Özlem Altın & Tereza Zelenková on view at Fotograf Gallery in Prague until May 20th

by Maya Hristova



Fotograf Gallery, Prague, CZ
On View:
19.04 – 20.05. 2023
Opening times:
Mon-Fri 13-18 h 


Curated by Tereza Rudolf

Commented tour of the exhibition 15/05 at 18h. More information here.


The casting from a mold gains a new shape that for a long time existed only as a possibility, it is similar to when a newly planted tree grows from a hole which forms and deforms its roots. Layers of paint, as well as lace curtains, prevent us from seeing that which would like to force its way to the surface. That “something” which remains partially hidden, is one of the motives of works by both artists connected with the Memory and Desire, Stirring exhibition.

Altın as well as Zelenková often turn to a certain type of storytelling that takes either the form of an authorial book or a selection and ordering of the exhibited photographs or paintings. Their stories linger in the mind of the spectator as lost memories. They do not represent fixed narratives or story constructions, rather they work with a feeling and impression, with a possibility or an offer of “something” distant in the intimate.

By combining and mirroring of the images, they create the longing to see something that is only just coming into existence or just ceasing to exist; “(…), breeding lilacs out of the dead land, mixing memory and desire, stirring dull roots with spring rain,” writes the English poet Thomas Stearns Eliot. The transformation between the dead and the living, the acceptance of something’s or someone else’s shape, the very process of change of the form itself, these are important elements of the works of both authors.

In the same fashion as repetition deforms time when it brings the same in slight variations, the artists use their shots to change the way we look at familiar things. An extreme close-up of surfaces of repeatedly used Christmas cookie cutters depicts the everyday as something foreign and transforms a familiar body into something unfamiliar when it intertwines with branches or blends with a water surface. The exhibited works by Özlem Altın and Tereza Zelenková are therefore mainly visual poetry, which by means of transformations of meanings refuses a clear-cut interpretation.


Tereza Zelenková (1985, CZ) is an artist who splits her time between Prague and London. Her specialty lies in creating monochromatic photos, which are influenced by literature, mythology, and history. Her artistic approach involves blending photography with her own writing, resulting in a productive relationship between her lyrical inspirations and her research-oriented mindset. Her inquiries are often wide-ranging and complex. Zelenková has garnered multiple accolades for her work, and her photographs have been exhibited on four continents. They are also included in the collections of several prestigious institutions, including the Victoria & Albert Museum, Foam Photography Museum, Musée de l’Élysé, Saatchi Gallery, and Fotomuseum Winterthur.


Ozlem Altin (1977, DE) is a German-born artist of Turkish origins who studied at the Utrecht School of the Arts and the Piet Zwart Institute in the Netherlands. After receiving the Fonds BKVB award, she founded the independent publishing platform Orient Press to publish and distribute artist books. Altin's work was included in the New Photography 2020 online exhibition at MoMA. Her artistic practice involves creating multilayered constellations through collages, photographs, and paintings using her own photographs and found images. Altin's work focuses on the body, inanimate body parts, and artifacts in motion. She is interested in staging the human body in a state of exhaustion and passivity. Symbols like masks, herons, and mermaids embody the in-between-ness in her work.


Cover image: Tereza Zelenková, The Altar of Domestic Bliss, 2023, 20x25 cm, UV print on aluminium


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