The Magical World of Bohumil Hrabal – photography exhibition


Ladislav Michálek (born 1937) is undoubtedly one of the „gentle barbarians” around Bohumil Hrabal and his Weir of Eternity, as Hrabal used to call the back wing of his house at Na Hrázi Street in Prague-Libeň.

Michálka met Hrabal via his friend, the artist Vladimír Boudník. During that time Michálek photographed the process of gradual transformation of Libeň, a district which is fully present today only in the stories of Hrabal, with its corners, small streets, little restaurants, houses, yards, craft workshops, the waste in the Vltava river, advertisements disappearing from the walls of the houses. Among them there are photographs of contemporary figures of the unofficial culture: Hrabal, Boudník, Bondy and others; sometimes a subjective glance at historical events, 1968 and 1969. Numerous details.

Here, his bedside lamp is the only light source, sometimes it is only a burning match. Michálek records different situations, moods, feelings, his photographs are full of tension and artistic complexity. Starting from the seventies he also photographs Hrabal, who calls him his court photographer in a friendly manner. There are pictures of Kerska, from the inn, on mushroom picking excursions, on a train. Both authors find inspiration in one another. In the seventies they prepare several joint publications.

The exhibition presents a selection of photographs by Ladislav Michálek.