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It Keeps Going and Going


It was a bit less than a year ago when I came to Brno for the long term. When I flew into Prague I remember thinking about how gorgeous it was in the fall—the crisp air, the Vltava, the trees on the verge of changing colors. Brno was also nice. Of course, it wasn't like I hadn't just left the country a month before, but it was the first time I saw Prague and the Czech Republic in the fall. (I recently had dinner with my Czech teacher, who now lives in the U.S. but is originally from Brno, and this year was the first time she has been here for the fall in thirty years. It's hard to imagine. After she and her family emigrated in 1976, though, they couldn't return to the Czech Republic until after 1989. Since then, she's only come in the summer.)

Another thing that I remember about Prague last fall is the advertisements for the exhibit of Jan Saudek photography. At that point they featured a nude woman from the back, and they were everywhere in the Prague metro. I was more surprised when I realized that the posters were not just in Prague, but all over the country! They never really went away, but about a month ago they started appearing again in force. This time, they had new pictures of butts and sported the logo "Exhibit Extended!"

I have to say that, after the posters had been up for about 9 months, I had assumed that the exhibit was permanent. Saudek is one of the most popular Czech photographers, I guess, and the exhibit is just off Old Town Square, which is a prime tourist destination. I thought the whole thing was there to stay. (But you know what happens when you assume.)

After a year-long run the exhibit is being prolonged. I can't say that I find the Saudek photos all that original—he does one thing well, and that is to show butts, which can be nice, but really, how much of that can a person take before they all start to look the same? (Well, he does excercise a bit more variety in his work, but his specialty is certainly the nude. The father of one family that a friend of mine stayed with described Saudek's work as basically soft porn.)

Now I guess there's no rush to see it since the big exhibit has been extended (for an unspecified length of time). The general scale of the advertising campaign is somewhat remarkable (why does one photographer get a year-long, country-wide campaign while everyone else is left in relative obscurity?). At least they chose a new photo this time that I found more interesting than the other ones: the baby butt. If I were arriving in Brno this fall, that's what would greet me from every other bus stop.



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Comments:

Anonymous Joe said . . .

The billboard with the three women walking away was used as the cover of Soul Asylum's 1992 album Grave Dancer's Union. (It was the album with the annoying song "Runaway Train.") I do find it interesting, though, that the red banner on the billboard just happens to cover the little girl's butt. Is this intentional or on purpose?
(By the way, I switched to Blogger Beta, so I can't log in to your comments until they fix that small glitch.)    

1:44 PM, September 11, 2006


Blogger morskyjezek said . . .

It's true that the new posters seem to cover more butts (haha), but since the poster last fall was basically just one big butt, I doubt that it's intentional. I haven't heard anyone here comment on that.    

11:19 AM, September 13, 2006


Blogger Karla said . . .

When I first saw Saudek's work, I thought it was really interesting (in those days the nudes were usually posed in ruined buildings, and there was not a noticeable obsession with the rear view), but it has certainly become dull with endless repetition. Since I am presently contemplating the Freudian "uncanny" via Hal Foster's discussion of the surrealist uncanny (I seem to have to do this about every two years, but perhaps it will go away after I finish the dissertation), I will note that Saudek does seem to deal with the uncanny but his repetition compulsion ultimately prevents us from experiencing the uncanny aspect because we have become far too familiar with it.    

12:34 PM, September 13, 2006


Blogger morskyjezek said . . .

And it turns out that the butt lady (I don't know her real name) is still up in the Prague metro.    

10:31 PM, September 26, 2006


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