Through the center, the periphery, and the landscape along the Vltava River. It is a hot August day, the sidewalk burns, the air is heavy. The pulse of the city beats in a slow rhythm, the atmosphere is sleepy. Prague does not feel like a big city, nor does it experience a significant influx of tourists. Photographer Iwan Baan walks its streets for the first time. He is driven by curiosity and the desire to discover. He listens to the sounds of the city, trying to understand the language it speaks. He perceives its past, its character, omitting neither its landmarks nor its forgotten corners. He reacts with sensitivity to its diversity and contradictions. He visually narrates the city’s extraordinary story.
Iwan Baan's poetic image of the city carries a bleakness and neglect. It is not based on a picturesquely underwhelming likability, but a reality that must be confronted. Seven days with a camera in hand, on foot, on a bicycle, from a height - as is typical for him. On the move, in constant motion, yet time seems to stand still in his photos. Miniature human figures in stiff poses are asking for attention. The architecture near them is captured as if accidentally.
Poetický obraz města v podání Iwana Baana nese neutěšenost a zanedbanost. Nezakládá se na malebně podbízivé líbivosti, ale realitě, se kterou je třeba se konfrontovat. Sedm dní s fotoaparátem v ruce, pěšky, na kole, z výšky – tak, jak je pro něj typické. Na cestách, v neustálém pohybu, přesto se zdá, že se na jeho fotkách zastavil čas. Miniaturní lidské postavy ve strnulých pózách si říkají o pozornost. Architektura v jejich blízkosti je zachycena jakoby mimochodem.
The title of the exhibition ‘Iwan Baan: Prague Diary’ is based on the artist's Instagram account ‘A diary of travels with the iPhone’. The idea of endless wanderings through the city from one end to the other, recorded in the form of a pictorial diary, has been part of the Prague exhibition concept since the initial idea of a joint project. The exhibition is therefore conceived as an imaginary urban pilgrimage, which is linearly permeated by four thematic levels – the first contact with the city, the center, the periphery and natural scenery. The visitor can intuitively walk through them, symbolically getting lost in various corners, discovering new places and returning to those notoriously familiar.
The exhibition also introduces the personality of Iwan Baan as an artist, author and one of the most respected documentarians of architecture, who has become widely known for his impressive aerial photographs. The audiovisual part of the exhibition is dedicated to these images and is concentrated on a large wall. It highlights traffic junctions, buildings or the historic center, which was photographed in such intensity for the first time. In contrast, a niche at the back of the exhibition reveals almost all the images that Iwan Baan took in Prague. Raw, unedited, random.
Photography as such is then accentuated throughout the exhibition space. Its forms of presentation are deliberately varied. The aim was to bring to the fore not only the facts it captures, but also to emphasize its importance as a medium.