Viewing Record 2 of 3 artist: Jasanský/Polák

Untitled, from the "Abstractions" series

  • Accession Number:
  • Artist:
  • Date:
  • Medium:
    Gelatin silver print
  • Dimensions:
    image/paper: 41 in x 30 in
  • Credit Line:
    Museum purchase

About the Photographer


Lukáš Jasanský, Czech, b. 1965; Martin Polák, Czech, b. 1966

Jasanský/Polák began working together as photography students during the 1990s, at a time when they were both interested in departing from the extreme subjectivity that dominated Czech fine art photography. Instead they pursued a practice based on discourse, and for more than fifteen years have worked together on conceptual, technically straightforward projects. Their series “Abstraction” (1994-95) playfully questions the definition of art, while investigating photography’s ability to straddle the representational and the abstract. By attempting to make images that resemble abstract compositions using everyday objects and settings, Jasanský/Polák underscore the accepted wisdom of what an abstract image looks like usually a contrast of darks and lights, lines and shapes, that creates a feeling of dynamism. Color, often a significant and enjoyable attribute of abstract art, is siphoned out of the scene, subtly revealing our habit of visual pleasure derived from it and turning the pictures into a more controlled, almost scientific, endeavor. Irony resides in their critique, as they hint at the seeming absurdity of making abstract art with a medium best known for representation. They also turn our mental predilection to look for an image within an abstraction on its head, by creating sharp, representational images that reveal the idea of abstract form.

Jasanský/Polák have been included in exhibitions around the world, including at the Ostrava House of Arts, Ostrava (2011); Municipal Gallery, Blansko; Jelení Gallery, Prague (2010); Saint-Petersburg, Museum, Kolín (2005); and the The Art Institute of Chicago (1992); among many others.