It would be misleading to speak exclusively about the media of photography in the context of the current work of Johana Pošová. Although photography has always been and surely always will be an inseparable part of her work, the question remains to what extent, at what moment and especially in what role.
Although her early work is practically based on classical photography, we can observe, already during her studies at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design, hints of attempts to cross this medium, or to be precise, using methods offered by photography, to step out of this media with the goal to find some sort of a more real and tangible materialization of the presented – often significantly abstracted reality. It should be mentioned that this is not a need to limit herself to the media of photography, but rather accent its boundaries, especially at the time when artificial composition in front of a camera has become an instrumental element of the daily life thanks to the Internet, social networks and the digitalization of composed – often aestheticized reality.
We can perceive Pošová’s work with photogram as one of the first indications of this shift in her work. It started to appear in her work in various variations in 2009 and it can be perceived as the beginning of a deeper conceptualization of her work. Even here the artist doesn’t abandon the principles of composition; these, however take place in a darkroom instead of in front of a camera. Here the artist plays out the game of lighting up and layering selected objects, making up complex diagrams of physical units. As an example, we can look at the series of photograms from the exhibition Blíženci (Gemini) (2009), where Johana Pošová completely gives up the image potential of the media of photography and focuses her interest on the material aspect and volume of the selected mass of objects, which she presents as a complex unit rather than individual objects – personal universe that connects all objects together. It is a type of a challenge – to capture the uncatchable, to seize in an image the world of an individual whose complexness and volume is hardly possible to capture with one print on a single piece of photo paper.
The need to struggle with realistic matter, real objects and their material aspect is typical for the work of Johana Pošová and it reflects in her later work as well. The objects chosen by her are increasingly larger and the compositions accent detail. The illuminated objects, fragments, openings and diagrams are composed into collage units, creating some kind of a strange form of a dream reality – of a distant landscape that is in its essence very close to us in many respects and perhaps for that reason it makes us feel uncomfortable (Krajina beze jména (Landscape Without a Name), 2012, Kámen nůžky papír (Rock, Paper, Scissors), 2013).
In spite of the fact that Pošová practically parted with the figure, which used to be typical especially for her work between 2007 – 2011, we can find some of the principles that the artist used to use in figurative photography in her work today. This includes primarily a form of battle, strangeness, diversion from reality, but also being magical. We were also confronted with one of its forms at the exhibition Přiznaná barva (Admitted Colour), 2013.
The exhibition can be read in two levels – the first is undoubtedly the question connected with the challenging of the authenticity of the photographic media and its trueness, which the exhibition without a doubt reflects. The second, and in the context of Johana Pošová’s work I dare to say more important, is the principle of strangeness and magic in general, where the magic or trick works as a natural disruptor of a rational understanding of reality, opening up the space to the personal universe of an individual where only he/she alone can determine the extent of truth, tangibility and seizability of this reality.
The cooperation with Barbora Fastrova is built on a similar principle of producing something strangely dreamlike, specifically the collective project Netlač řeku, teče sama (Don’t Push the River, It Flows on its Own), 2014. Cooperating with Fastrova shifts the language of Pošová to another level. The matter in hand is no longer the production of personal universe, but of a parallel reality, where the installation – similarly as in the case of photograms – interconnects its parts on the basis of free associations, having in this case the form of a bizarrely absurd story – fairytales for adults, story about a snake, fountain with custard, buns and a robotic vacuum cleaner. Similarly as in the case of the already mentioned Landscape without a Name or the exhibition Rock, Paper, Scissors, also here we can speak about some kind of a close meeting, which is in reality, in its confusion and absurdity, in many respects the reflexion of today’s similarly chaotic reality.
For now Johana Pošová’s last project is the installation Wet Wet Sunset (2014). Similarly as in her preceding projects, a photogram is one of the first elements of the installation, this time only a part of it, however. Interest in the material aspect is emphasized here primarily in the work with material outside of the photographic medium. Hand woven textiles and the handwork related to them reflects not only fascination with material but at the same time principles that the artist uses in the darkroom, referring to the dialectic relationship between the parts that use photographic principles and the parts that help to form this principle. This is about a strangely abstract word, materials, objects, fragments, material and space. The point is no longer representation but rather an effort to turn everything upside down and reveal the seams, where the chaos of the intertwining threads is actually the most exact materialization of how things actually are.
2012 Knedlíky, House of Cards /fanzine/