The artist has come to be increasingly interested in the subconscious and the mystic, the sense that there is another reality behind pictures, that remains unshown. It is this unshown reality that Eliška Bartek focuses on in her recent work, as in this 2008 series of black and white photographs. Created on a journey to Abu Dhabi, the series reveals both a hightened sensitivity for the void and a profound curiosity for orientation in an unknown culture. By working with time exposure and camera in motion, the artist succeeds to capture the fluid image of a megacity at the moments of departure and arrival on its airport. She presents us with a sense of tension which builds up in transitional moments of arrival and departure, and which seems to correlate with the discrepancy between image and non-image, longing and disappointment, familiarity and estrangement, expectation and passiveness.
In Bartek's works, the high-tech architecture of the airport and the zeitgeist of flying for a higher game it represents, are revealed as ambitious facades which barely seem to conceal an abysmal potential of paradox and irrationalism.Bartek's erratic photography confronts us with unreal apparitions that seem to stand for the deeply human and universal quest for purpose and identity. Bartek's pictures also convey the sense that this quest is bound to fail, once we lose contact with our historical roots or refuse to actively participate in our future. Ambition for its own sake, Bartek's photographs seem to hint, is as fragile as a house built on sand it can be blown away by history any time.
*Director Photo Edition Berlin
Dietrich, Gunther. 'Erratic Photography'. Stille. Eliška Bartek. 1st ed. Berlin: Photo Edition Berlin, 2009