The exhibition was curated and prepared by Vladimír Špaček (Head of the Photography Department, Mainz Academy of Fine Arts and Tomáš Ruller (Head of the Performance-Photography Department, Brno Faculty of Fine Arts) in cooperation with the House of Art's curator Dr. Jana Vránová.

The decision to prepare a group exhibition of work by Mainz Academy of Fine Arts photography students and Faculty of Fine Arts VUT Brno performance students at the House of Art gallery was the result of long term interest on behalf of those involved in realizing a collaborative project. The result was the presentation of a selection of students' and graduates' work from both schools, focusing primarily on photography.

Vladimír Špaček, who at the end of the 70's exhibited his photography at the Jaroslav Funke Gallery at the House of the Lords of Kunštát and later at the House of Art, was informed that part of the House of Art regular exhibition program is a presentation of contemporary photography. Based on his contacts, built up over many years, several exchanges took place between his students and those at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Brno as well as the creation of visiting professor programs at both schools. Vladimír Špaček was a visiting professor at the Performance-Photography studio of the Faculty of Fine Arts in Brno and the head of that department, Tomáš Ruller, was visiting professor in 2003 in Mainz where in the same year he realized an exhibition of his students. The intention to present a group exhibition arose from these collaborative activities. Similar exhibition projects in Germany should be realized in the future based on the experiences from this event.

The Spacek Photography Klasse was established after Vladimír Špaček's arrival at the Mainz Academy in 1991. The work presented at this exhibiton reflects primarily the educational and artistic principles that direct the work of this studio's young artists. Photography with a wide range of artistic interpretation and multilateral application is a priority, in this we witness how the students' embrace diverse artistic and technical approaches in order to verify the possibilities that this particular medium offers them. They aren't limited by themes, they choose freely on what, and how, they would like to work, the goal being authentic artistic creation. The educational program is based on respect for the artist's individuality. Consultation and critique follow the developing student's talent in their attempt to find individual themes and the appropriate technique. In the context of contemporary artistic production which blurs the borders between individual artistic fields, mingling and blending into one another, we witness the usage of the experience and techniques of other artistic genres - painting, drawing, graphic arts, work with three-dimensional objects. Video projections, animation, installation and performance are also an inseparable aspect of photographic projects. Next to the artistically refined black and white photographic images where the students worked from reality - a detail of the human body, architecture, an object viewed in a new configuration, evoking new contexts of meaning - we find compositions of a graphic character, conceptually oriented work. Several works are selections from extensive cycles where the artist continually deals with specific staged photography in which the author plays the role of main protagonist in arranged settings, indicating numerous interwoven time dimensions and narrative sequences. Among the work presented are also examples of those which crystallized during the aforementioned exchanges - for example images of Brno's Villa Tugendhat in which the photographer made usage of authentic photographs of the original owners, in so doing evoking the history of the building. Some cycles react to the current political situation which is a common subject for students of both studios. The Performance-Photography Studio has existed at the Faculty of Fine Arts since 1998 when Tomás Ruller's Video-Multimedia-Performance Studio was split up. The studio focuses on artistic performance in public space. Students are introduced to and acquainted with visual, physical and audio expression through the use of classic and multimedia techniques. The goal of the study program is the development of individual creative expression through the use of experimental approaches and methods with emphasis on the contextual content of the work relating chiefly to current contemporary stimulus, however, with the consciousness of tradition and expression of other cultures. The exhibited works document the original reflection of the perception of political and spiritual spheres, interest in critical, problematic but also seemingly marginal current social issues, to personal experiences. Through the use of video projection, installation and performance both real and virtual, students interpret concrete stimuli and react to themes that concern and inspire or provoke them, characterized as confession or personal testimony.

For this collaborative exhibition, work that represents the results of the studio's 10 year existence, with emphasis on work that makes use of photography, in digital photography as well as in video projection, was chosen. In several thematic circles both bodies of work meet in their interest in likewise themes, however they differ in their approach to artistic interpretation - related to a certain degree by the thechnology employed and partly in the artist's individual intention.

Although the exhibition wasn't prepared with the intention of comparing and judging divergences, significant differences or the declaration of related opinions concerning photography, which each school undoubtedly approaches from a different point of departure, a confrontation of this character was wholly unavoidable. The purpose of this project, however, was not the search for analogies or, on the contrary, contrasting positions but the presentation of the work itself, which displays the promising beginning of the artistic development of it's authors. It is in this sense that the exhibition fulfills expectations.

Jana Vránová