Body Danced Body Seen

Photo Exhibition

Photography: Noro Knap, Natália Zajačiková, David Trčka
Curator: Maja Hriešik

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The dancing body is a photogenic object and at the same time also the fabled siren. Fifty years ago American dancer Yvonne Rainer declared that dance resists vision and is hard to see. This is even more true of the camera lens. A photographer may succumb to the temptation of kitsch, revelling in the beauty and agility of the human body as the viewfinder reveals astonishing dance figures, leaps and images. The result, however, is an advertisement for the human body, a trailer for the beauty of movement though not necessarily dance photography.

A photographer who specialises in contemporary dance has to lie in wait for the moment when the dancing body does not fake anything, when it is a body dreaming of the freedom that will enable it to cross over the threshold beyond which the rules of ordinary life don’t apply, driven by boundless, even self-destructive passion while being plagued by anxiety and exhaustion. Dance photography is an attempt to capture this paradox, or perhaps struggle; it is a dream-like document, an aesthetic memento of movement, the very essence of life.

The exhibition entitled Body Danced Body Seen showcases three photographers with a long-term record of experimenting with photographing movement in Slovakia. The diversity reflected in the selections from the work of photographers Noro Knap, Natália Zajačiková and David Trčka is also indicative of the artists’ diverse approaches to the body and corporeality. The exhibition introduces key figures in Slovak dance, while highlighting various ways of capturing movement and dance.

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Noro Knap (1974, Bratislava)

is an artist, photographer and filmmaker, who has covered the dance scene systematically for many years. Apart from documentary photographs of dance performances, dancers and movement also frequently feature in his art photography. Knap’s dynamic, uninhibited images of the body explore the imprint of time on the natural and architectural world, as it seeks traces of human movement in streets past and present that provide the invisible pulse of life and relationships.

While shooting pictures I challenge myself to hunt for images that give the most faithful reflection of the dramaturgy of a particular production and capture the most striking moments, and whose technical realisation corresponds to my artistic intention. For, as Vilém Flusser has said, the photographic gesture is a hunting movement in which the photographer and the camera merge into a single invisible function, capturing new factual configurations, previously unseen situations, everything that seems implausible. Noro Knap

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David Trčka (1977, Zlín, Czech Republic)

is a Czech photographer based in Slovakia. He studied at the Tomas Bata University in Zlín Faculty of Multimedia Communications and the Department of Photography at the Film and TV School of Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. His work has been shown at group exhibitions at home and abroad. After moving to Slovakia, his interest in dance photography was triggered by his collaboration with the integrated dance company Len Tak Tak.

For me what is interesting, indeed essential, in dance is its lightness, its intangible nature. It is a very fleeting art. Often it is about what’s ‘in the air’, about what’s going on around the dancers. David Trčka

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Natália Zajačiková (1991, Žilina)

From 2011 until 2015 she was a bartender and later in-house photographer at one of Slovakia’s most progressive and active cultural centres, the repurposed railway station Stanica Žilina-Záriečie, documenting the guest and residential dance events held at the venue. She also recorded cross-genre cultural activities at the Plusmínus nula Gallery, the New Synagogue, and at the Institute of Light Design. Since early 2016 she has been based in Prague, doing an internship at FAMU International – Filmmaking programs. She currently focuses on analogue documentary photography.

Shooting dance presents certain challenges for a documentary photographer. Particularly when I cover live events, that is, not rehearsals, and can’t afford to distract the audience with constant camera clicking. I love the fact that each and every show turns out differently, as do individual scenes, images and dancers, and I love the bursts of energy generated by various configurations of dancers. Natália Zajačiková