Prague's modern architecture showcased at Czech Photo Centre

A show by photographer Jiří Šebek makes minimalist art from modern buildings

An exhibition by art photographer Jiří Šebek called Temples of the New Age (Chrámy nové doby) opens on the afternoon of May 15 and runs to June 10 at the Czech Photo Centre.

Šebek won the Prague Grant in 2016 at the Czech Press Photo competition, which helped in the development of this group of photos. The work is still ongoing.

The current exhibition has 33 large-format square black-and-white photographs of architectural details on modern and postmodern buildings. They were made with time exposures of several minutes using neutral density filters so that there are dynamic effects from clouds and rich dark tones. The movement of the clouds is meant to contrast with the static nature of the buildings.

Visually and in terms of content, this series runs against the classical style of depiction of Prague's buildings. As is true for all the works by Šebek, there is characteristic precision, minimalism and purity in the rendering of the images.

Šebek, who began his carer in 2004, has continued to take pictures of old Prague, towers and churches as well. This has naturally resulted in the idea of creating a contrasting series of new and modern Prague architecture.

The current group of photos does not document changes in the developing parts of the capital. Šebek conceived the works exclusively as art. The individual buildings are examined in such a way that they function independently but also systematically complement the overall concept. Each building has a specific shape, making it irreplaceable in this series.

Šebek does not seek to evaluate the individual architectural works. He does not try explore their beauty or ugliness. In every building, he tries to capture its essence and uniqueness.

He is also not commenting on urban planning. “The building itself, such as Crystal at metro Želivského, does not have to fit into the urban style, but it offers the possibility to create an extraordinary photo,” Šebek said in a press release.

The buildings included date from the 1970s up to ones completed recently and even ones still under construction.

The exhibition space gives the viewer the ability to view the buildings and photos separately or consider them all together. One does not depend on the other.

After the May 15 opening, the exhibition will be open daily except Mondays starting May 16. From Tuesday to Friday it is from 11 am to 6 pm and on weekends from 10 am to 6 pm. The Czech Photo Centre is just 100 meters from Nové Butovice metro station at Seydlerova 2835/4 in Prague 5.

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