The man’s body, a self portrait, is muscular and sculpturesque. The woman is opulent and misshapen. The gauntness of the male is placed opposite the fleshy, fat body of the woman. 0ne is tanned, the other pale, almost worryingly so.
Jan Saudek’s imaginings draw on such opposition, forming a backdrop to the many questions raised by the human condition: love, and its cortege of unmentionable feelings (jealousy, voyeurisme the breaking of taboos, fetishism, the temptation of regression), an obsessive awareness of passing time, the presence of death (the magnificent photograph “Slavic girl with her father”) under the frailty of the skin.
His work has become more extreme in its provocation since spring 1987. It remains human, deeply human, like that of Federico Fellini whom Jan Saudek admires.
The first thing that drew me to the work of Czech photographer Jan Saudek was that the people that be used as models for his nude photography were ordinary people – like the models one might find in a life-class rather than those in the magazines. The second plus was that many of the pictures are funny. I remember an afternoon in a small but perfectly formed London bookshop (alas now only in memory) where I and the two women assistants turned over the pages of one of his first books, collapsing with laughter.
Some of his pictures explore dreams more than reality, although they are strongly rooted in the individuals they portray. The use of hand-coloring often produces a less realistic effect. Part of the reason for Saudek expermenting with this technique was the problem of obtaining colour film.
Overwhelmingly these are pictures about life. Sometimes funny, sometimes pathetic, sometimes a little rude, but that’s perhaps rather like the real thing.
Official site: www.saudek.com