Gojmir Anton Kos: A Painter in Dialogue with Photography

Gojmir Anton Kos: A Painter in Dialogue with Photography
Library Shelf Location 18.KOS
Publication Date 2010
Description For Gojmir Anton Kos, photography was an amateur interest he pursued from the late 1920s to the end of his life, most intensely in the 1930s. Initially he used a glass-plate camera, and from the early 1930s onward a Leica. Most of his surviving photographic oeuvre thus consists of black-and-white Leica shots; there are also some color slides from the 1960s. At first, Kos took photographs to document his paintings and some of the exhibitions he participated in, as well as interiors outfitted with furniture he had designed himself. The latter stand out in their visual refinement and have been given a special place in our present exhibition, since they represent rare visual documents of Kos' work in the field of interior design. Our exhibition has two main parts: one part looks at how Kos' photography relates to his painting, and the other at his photographs as independent studies. To illustrate the complex relation between Kos' photography and his painting, eight of his oil paintings and a drawing have been included in the exhibition, displayed next to the photographs that are presumed to have served as visual aids in analyzing the forms and their relations in the works. The other part of the exhibition comprises photographs based on the momentary decisions of what to frame and how, in order to give the image an inner harmony. These works show that the artist recognized the inherent creative potential of the medium of photography and developed a distinct poetics in it. Even when he turned to subjects which he had previously analyzed in his paintings a number of times - such as the motifs of flowers, water (in particular rivers), self-portrait, portrait, and the female nude - he rendered them in photography as if they were completely new to him. Also the pictures recording his impressions from Dalmatia or his home village of Selca, or the street situations in Florence, Milan, Venice, Paris, Brussels, and other European cities he visited on study trips, were based on the ontological difference between painting and photography. The artist intuitively understood the significance of the "decisive moment" in photography, translating his random encounters with anonymous individuals into visually and psychologically eloquent images. The photographs that show how fully Kos had developed his sense of the aesthetics of momentary shots and had mastered the visual elements of black-and-white photography should be evaluated in the context of the history of photography in Slovenia, where they represent an important achievement in the photographic modernism of the 1930s. Moderna galerija in Ljubljana keeps twenty-two Kos' original photographs, donated by his widow in 1970 together with his archive. Although not numerous, the photographs speak of the artist's thoughtful attitude to the medium, but just how great his enthusiasm for it really was, and to what level of expertise it had taken him, became apparent only in the late 1990s, when a considerable amount of previously unknown photographic material was discovered in his studio. This material was studied, scanned, and inventoried by the Fundacija Gojmir Anton Kos; the inventory lists 2,200 black-and-white negatives, 87 color slides, and 119 prints made by the artist. The foundation has kindly made all the material available for research and loaned original negatives for the exhibition. Prints from the original black-and-white negatives were produced especially for this show by Stojan Kerbler, who also describes his experience of working with Kos' negatives in his text published in the exhibition catalogue. The introductory study in the catalogue was written by Lara Štrumej, MA, who is also the curator of the exhibition and the editor of the catalogue. Displayed at the exhibition there are approximately 120 black-and-white and a few color prints, eight oil paintings, and one drawing.
ISBN 9789612060886
Quantity 1
Pages 94
Author Lara Štrumej
Format Paperback
Publisher Moderna Galerija Ljubljana
Related Artist Gojmir Anton Kos
Category Photography
Language English

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