artists led the viewer into dark caves in order that they caught sight of the light of the world, Edith Jeřábková recalls the words of Plato. “What do you think he would say if he were told that what he had seen before was nonsense and illusion? And that what he was seeing now was real? And if someone pointed out to him the passing objects individually, and asked him questions as to what they are, don't you think the former prisoner would be at a loss? Would he not think that the shadows he used to see are more real than the things pointed out to him now?” Indeed, they were already working with the possibilities of the image that might correspond more to our idea of reality than reality itself in antiquity. Hynek Alt and Aleksandra Vajd draw on this principle, think in terms of image and reflect in terms of the photograph.
Marina Grzinic, Man woman (unfinished), Fotograf, roč. 3, 2004, č. 4 /Intimita/, s. 10–13
Camera Austria, 2004, č. 87
Pavel Vančát, Aleksandra Vajd & Hynek Alt: Exposed, Ateliér, roč. 18, č. 20, s. 6
Pavel Vančát, Hynek Alt: Modrá/Blue, Ateliér, roč. 12, č. 4, s. 6
Aleš Kuneš, Alt představuje svůj modrý svět, Lidové noviny, roč. 12, č. 19, s. 13
Jaromír F. Typlt, Co není nicneříkající, Ateliér, roč. 14, č. 7, s. 6
Petr Vaňous, Ga2lerie, Praha 2007
Hynek Alt: Grzeszykowska & Smaga, Fotograf, roč. 2, 2003, č. 2, s. 96
Hynek Alt: Karin Müller, Fotograf, roč. 1, 2002, č. 1, s. 85
Hynek Alt: Matthew Monteith, Fotograf, roč. 1, 2002, č. 1, s. 80
Hynek Alt: Tomaž Gregorič, Fotograf, roč. 1, 2002, č. 1, s. 79
Hynek Alt: Sultan & Mandel, Fotograf, roč. 4, 2005, č. 6, s. 62–73
Karolína Jirkalová, Centrum umění Ládví, Art & Antiques, roč. 7, 2008, č. 9, s. 49
Jaroslav Anděl et al., Horizonty: patnáct let Fulbrightovy komise v České republice, katalog k výstavě, Komunikační prostor Školská 28, Galerie Nová síň, Praha 2006
Štěpán Grygar, Hynek Alt: modrá, katalog k výstavě v Galerii Velryba v Praze, Praha 1999