Double exposure - Staša Fleischmannová and Olga Housková

The size of the Leica Gallery on Školská doesn’t always lend itself to full retrospectives of a photographer’s work so curator Josef Moucha has been doubly challenged for the current exhibition of 95-year-old twin sisters Staša Fleischmannová and Olga Housková. Both women were educated at the State School of Graphic Artists under the tutorship of Jaromir Funke and they were responsible for Prague’s first female-run photography studio Fotografie OKO (Photography EYE). In the pre-war years they gained a reputation for portraits of Prague’s pre-war illuminati, including people such as Karel Čapek and Josef Taussig but as the Nazi occupation took hold they adapted their skills in order to aid the resistance, producing fake IDs and developing secret pictures of concentration camps. This first part of their careers is represented with a selection of their studio work, together with pages from photo albums, and while these are interesting as social documents they are given added poignancy as many of their sitters became victims of both Nazi and Communist regimes.

The gallery itself became a victim of the times when it was closed by the Communists in 1949 so the subsequent parts of the exhibition are dedicated to their independent development. There is a small collection of documentary-style work by Olga who worked for the Vinohrady Theatre but a larger part of the exhibition is dedicated to Staša who lived in Paris after 1968 and progressed more towards art photography. From this period there is a selection of colour work and some interesting Surrealist-style collages. To represent two photographers and cover both their collaborative years and their solo careers is difficult, and the exhibition does feel a little fragmented, but as an acknowledgment to two important Czech photographers it’s an interesting introduction.

The exhibition runs until the 14th June.

Staša Fleischmannová and Olga Housková: Foto OKO

Leica Gallery
Školská 28, 110 00 Praha 1

Metro: Můstek
Tram: 3, 9, 14, 24, Vodičkova
Entrance: 70 Kč adults, 40 Kč Students

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