Experiments with light and shadow, reflections and transparencies: Jaromír Funke (1896–1945) counts as one of the most important representatives of Czech and international Avant-garde photography. Often ahead of his time, he sourced impulses from Cubism, New Objectivity, Abstract Art and Surrealism. For the first time in Germany the Fotografie Forum Frankfurt presents the work of this visionary. On display are more than 70 photographs from the period between the 1920s and 1930s — a phase in which Funke radically pushed the boundaries of photography.
Jaromír Funke started photographing at the age of twelve when his father gave him his first camera. After receiving his high school diploma in 1915 he studied medicine, law and philosophy before turning entirely to photography after World War I. Next to his early landscape images adhering to the style of romantic pictorialism, he started creating modern works from 1923: minimalistic compositions with plates, vacuum cleaner tubes and glass bottles, still lifes with glass objects, light bulbs and star fish. The shadows of objects, not the objects themselves, start to take centre-stage in his work.
Funke was inspired by the pioneers of abstract photography Alvin Langdon Coburn, Francis Bruguière or Jaroslav Rössler while he quickly developed his own unique signature style. His goal was to “highlight two objects, contrast two realities, combine different elements in a single photo”, he writes in 1935. At the same time, Funke scrutinised and explored the possibilities of photography as the author and publisher of magazines and books, as a relentless organiser and as teacher of photography at institutions such as the National Academy of Art in Prague.
Jaromír Funke’s works are part of many collections, including the Museum of Modern Art (New York), J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles), Photographic Art Museum Tokyo and Centre Pompidou (Paris). However, his relevance in the field of Avant-garde photography was only discovered in recent years. The exhibition JAROMÍR FUNKE. AVANT-GARDE PHOTOGRAPHER in Frankfurt was curated by Vladimír Birgus, art historian, photography specialist and Funke biographer. It is a collaboration with Funke’s daughter Miloslava Rupešová, Leica Gallery Prague and the Institute of Creative Photography of the Silesian University Opava, Czech Republic. The exhibition is accompanied by a new publication.
Fotograf der Avantgarde
Exhibition: 27 Jan – 29 Apr 2018