Karel Otto Hrubý -Retrospective
Photo exhibition in House of Photography (GHMP)
Date: 7. 3. – 21. 5. 2023
Place: House of Photography
Curators: Lukáš Bártl, Antonín Dufek, Jana Vránová
Our rating: 🞲🞲 (2/3) — VERY GOOD
A few shots from the installation are below:
We had the chance to visit the Retrospective exhibition showcasing Karel Otto Hrubý’s photographic works. He was a renowned Czech photographer, pedagogue, and theorist born in Prague in 1916. Hrubý studied law in Prague but didn’t finish it as the universities closed during the occupation. After he pursued a photographic career and worked as a photographer for many magazines and newspapers.
Hrubý’s specialization was in portraits, and his breathtaking portraits of eminent Czech personas such as writers, actors, and politicians were well-appreciated.
He continued his photographic career even after the war and documented the socio-political changes in Czechoslovakia throughout the post-war period. Hrubý’s work has been widely displayed in galleries and museums worldwide. He passed away in 1998.
While the exhibition showcased a variety of photographs, what stood out to me the most were the avant-garde photographs he had taken in Poland after the war. Some other genres, such as countryside and portraits, were interesting, but nothing particularly striking.
Overall, I felt that Hruby’s work was nice but somewhat generic. However, the exhibition space was well organized, allowing visitors to view the photographs comfortably. I particularly enjoyed the video projection showcasing a short film about Hrubý, which gave me an insight into his life and work.
It was evident that Hrubý was not only a talented photographer but also a knowledgeable writer and theorist in the field of photography. He co-founded the photography group VOX in 1969 and the first cabinet of photography of Jaromír Funke.
One interesting addition to the exhibition was the display of Hruby’s paintings. His range of topics was vast, and his use of color was impressive. However, some of his paintings looked unsettling to me and I’d say he drew inspiration from his photographs (e.g the chimneys, countryside with people, etc.)
All in all, I would say that the Retrospective exhibition of Hrubý’s photographic works was a worthwhile visit. Although not groundbreaking, it allowed visitors to appreciate the evolution of photographic techniques and genres (eg. countryside, portraits, photojournalism, collages, paintings), and understand this artistic medium’s significance in capturing a particular time and place.
You can also purchase his publication at the gallery called Karel Otto Hrubý: photographer, educator, theorist.