The Yancey Richardson Gallery is pleased to present HERE, a project gallery exhibition of works by Czech photographer Jitka Hanzlová, marking the debut exhibition of the artist’s work at the gallery. The decade-long series documents the artist’s experience of acclimation to her new home in the Ruhr region of northwest Germany. Formed by a conglomeration of industrial centers, including Hanzlová’s adopted town of Essen, the landscape of the Ruhr region is in sharp contrast to the pristine forests of her childhood.
The residual sense of foreignness to the landscape, language and people is at the heart of the series. As Hanzlová explains, “Otherness is a challenge. It keeps you alert and sharpens your senses.” The images reflect this visual acuity, presenting curious landscapes clearly shaped by human intervention yet resplendent in their poetic sensibility. “The feel of a place is very important to my work, especially the light,” says the artist. Hanzlová’s expert treatment of light and attention to detail lend a sense of the transformative in these landscapes, as seen through the eyes of a poet.
Hanzlová has produced several other bodies of work since beginning HERE in 1998, including: Cotton Rose, a series of portraits in Japan, published as a monograph by Steidl; Leonardo, a series of Renaissance inspired portraits; Female, a portrait series of women the artist encountered on the streets of Europe and America; and Forest, a quiet yet powerful exploration of the forest near the Czech village where she grew up. Void of any trace of civilization, the Forest images possess an out-of-time, enchanted quality. As critic John Berger writes in the introduction to Steidl’s monograph of Forest, “the longer one looks at Jitka Hanzlová’s pictures of her forest, the clearer it becomes that escape from the prison of modern time is possible.”
Born in Czechoslovakia in 1958, Jitka Hanzlová has lived in Germany since 1983. She has had solo exhibitions in several international museums, including the Deichtorhallen, Hamburg, the Fotomuseum, Winterthur, and the Stedelijk, Amsterdam. She is the winner of the 2007 BMW Prize at Paris Photo, the 2003 Grand Prix Award, Arles, and was shortlisted for the 2001 Citibank Photography Prize. Her work is held in the permanent collections of several major museums, including the Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Stedelijk Museum, and the Fotomuseum Winterthur, among many others.