Martin Grega

Slovakia/ Netherlands
“The West is the test”
Three “speaking” photographs (C-prints 20×30 cm/ sound installation)

»The West is the test – last but not East” – There´re many ways how clichés can develop, but the main reason is the human brain. We, as living in our environment, need a certain amount of experiences, which we gain in our life, so we don’t have to question the principles of our life every time somebody touches our nose. And of course, to protect us of not dying on every street corner. But is it not conservative laziness that makes us use the friend of a friend stories, prejudice or just the closest opinion to our remote-control , only not to be forced to change our daily rituals? Not that I think, we don’t think enough, but is it really possible to react properly, make right decisions and be p.c. all the time? Don’t we have a emotional intelligence that tells us where the funny story ends and where to use the rest of our tolerance?
I mean, do you know that there is right and left, for sure? How do you know that there is a difference between East and West? Even when you have never been there, never saw the eyes of that guy? A big portion of things we know, we take over from others, we use somebody’s subjective perspective. At its best it works with photographical pictures because they´re just showing the truth.
But isn’t a photograph a personal vision: the photographer‘s choice of angle, shot size, framing, lens type, subject, motion, time exposure, all demonstrate that a photograph is a manipulated interpretation rather than a copy of reality? They position their subjects. The choice of the event photographed is a cultural construction, ‚the space for this construction is … cleared by [the photographer‘s] rejection of what he did not choose to photograph. The construction is his reading of the event which is in front of his eyes. It is this reading … which decides his choice of the instant to be photographed‘ (Berger & Mohr, 1982: pp92-3)
Come on, that sounds kind of cliché to me… Does that mean everything we know and see, for sure, could be a cliché? Can there be done anything to prevent clichés without producing new ones? I don’t know. I’m here, just because I want to prove that everybody in Slovakia wears a hat.«
(Martin Grega, Den Haag 2005)

bild 1: ein typischer slowake schaut immer seitwärts und trägt einen hut
bild 2: die menschen die es sich nicht leisten können einen hut zu erwerben lassen sich die haare lockig wachsen
und durch die intensive sonne wird ihre haut dunkler
bild 3: man erkennt am nicht seitwärts schauen daß es sich um eine slowakin handelt. frauen tragen auch keinen
hut aber es ist klar daß sie immer einen porzelan hund dabeihaben.

born in Slovakia, Kosice 1975. Emigrated to Germany, Berchtesgaden Stuttgart Hamburg 1985, living in the Netheralnds, Rotterdam Den Haag since 2003

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