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October 26, 2021

 

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Museum of Romani Culture hosts the Carrets' exhibition of photographs from their visits with friends in Romani communities

27.9.2021 7:36
A daily journal of the lives of Romani families - their traditions, artisanry, holidays and everyday moments - is presented by the Museum of Romani Culture's exhibition
A daily journal of the lives of Romani families - their traditions, artisanry, holidays and everyday moments - is presented by the Museum of Romani Culture's exhibition "Impressions of Journeys to the Roma. The Photography of Claude and Marie-José Carret".

A daily journal from the lives of Romani families - their traditions, artisanry, holidays and everyday moments - is on display in the exhibition at the Museum of Romani Culture called "Impressions of Journeys to the Roma. The Photography of Claude and Marie-José Carret". The museum prepared an auxiliary program to the exhibition during the month of September, including opportunities to meet the artists themselves and to attend workshops as part of "Bonjour Brno", the Festival of French Culture in the Czech Republic's second-largest city that ran from 22-26 September 2021. 

"For 30 years the Carrets have been establishing relationships with Romani people all over Europe, especially in Slovakia, Romania, Hungary and Ukraine, and thanks to those personal ties and friendships, these natural photographs of everyday life have been produced. Claude and Marie-José have been involved with photography for more than 40 years," says spokesperson Bohdana Kuzmová Křepínská in the museum's press release.  

The couple have exhibited in the former Czechoslovakia, Ireland, Romania, Switzerland and Ukraine, and have issued countless catalogues and publications of their work. They do not differentiate between which one of them took which photograph. 

Their oeuvre involves a symbiosis where each image complements the next. "It never would have occurred to me or to Marie-Jo that photography would hold such an exclusive position in our life. Taking photographs has directly become a necessity of life for us," Claude Carret said. 

It is not just the act of taking photographs that occupies an exclusive position in their life. Thanks to their almost annual visits to the same localities, they have become eyewitnesses to the transformations in the lives of the local communities, families and landscapes with which they have established their connections.

The exhibition presents a curated selection of these photographs. "There were two of us curatorial professionals collaborating on the choice of photographs. Adam Holubovský is the previous curator of the museum's Photographic Documentation Collection, and I am an ethnographer. Because the Carrets have many interesting photographs in their collection that are connected with different traditions and religious services, Adam asked me to join the selection process and the creation of the concept for the exhibition," said co-curator Eva Mazárová.

"This is a cycle of black-and-white photographs categorized into subject areas that are loosely connected. We can call them The Land, Faith, Musicians, Interiors, and the Poetics of the Quotidian. The job of choosing the photographs meant following the latently poetic line that runs through the Carret's output and sticking to it, and I think we have thereby managed to create a cycle from which the intimacy of the moments when each snapshot was taken can be felt. One can sense the humanity the photographers have invested into their artistic work. There are images from the lives of Romani families where the friendship relationship of the photographer with the photographed subjects is directly projected into the image that was captured," Mazárová said. 

The auxiliary program began on 22 September and featured a guided tour of the exhibition with the photographers, the grand opening of the exhibition with a musical performance by Romani performers from the areas visited by the couple, and a moderated discussion with the photographers. During the weekend of 25-26 September two day-long, interactive workshops on the art of photography were held in collaboration with the Komora studio of Brno.

The photography workshops were intended for all who are interested in the analogue (non-digital) version of this creative process. Creative work in the field, a visit to a traditional darkroom, and a discussion with these professional photographers were part of what was on offer.

ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Československo, fotografie, Muzeum romské kultury, Výstava



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