The photographs of Josef Moucha involve a conflict between the artist as journalist and the artist as theoretician. The view of a qualified journalist, whose interest is focused on the portrayal of facts, intersects with the theoretical distance that is manifest in the spotlighting of the illusory nature of the photographic image and the revelation of other hidden properties of the medium.
Moucha’s photographs often depict reality through a captured moment, but at the same time are self-referential and thus interrogate the entrenched idea of photography as objective representation. This is borne out by the fact that Moucha as artist oscillates between reporter (he began as a photographer of motoring events), documentary maker and artist, consciously reflecting upon the medium with which he is working. His oeuvre includes both documentary photography, e.g. the series The Mošnov Training Troop (1982), which he created while doing military service, and more subjective images, e.g. the cycle Evidentiary Moments (1974–1992), in which he processed the visual qualities specific to socialist realism.
This distance between moment and the interrogation of photography qua medium was most apparent in the unfinished cycle Vacilando. The descriptive names of places corresponding to reality appear alongside alienating elements such as an emphasis on perforation and a disregard for the frames of black-and-white cinefilm. The frequent use of double exposure draws attention to the fact that things were not as they might appear in the photograph.
Moucha took photos from his travels around the world that after being blown up on photographic paper are transformed into an imaginative testimony that tells us something fundamental about the process of photography itself and become a critical, interrogatory tool. However, an important element and impetus remain chance and the artist’s immediate reaction to a concrete situation, the result no doubt of the influence of his journalistic background.
Perhaps the most radical work in Moucha’s portfolio to date is the exhibition he prepared for Foto-Medium-Art in Wroclaw in 1994. In a red light reminiscent of a photography studio he installed slides from the introductory belts of partially exposed raw material in a minilab on the gallery walls, and as mountings used unstable photographic paper that gradually darkened to violet during the course of the exhibition.
Vladimír Šigut, Josef Moucha – Fotografie, diplomová práce FAMU, Praha 2011
Helena Musilová, Self Trace, in: Imago 2010, č. 29–30, s. 74–81
Vladimír Birgus, Jan Mlčoch, Česká fotografie 20. století, KANT, Praha 2010
Vladimír Birgus, Jan Mlčoch, Czech Photography of the 20th Century, KANT, Praha 2010
Vladimír Birgus, Jan Mlčoch, Tschechische Fotografie des 20. Jahrhunderts, kat. výst., Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Bonn 2009
Josef Moucha: na vlastní stopě - Mošnov 1982, kat. výst., Fotografická galerie Fiducia, Ostrava 2009
Vladimír Birgus, Tomáš Pospěch, Tenkrát na východě, kat. výst., GHMP/KANT, Praha 2009
Jakub Poláček, Josef Moucha – fotograf, teoretik, kurátor, bakalářská diplomová práce ITF, Opava 2008
Pavel Baňka, Josef Moucha. Interview, in: Fotograf 2005, č. 5, s. 70
Vladimír Birgus, Josef Moucha, in: Nová encyklopedie českého výtvarného umění. Academia, Praha 1996
Josef Moucha, Fotografie, kat. výst., úvodní text Denis Brudna, Galerie u bílého jednorožce, Galerie Klatovy-Klenová, Klatovy 1996
Vladimír Birgus, Josef Moucha, in: Encyklopedie českých a slovenských fotografů. ASCO, Praha 1993
Josef Moucha-Fotografie, kat. výst., úvodní text Petr Klimpl, Galerie SČF, Unie výtvarných umělců, Praha 1991