TT Journal, ISSUE 4, 12th September 2022

By Karel Komorous

The place is an old abandoned tin mine located in western Czechia. It was built during the second world war by Nazi Germany to deliver tin ore, an important metal for weapon production. However they expected a much larger amount of the ore than was actually found. Despite this, the mining continued, even without real reason. The Germans din’t want to show they make mistakes. At the end of the war the works were terminated and the mine transferred under the management of Kutná Hora mines. Soon after it was abandoned with equipment and closed for good. 

This series of my photographs began to emerge during the harsh winters and almost equally stagnant social conditions during the second wave of the COVID period. The motifs of loneliness, a man (his body) as part of the landscape, or the feeling of isolation from human society had been ripening in me for several years and were only heightened by the enforced physical distancing. When a person is unable or incapable of connecting to other people, this need can manifest itself towards things or places, as it did for me. I chose the form of a self-portrait out of a need to express myself, to myself. At the same time I deliberately did not present my face in order to create an anonymous body.

The process of taking the photographs became essential for me, a kind of anchoring myself in the world. I experienced feelings of calmness, an absolute absence of ever passing thoughts, spontaneity, perhaps even trance. I became immersed in the environment and did not perceive the surrounding coldness, the wind; I was simply flowing along the same wave as the imaginary being of the building.

I subsequently worked on the set during the other seasons – spring, summer, autumn – to create a year-long, site specific project. Over time I began gaining experiences and specific ways of understanding the place as an extension of my inner feelings. So with every session I was somebody slightly different, my thoughts behind the project transformed, as did the way I composed the scenes, as well as my technical skills. So the project is not only about the place changing its face through the year, but about my inner evolution too. I observed the transience of myself while witnessing the slightest developments through the repetitive actions.

In some ways this project changed me. For example it changed how I feel about nudity. Before I was shy, now I do not really care about being naked and can even enjoy it. I think long-term projects are important opportunities to study motifs and can also serve to redefine oneself.

In the end I felt I have to extend the project somehow. I made field recordings from the set so the final result is audiovisual, which I consider as the final state of the project.

Below is a selection of some of the images from the project as well as the audiovisual piece.

Karel Komorous is an artist primarily focused on working with the human body and its continual confrontation with its surroundings. His key area is photography which he studied at Vysoká Škola Kreativní Komunikace where he was just awarded his Bachelor degree. During his studies he started to use his own body in the projects, leading to a shift towards performance and happening.