Free Fall©Kamil Vojnar. All Rights Reserved
Verve Gallery of Photography in Santa Fe, NM has some very strong, exciting artists on view. One who really caught my eye and my soul, actually, at AIPAD recently is Kamil Vojnar. He’s been with Verve for several years. I would have to say Vojnar was the find of the show for me. (I must be living in a cave not to be familiar with his work, but Maine can be a cave sometimes.)
This artist has a mind that doesn’t quit. I know that for a fact because I just received an “artist statement” he wrote, so to speak, for Eyemazing Magazine last fall and it is the only artist statement I have ever read that has moved me. And he doesn’t use the word “fascinated” once. I’ve reproduced it in its entirety below.
Catapult©Kamil Vojnar. All Rights Reserved.
Vojnar is based in France and has several galleries in the USA representing his work as well. My favorite at the show was “Free Fall” at the top of this posting. The “Angel” series (Sleeps, Sleeping, Dreams, Dreaming, etc.) are dynamite. All the images I saw at AIPAD prominently featured figures, but here are two new deeply haunting images I found on his website and requested from Verve so I could reproduce them here for you. If you google the artist, tons of images are available for viewing on the internet:
Last Station©Kamil Vojnar. All Rights Reserved
Airport©Kamil Vojnar. All Rights Reserved
On the Lenscratch blog I found a May, 2010 posting about Vojnar – that he was born in Czechoslovakia and studied in Prague and Philadelphia. He’s obviously hot – he sells like crazy and obviously works like crazy too – there is a wealth of work out there. What amazes me is how reasonably priced it is. He’s a big talent, but his prices are for all of us. If I could, I’d fill a room with them. Layered, with a brilliant understanding of color, not to mention the human psyche, these photographic constructions are images you can live with for a long, long time.
Like Mr. Vojnar says in his statement below: “Every time you turn the corner, there are pictures, every time you turn to the next page… more pictures”. But he is why we keep looking and turning those corners - the quest for the unique vision coupled with dramatic artistic talent is what we seek and oh, how sweet it is when we find it.
My apologies to Mr. Vojnar – WordPress does not embrace copy and paste well – hence the spacing is not all as originally composed.
Here I am.
Writing about myself.
But believe me, that was not the plan!
I hoped someone else would do it… write …whatever.
The real writer!
You know, the proper article. Review, little essay, an interview.
That would make me look good! My work profound! Far reaching!
Like everybody else’s!
Yet the writers! They bailed out.
The time was tight.
And there was no money in it.
And you know, you get what you pay for.
Because, if you ask me, I prefer pencil, brush, camera… or knife, if it comes to that.
Anything you can leave your mark on with.
But words, they float around, weightless and slippery.
They comfort, they hurt. Then they run away, transparent like water.
Because, if you ask me, I prefer music.
I should stand here, pressing a violin to my chin … carve out a beautiful melody with my bow.
Out of the thinnest air, the deepest sound would come!
But I don’t have a violin! And don’t know how to play!
So I am standing here, stark naked, searching for cover.
My white skin glows in unexpected light.
I am searching for the words to explain. To explain the crime.
Was it ignorance? The outsized ego?
That lifted me out of my fragile shell, from my safe “Nowhere”?
And propelled me, right … here?
Sorry, I didn’t knock. There was no door, no bell to ring and say… Hello, it’s me.
There was no gate, there was no time!
From darkest corners, brightest clouds, I fell…like a cherry.
Clutching black folder and my hat.
Because… I make pictures, if you must know.
Because my soul is dripping. It’s soaking wet.
Okay, listen, I will tell you all about it.
Tell you, because I don’t know how to play.
Listen. I go out and find the highest mountain.
I stand up on the highest hill and wave my hands in the wind.
Like leaves in autumn, ideas blow around, appear, grow enormous, deflate and disappear.
Ideas slap my chin, bury me under, then lift themselves and “poof,” they’re gone again.
I open my jacket and let as many I can in.
They push me down, to the ground …roll around.
In the deepest black and lightest white, and anywhere in between, … I roll.
Then I stand up, I clean stardust from my clothes, holding my pockets closed tight.
