Architectures of Life

4 Feb 2021 – 8 May 2021

Regular hours

10:00 – 13:0015:00 – 19:30
10:00 – 13:0015:00 – 19:30
10:00 – 13:0015:00 – 19:30
10:00 – 13:0015:00 – 19:30
10:00 – 13:0015:00 – 19:30

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Galleria Raffaella Cortese

Lombardy, Italy

Event map

Galleria Raffaella Cortese is delighted to present the fourth solo show by Czech photographer Jitka Hanzlová, following her first major presentation in her native country at the National Gallery Prague in 2019, SILENCES, curated by Adam Budak.


In the past 30 years Hanzlová has depicted, series after series, image after image, portraits of a world in which subjects exist in a non-hierarchical composition: people, nature, animals, architecture exist in a unity of sense, and yet, in all their specificity and contradicting moments.

“A single pear tree does not make a forest – or does it?”, asks Urs Stahel: can a single portrait, a single landscape, be telling signs of wholeness?

In each of her series, Hanzlová composes her vision in sequences, rising a self-evident constellation of relations that draw the structures of existence: the exhibition Architectures of Life allows them to be, once again, evident in a new composition that collects images from a variety of series spanning through the years.

Her portraits since the early ‘90s touch upon silent images of places, things, homes, their inhabitants, as in Rokytnik (1990 — 1994), Bewohner (1990 — 1994), Tonga (1993), Hier (1998,

2005 — 2010), Brixton (2002), Cotton Rose (2004 — 2006), where human, nature, urban, animals merge into landscapes with unique characters, colors, lives, connections and contradictions, one is invited to imagine.

In series as Forest (2000 — 2005), Vanitas (2008 — 2012), Horse(2007 — 2014), also present in the show, Hanzlová’s approach to the “deep unconscious of Nature”, as Urs Stahel defines it in her latest publication Silences (2019), expresses nothing less than the same curiosity that she reserves to the human-made: in her existential searching, beyond trends, for “the quintessence of life, for things that endure”.

The latest series WATER (2013 — 2019) expands the transversal approach of the latest thirty years and is dedicated to a pervasive element onto which our existence is based: water, in its various states and faces without own shape.

Hanzlová’s photographs materialize as appearances, phenomena: a line of research that has developed over the decades coincidentally and consistently in the unconscious, and yet single images are now connected in new relations to one another.

Architectures that imprint our lives belong to the realm of nature, which cannot be understood as the exact opposite of what is human: it is simply a condition to our being, a part of us, an irreplaceable one. Hanzlová invites us to look quietly and repeatedly. Her images, then, not only transcend a hierarchy of subjects, but also suggest an original and essential order of existence.

For this solo show, she newly breaks away from the borders of her series, which are treasured as bodies of work in her well-known publications. 

She sees beyond them. The architectures underlining life are organic and inorganic, contradictory and complementary, and yet self‑evident, to those who observe. 

Hanzlová has dedicated her decades-long practice to the act of seeing, in all its possible meanings – she sees, she is seen, she invites us to see, she seeks manifestations that are fragments of our living and which, through her own eyes, might tell us about the wholeness we belong to.

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Exhibiting artistsToggle

Jitka Hanzlova


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