the works of kamil vojnar

I am sitting in the airport in Kansas City awaiting my return flight home from Santa Fe. The two days spent there seem like a dream. It was wonderful to attend the openings and a privilege to meet new friends at the Verve Gallery. I am so pleased to be associated with the gallery and the other artists that they represent.

I had an opportunity to spend time with Kamil Vojnar which was especially delightful because I really love his work. I had to return home, however, before I heard his gallery talk. He was kind enough to send me the text of what he thought he might present this afternoon....

So, without further ado, here are some more of his images and writings.

Excerpt from Kamil's writings...



OK boys and girls, I have done it.
I have opened petite hole in the wall kind of space, in Marais, in Paris.
I call it GALERIE/ATELIER. I sit upstairs and commit the crime of making my pictures the way I feel it, and double the indiscretion downstairs, by hanging them up on the wall and hoping someone will come in and buy it.
Ever wanted to be an artist in Paris?
Well, listen up kids, this may teach you thing or two!

I was told before, Paris doesn't care for it's artists.
... Unless they are horizontal, safely at Pere-Lachaise.
I was told, artist in Paris does not sell his (or her’s) own work.
There is a "system," I was told, and you do not go against the "system"!
I was told I will break my head against the wall.
.... Not joking here, I was really told this.
By whom, you may ask.
By influential figure in Paris photo-art community.
"The name," ... I hear you scream, ..."name the bastard!"
Well, … not yet, maybe later.
Meanwhile, I will try to prove them wrong!

You may ask, but who are you and what on earth has led you to do something so foolish,
as opening own gallery?
I confess, guilty as charged! I am nobody!
But I thought, you people may care?
I have no recognizable name, no resume (CV, for you frenchies out there) to support it.
No list of published works, exhibitions or at least of being part of group shows.
Just few short years of doing virtually the same thing, in small town, in south France.
And dare I say, I do get visitors there, in my "hole in the wall," in the middle of Provence.
And they do fell in love with my images and sometimes ... buy them.
Enough for my ego to outgrow it's fragile shell and propel me to the center of universe, to Paris.
Hahaha, I hear laughing those of you, who know better, ... well, OK then, cross out the "center of universe." I just though I throw free token of graciousness to my current hosting country.
Because I am Czech, if you must know it.
Well, not really Czech anymore, since I sport sailor's blue American passport.
But really, really, if you must know, I consider myself New Yorker.
... Since you asked.

All right then, what the fuck am I doing in country of sanctified "liberte," "egalite" and ... what was the third one?
The place that educated Lenin, Mao, Pol-Pot, and gave us Monet, Cezanne or Croque Monsieur?
None of your business!
It just felt right at certain stage of my life.
It felt necessary to go to place, where I would have no clue about anything.
About who is who, about it's language, achievements or problems.
I could be like deaf and blind, nothing would get me off my road, broke off concentration.
Not to be pissed about politics, influenced by anything too foreign to my own skin and blood.
Dreamstate of blissful ignorance.
I had to do it. I may get to details at some point later, if interested.

And so here I am. At the epicenter of the center, in Marais.
And hell, where are the people?
Ever been in New York or London? Or Barcelona, for the more timid?
It's crowded! Everywhere!
By comparison Paris is empty!
OK, there are some people out there, in department stores, on boulevard bla bla, the one with that grotesque arch, standing in the middle of the traffic. Around St. Germain, and yes, I am not forgetting Eiffel Tower stick. But here, here, where the galleries are, it's virtually empty. July in Paris, I am told.
It was only marginally better in May or June, I must say.

Or is it that I have not done my homework? Didn't check out the place well ahead?
Didn't do much of any meaningful promotion?
Yeah, you are right. Somehow I thought the pictures will promote themselves.
Silly me, I thought that nobody over 15 and bellow 90, if they have heart at it's place and brain to process incoming information, cannot pass by my window without looking in.
After all I serve my damn soul out there.

