Ivan Lutterer (1954–2001) lived and worked in solitude, quietly and with concentration. His heightened and watchful alertness to all matters in life derived from his extraordinary sense of responsibility and unflagging efforts to name things precisely and act accordingly. To him, photography was an agent that helped him to grasp life around him, one through which he questioned the meaning of all things. In his unpretentious yet highly cultivated images, he captured with sensitivity ordinary, everyday situations that are the essence of Czech life of those days. With that much more eloquence, the delicate touches of reality partially reveal the meanings of things concealed in the trival and the banal, the overlooked, the forgotten, the marginal.
Lutterer worked with various formats. Using a classic wooden camera with an 18 × 24 cm format, he photographed the courtyards of Prague’s Lesser Town, poetic themes from nature in the city’s Stromovka Park and scenes from the vicinity of Prague, all of which attest to his sensitive work with light. However, desolate places around the city are Lutterer‘s principal subject matter. From 1978 to 1980, he photographed Prague’s gardenpatch colonies with their crudely-built shacks. While documenting the Czechs’ do-it-yourself character, these pictures are also forceful records of their ability to build an absurd, peculiar little world of their own. Praha (Prague, 1991–1992) is a collection of photographs documenting the appearance of Prague’s outskirts in its alienation, abandonment and total desolation.
Lutterer’s use of a panoramic camera played a distinctive and very important role in his creative output. He used an old Kodak Panoram 6 × 18 cm format camera (manufactured in 1894–1904). The panoramic “looking around” at things reflected his nature of viewing matters with humility in all contexts. With his panoramic camera, he shot scenes in their entirety, where all depicted objects are placed on a par, with only their mutual relations providing a multilayered testimony. This non-aestheticizing, seemingly detached approach has a powerful emotional charge and superb pictorial quality.
Ivan Lutterer also co-authored two widely acclaimed photographic series: Český člověk (Czech People) and Letem českým světem 1898/1998 (Czech Turns of the Century 1898/1998). The exhibition hosted in the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague is the first comprehensive overview of his work. The display is the result of years of organizing and classifying his photographic estate that has been donated to the Museum of Decorative Arts in
The exhibition is accompanied by an interactive programme for visitors.
Exhibition is held under the auspices of Mr. Daniel Herman, Minister of Culture of the Czech Republic.
A monograph on Ivan Lutterer has been published by Studio JB.
Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague
17. listopadu 2
110 00 Prague 1
Tue 10 a.m.—7 p.m., Wed — Sun 10 a.m.—6 p.m., Mon closed