Koudelka Exhibition in Prague
Exhibition on View: August 9, 2008-September 13, 2008
Exhibition Halls of Old Town Hall (Staroměstská radnice); 1 Old Town Square; Prague 1, CZ
“Invaze 1968”, an exhibition of Josef Koudelka’s historical photos, has just opened in Prague’s Old Town Hall. The show coincides with the 40th anniversary of the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia and is inspired by the book, Invasion 68: Prague, published in the US by Aperture.
The images both in the show and in the book are remarkable documentations of that infamous week in Prague. Amidst the turmoil of the invasion, Koudelka managed to capture the event very intimately. The photographs were then smuggled into the United States and published by Magnum. To keep Koudelka safe from persecution, he was referred to by the pseudonym “Prague Photographer.” He even won the Robert Capa Gold Medal award as the “unknown Czech photographer.” It wasn’t until years later that Koudelka was able to claim ownership of the photographs.
Now, forty years later, the same country that Koudelka fled is exhibiting his work amidst a series of commemorative events. Similarly, Aperture and Pace/MacGill Gallery have upcoming Koudelka shows in New York City opening this September. As “Invaze 1968” curator Irena Šorfovà notes, more exhibits enable the audience to “see the same event through different eyes.” Koudelka agrees, stating in the current issue of Aperture that he is “interested in the picture that may tell different stories to different people.” These concurrent exhibitions highlight the physical and emotional devastation of the end of the Prague Spring.