But you know what, that is not enough.
Who cares for the soul, if there is free white served two doors down.
What is it about the openings in Paris, they serve white only?
Feels more intellectual?
And what is it about the parisians attending them, they go just there, they do not look left or right. They go exactly only just where they were invited. Amazingly uncurious! Never have seen this before.
Then, once there, they barely give obligatory glimpse at what's shown, and then with cigarette, in one hand and vine and cell phone in the other, talk whole evening with other attendees (whom they know, presumably, everybody knows everybody else, kind of village square dynamics), or to the phone, on the street in front. Given my poor French and distance, I cannot put my finger down on the subject. But for sure it is not the art on the wall or Neda, lying in pool of own blood, on Teheran's sidewalk.

... To be continued! ...Maybe!


OK girls and boys!
You have already wasted perfectly good few minutes reading my rant.
But all of you people broadcasting pointless messages of vain existence, incoherent blabber, information's about things nobody wanted to know about, pictures of your cats and dogs, via Facebook, mySpace, Twitter or whatever, you have wasted time more senselessly before.
So I do not feel guilty exactly, ... not yet.

Enough bitching now, though. Let's get to serious business. I have to make this thing work!

Let's see, why did I do it in the first place. Why?
Not as a public service, that's for sure!
I didn't set out to make you to see the light, make you feel, make you think.
Not at all!
But also, I didn't really think I will come to some serious money this way.
It's just, shit, I cannot do anything else!
I make pictures, because there is nothing else I can do.
I cannot hold serious job, I cannot even fix my son's bicycle.
But also,… I feel, I have something to say ... something, without wanting to sound stupid, "important" something to say. Something, I do not see anybody else saying.
Yes, I swear, I do look around. Every time I land in Paris, I peak into every gallery on my street, on my block, in whole neighborhood. And I see "artists" yelling and screaming full throat. It's blinking, it's bright, it's big. But it's got nothing to say! It's empty!
Most is just holly crapp, some is earnest, but still vacuous, just vaguely interesting for it's debatable decorativeness. But where is the fucking soul?

All right now, I am not a moron. I recognize the right of everybody to exist.
In fact it is me who is looking up, searching for the guidance. Searching for others out there.
For god's sake, I do not know what I am doing. I am just flying blind!
I want to see, that others are going for it. That others are searching. And finding!
It's so fucking lonely out here.

OK, why I am doing it, why then?
Because, ...when I see Neda lying on her back in her own blood, her big brown eyes wide open in absolute incomprehension, I am crushed.
Because when I saw Bosnian men and boys taken in small groups into the forest and machine gunned down into the ditch, my heart froze, stopped, and didn't restart until my little son was born.
Because I worry, that it was for nothing, that it's all only about what we eat and shit.
That there is nothing else.

In fact, what I do is not for you, really.
It's a message for those who will come, ...after.
Message about what we were.
Because I worry, that we will be viewed under the wrong light. Under one-sided circumstances.
Look at the wars we fight, inequalities, hunger, sicknesses and heating up planet.
Look at cigarette burning at our lips. Look at Damien Hirst's halved and formaldehyde cow.
How much more idiotic can it get?

OK, I am not a preacher, I just make little pictures. Small honest messages about the state of my soul.
Makes no sense, why should you care anyway?
Every-time you turn the page, there is a picture.
Every time you turn on your Facebook, there are tones of images.
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 an ocean.
Feels like drowning.
Please, have a mercy!

Trust me now, I never wanted to have a gallery.
I am just like you.
I don't want to hear anybody's bad opinion about my kids.
And I want something warm for dinner.
Just like you, I am.
I want to sit in my studio, make things not connected to anything.
Have a vernissage, nurse my white, spike my hair and wear smart jacket.
Utter things like ... well, what I wanted to show is the strange paladin of the post-minimalist generation, othodox and deliberate in it's taciturn style, oddly chaste frenzy of transcendece, while imposing obscure sense of pungent responsibility on the viewer.... some shit like that. To a well breaded lady with long cigar and silicon smile.
But they didn't want me, the gallerists.
I came clutching my book.
No, we do not want to see what you do, they said
Not want to see? What the fuck else do you do?
Oh yes, I know now what you do.
Working the phone bright red. Then big car arrives, people you do not normally see downtown step quickly out, you serve champagne and when they leave, dot appears next to that thing on your wall. Sold.
Great. So this is "the system."
I love it.
It doesn't love me back though.
Not yet!

