Czech artist Jitka Hanzlová uses photography to address the ways in which one’s homeland and surrounding environment shape identity. Jitka Hanzlová (b. 1958 in Náchod, Czechoslovakia) came to Germany in 1982 and studied photography in Essen. Among other awards, she has received the Otto Steinert Prize and the BMW-Paris Photo Prize.
“Otherness is a challenge. It keeps you alert and sharpens your senses,” Jitka Hanzlová knows. She explored her new surroundings with her camera, later dedicating a series of photographs to it, entitled “hier” (here). The pictures show a landscape that has been shaped by people for their needs and plans, and in which nature only occupies a very small space. Hemmed in, forced into gaps and crowded out, trees and bushes nevertheless seem to be proclaiming, bravely, “Here I am!”. To varying extents, Hanzlová’s work reveals the bizarreness of an order that stands in strong contrast to the untouched nature of the Czech forests of her childhood.
Jitka Hanzlová brings out a sensual, almost poetic side of the Ruhr region, without giving the impression of an idyll. It is important to her to capture in her pictures things that seem to be self-evident but are not. “hier” took many years to create, interrupted for long periods while she worked on other series.
Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation
Hardcover; size: 230 x 300 mm; 96 pages with 47 colour photos; text by Terézia Mora.
Publisher: Buchhandlung Walther König