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"Dana Kyndrová: Woman's Destiny" opens at Rosphoto, State Museum and Exhibition Centre
Western Bohemia, 1994.

SAINT-PETERSBURG.- The exhibition of works by the Czech photographer Dana Kyndrová Woman's Destiny comprises more than one hundred pictures taken throughout Europe from the early 1970s to the late 1990s.

Having started shooting her classmates in the early 1970s, later Dana Kyndrová has become increasingly involved in studying the subject of woman and eventually has transformed her work into photographic investigation aimed at creating a story of woman’s life in the contemporary world.

In the carefully selected photographs, which are perfectly aligned with the project’s concept, one can trace several parallel storylines. The first one generally describes the entire life of a woman from birth to death. While highlighting its main stages – first love, marriage, maternity, career, the “official” attributes of a woman, Dana Kyndrová explores the nature of common social and gender stereotypes and challenges the influence of woman’s social roles on woman’s personality. The second storyline raises the question about what kind of person a contemporary woman is and what we know about her inner life. Here, the artist emphasizes the complex and many-sided nature of women, and does her best to show such qualities as desire for success, self-fulfillment and freedom from social stereotypes. It is this part of the series that often meets with mixed reception at displays, but what is more important, it always triggers a variety of strong emotions and thus, the visitors have no chance to remain indifferent to the depicted subjects. Doubtless, these deep emotions have been experienced by the author herself, as she has identified herself with each of the captured characters. Thus, the third storyline of the art project is the contemplation on identity, the author’s story about herself as a woman.

Although the major part of the works dates from the 20th century, there is no doubt that the project is still a success with the contemporary audience. Presenting a striking visualization of the recent past the photo series by Dana Kyndrová makes us look closely at the present and the future of a contemporary woman.

“In 1992 they offered me and three other Czech photographers to take part in a creative contest to win a half a year scholarship in Bern, Switzerland,” says Dana. “At that time I had an idea of compiling the photographs of the female residents of well-to-do Switzerland and the pictures capturing the life of women in the post-communist Czech state. So that is how the photo project has started and I have become a freelance photographer.

While the work on the series officially began in Switzerland in 1993, it includes the photographs that had been made much earlier (for instance, some pictures of my classmates dating from 1973). Then I moved to France where I lucked into the joint British-German-French-Czech art project Strange Family organized by the Newcastle-based Side Gallery. Then my work continued in Poland, Ukraine and Russia, although the majority of the photographs were shot in the Czech Republic. I stopped shooting for the Woman's Destiny project in 2003, when they launched an exhibition A Woman Between the First and the Last Breaths at the Old Town City Hall in Prague, which was dedicated to my 30-year-long career of a photographer. By the way, the year before that the publishing company KANT had brought out a monograph of the same name.

It seems to me that women do not differ much from each other around the globe. I am interested in the subject of woman in general and I am far from bringing political motives or social aspects in the photo project. I did my best to focus on portraying a “Pan-European woman”, and it does not matter where the pictures were made (very often one can easily fail to identify a shooting location).

I am not a conservative adherent of black-and-white photography, but I believe that the colour should be function-oriented rather than be a colour for colour’s sake. Besides, the black-and-white imagery provides a great advantage for portrait photography, as it helps to concentrate on the subject. Moreover, being a sort of a stylization of life, it gives free scope to one’s imagination.

I am not so naive as to deem that photography can change the world around us, fraught with controversy. Photography for me is what I am interested in, my source of joy, the opportunity to learn more about the places and people that I might have never seen in other circumstances. And I feel happy when my works resonate with the public and trigger some emotions in people.

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