... To be continued! ...Maybe!

Part #3

Another few days servicing my Paris's "gallery."
It's September now.
Having cafe in my favorite bistro on rue de Bretagne.
Decent jazz lazies the Saturday morning.
This cute blonde is tending shiny, huge expresso machine.
Like every time.
And this little old guy, Peppe, the client, is chastising her for sagging sad face.
Just like every morning.
I know now where Sempe draws his characters from.
He tells her, that life without passion is not worth having. And if she is missing a passion, he knows all about it and will teach her, if she marries him. He almost seems serious.
And she says yes to him, ...right tomorrow, Peppe, if you have at least million on your account.
He doesn't get it for a moment.
Maybe he didn't get it at all.
I wish he didn't.

It's bright, sunny day and streets are filling with people.
Many will pass my place without at least a fleeting glance.
Only few will come in.
I work, nursing my images to life.
But spend day talking to no one.
Like many days before.
I have few pieces of sushi and the smallest size of beer available, for dinner.
Watching evening crowds passing.
This amazingly gorgeous girl is walking briskly by.
I am thinking, I have never seen something so beautiful.
Then another passes, ...another, ... and yet another.
Third one, fifth one, tenth one....
And it occurs to me, just like many times before, what if it's all for just that passing moment?
For all those passing moments?
No long term striving, goals in the future, carefully constructed roads leading to them?
What, if there is no light at the end of tunnel, because there is no tunnel, because life is just this mosaic of moments, out of which we can just take more or less?

Because every picture is like a tunnel.
I sense the feeling it should have, when done, but in the darkens cannot form the right shapes and colors. I am itching forward with my hands outstretched, trying to find my way and at the same time prevent myself from bumping my head...At times overwhelmed by sensed enormity of what is possible and flipped out by fear, I will never make it. I am crawling through that tunnel crying.
Crying loud from happiness and dread.

It's a sentence, making pictures. No hope for early release for good behavior.
No chance, that one day I will be all done, set free.
And then, then you pass, without one fucking look.
... Or some of you will come in and say things like, ... "it's so bizarre, why is it so sad, so suicidal."
You look at me, ... "you are the artist"?
I know already that faint flair of disappointment.
Where is the spiked hair, the smart jacket, eccentricity, introvertness, scent of some inhaled shit in the breath?
I am ashamed, radiating such normality.
How could this be art then!

OK, all right now, it's not a litany, I am writing. And I am not some sour, morose, creepy fuck.
I am actually quite a happy guy.
Many have MY picture on their wall. Even more have it and don't even know they have it.
My image on the cover of some book on their shelves. On many books. Tons of CD's.
It's going peachy!
Don't need to smoke some junk to get high.
Just look at that sunset, dumbheads, see how orange lighten corners of your creamy colored streets?
See those transparent yellows and pink hues? ...And blue and violet, changing into pitch black, just above the roofs of the evening's sky over Paris?
How can you ever beat that with any art?

I enter my hotel.
Always nice, older woman in the reception hands me my keys, like every time, ... and asks me, what is it that I am doing, coming to Paris every week, like this. What kind of job?
I am tired, ... take a guess, I say, what do you think I am doing?
She says, without flinching, ..."accountant?"

Oh yeah?
Grumpy, old bag, ... you should see my accountant.
Both of them!

... To be continued!"

More of his work can be viewed and bought at The Verve Gallery of Photography...just click HERE

Kamil, I do hope your presentation went well. I am sure it did.