Only later, later at night, when all is safely a sleep, I open them and let the little sparks out.
Sparks of light, like fireflies.
They dance, reflected in the fountains of my eyes.
Which one, which one will help me go, guide me through?
Like fireflies they are!
I cling to them and feel being lifted.
I am holding my breath, not feeling the floor.
Not feeling attached anymore … where do I go?
Where do I go, when there is no road, no map to guide me through, no border to stop me.
No ceiling, no floor!
Where do I go, if all around is just a milky, hazy mist.
And from the cloud above, thin strings are suspended, attached to my arms.
And I just hope, I hope, that up there, somewhere, at the other end of those strings,
there is a balloon filled with golden air,
a balloon that will carry me on, even if I have no more energy, no more strength to keep pushing forward.
It’s a sentence, making pictures. No hope for early release for good behavior.
It’s like a crawling through the fog, each and every one of them.
Inching forward, with hands outstretched far ahead so as to prevent bumping my head.
Inching forward slowly, at times overwhelmed by the sense of enormity of what is possible,
at times flipped out by fear … I will never make it.
I am crawling through that white darkness, crying … crying loud, out of happiness and dread.
The bottom is no longer visible.
I can only fly or be no more.
But someone may ask, Why? Why not just stay still?
Enjoy a drink at the end of day, warm dinner, fleeting love?
Because… what if there is no light at the end of tunnel?
Because, what if there is no tunnel?
If it is all just this collection of passing moments, meant to be lived.
And I say, what about the Bosnian boys and men taken to the forest and machine gunned down into the ditch.
What about those who jumped down from the burning Twins?
They were going down with no shoes on. Why??? I want to know, why?
What about Neda, dying in a pool of her own blood on Teheran’s sidewalk?
Her large brown eyes wide open in utter incomprehension.
What about the wars we fight, the hunger, sicknesses, depravity, the inequality?
What about the cigarette burning at your lips?
Have we learned nothing?
We keep marching to the same drum, licking ice cream in the sun!
OK I get it!
I make only small pictures, no big deal.
Small, honest statements about the state of my soul.
Why should you care anyway?
There are plenty of pictures, anywhere you go.
Every time you turn the corner, there are pictures, every time you turn to the next page…more pictures.
New pictures, old pictures, new pictures just like old pictures.
Fresh, cool, hot, dated, contemporary, antiquated.
Seas of colors and shapes.
Feels like pissing into the ocean!
Feels like drowning!
Please, have mercy!
Okay, okay, there must be a reason!
Some reason to it all!
I photograph your face.
I move your arm. And I don’t know why.
I print my pictures, I cut them, glue, paint, scratch, glue again, paint again.
I don’t know why. Something is pressing me on. It must be done! I don’t know why!
Dreams have landed. My son was born. I move your body sideways, put a flower in your hair.
Night changes into a day. I take my daughter’s hand, hold her tight, show her the sky.
I don’t know why.
Dreams have landed, I keep my head high, I don’t know where I am going, I am flying blind
and I don’t know why.
I know, there must be a reason. I soak up your stare, children’s cry, I don’t know what’s tomorrow,
and I don’t know why!
Only small pictures I make. Nurse them to life … no midwife skills. Like my soul, they are soaking wet.
My blood and sweat.
And my blood is warm … and red.
Then release them, let them live their life. I don’t know where they are going. And I don’t know why.
Look, trust me, I didn’t want to do it, I didn’t want to write.
I wanted to read something nice about me.
But, they bailed out!
Look, I don’t know what I am doing, and I don’t know what to say.
I am flying blind!
But now … I am standing here, stark naked.
And suddenly … I know it now! I know it all.
I see my shadow on the opposite wall.
I carry your weight, so you can be light.
Because I see the shadow, and there are wings on my back, and the wings are white.
I etch your sorrows and my demons into a piece of paper.
I carry the paper to the highest point, there kneel down and beg for forgiveness.
I am kneeling down there, stark naked in unexpected light.
I have just feathers to cover myself. Their color is white.
Please, don’t ask me why!
June 2010, Paris
Text written originally for my profile in the Eyemazing Magazine,
Fall 2010 Issue. (www.eyemazing.com)