Date: 17.10.2017 — 12.11.2017
Imrich Veber repeatedly scrutinizes his vision of the everyday reality around us. By means similar to those used by a sociologist, he maps the environment and relationships, constructs reportages without contents or situations that make the documentary photograph meaningful. He creates a sort of record of everyday activities and rituals taking place in the Ťahanovec panel housing estate of Košice, where the cycle was made between 2015 and 2017.
Veber creates a typology and archive of environments or everyday situations that extend the awareness of the real landscape of our lives that seems to be just as empty and unified as the paper on which the photographs are displayed. A person is mostly absent in the picture, represented only by its surroundings, buildings, stops and underpasses. The urban landscape depicted here is the kind of reality that is more like a prison – not allowing us to live as we would like to – rather than an objective reality. These “places – non-places” are the imaginary shadow of our motion through the city, which we all know intimately, but we would not want to boast about it at all on the Instagram. Besides, why should we? They are nothing special, nothing that others might be interested in. Nothing but grayness. Imaginary void and unified environment does not allow us to recognize any specific features of a particular place. It rather refers to the mentioned monotony, boredom and standardization of our lives.
Norm, as a basic measure of Veber’s view of the day-to-day reality of grayness, is based on an unfinished panel housing estate in eastern Slovakia but gradually abstracts and escapes from the classical documentary photography to work with the photograph’s format and presentation. It is not a mere game or mirroring, but a direct interaction between the topic being processed and its surroundings. One can not be read without the other. Veber’s work escapes into the space behind the photographs and reveals the relationships and (im)potency of the area of the panel housing estate and also of the gallery itself through the work with a unified format of paper, or polystyrene blocks intended to insulate the panel house.
It creates a new type of reality that empowers the gallery space, where more emphasis is placed on the context of the presentation of the photo than on its quality. In this sense, we can speak of proximity to sculpture practice, which uses a display system, revealing the relationships between objects, between the object and the subject, and the potential of the spaces through its activation. To Veber, a space is a symbol, that imprints as a negative onto surrounding things – from the paper and walls of the gallery to the economic and psychological structure of our life, to open up new forms of social identification. Like a kit of houses from the Ťahanoviec panel housing estate, space itself is structured into a series of universal matrices that affect the conditions of being inside.
The questions the author puts through the imprints in space open a certain boundary space between the act of imagery and the reality itself, or at least, how does the reality seems. Such a reality can no longer be regarded as real or fictitious: our existence, our public image, is beginning to appear in its discontinuity, imbalance and immaturity. Still, Veber appears to be even more equal to the norm, he templates its core components, and analyzes the empirical experience before trying to definitively evaluate it.
Curator: Barbora Švehláková
* Imrich Veber is a documentary artist based in Opava, Czech Republic. He has finished his studies of photography and history of Art. He is finding the boundary between documentary and fiction and applies this approach in his work. Nowadays he works as an assistant professor at the Studio of Photography at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Ostrava, Czech Republic.