Photographer Marek Boguszak was born in Prague, Czech Republic, where he still lives. Photography has been his great passion since his late teens. He received his first camera at the age of twelve when he started to experiment with photography. As a child, he was more interested in post-processing darkrooms and exploring exposures and contracts in photography than playing with his schoolmates. He started with black and white photography focusing on his country’s landscapes. His inspirations came from nature and other photographers like Josef Sudek, Ansel Adams, Alfred Stieglitz.

After graduating in mathematics Marek Boguszak worked as a sociologist and in 1990 he became an entrepreneur in the area of market research. Alongside, photography was his vocation, his passion and Marek Boguszak major method was to explore the unknown, the unseen in photography, making his photos a natural abstraction. The artist has received several awards and honorable mentions with TIFA, APA, IPA, Prix de le Photographie, Paris, FAPA and several solo and group exhibitions in London, Prague, Monaco, Zurich and Milan.

 

Curator's Essay

Digital Photography Through the Eyes of an Analog Photographer

By Veronica Cuomo

With the intensity of a volcanic eruption, the artworks of the Czech photographer Marek Boguszak (b. 1952) emerged into the global market after metamorphosing from landscape photography into abstract photographic objects. Zurich, London, Monaco, and Prague were the first audiences to witness Boguszak’s expansion. The artist advances solidly with an excellent international projection through his promising career collecting awards worldwide and organizing his upcoming exhibitions in New York, Madrid, and Bern, among other capitals.

 

His artistic parkour has evolved through different phases from analog to digital, forging an artist of substantial depth. Boguszak became fascinated in his youth with experimentation in nineteenth and early twentieth-century processes and printing techniques, like cyanotypes and toning. His hand-made emulsions, papers, and prints evolved from the atmospheric imagery of Pictorialism into the ground-breaking aesthetics of straight photography. His early work recalls that moment in history when photography fought for legitimacy, first emulating paintings and then pondering the medium’s inherent properties before conquering the realm of fine arts. For the first time, Boguszak agreed to reveal to the public and critics an unpublished selection of his vintage prints in Zurich and Bern in 2022 as part of an international project.

 

Boguszak’s academic training in mathematics, topology, and sociology contributed to the emergence of a very personal photographic vision. His Ph.D. was followed by a period of successful but demanding entrepreneurship that prevented him from practicing photography. Due to the oppressive rhythm of those years, he escaped the office. He sought proximity and immediacy with nature, capturing the landscape’s beauty with unusual intensity —since then — through a digital lens.

 

Death Valley in the USA, shaped by the conspiracy of erosive forces, is the stage for Boguszak’s most recent series, Dunes (2019–2021). Millennia old, the desert preceded us and will exist long after we are gone. This perpetuity engraved in its basic structure transcends in Boguszak’s photography. He dissolves earthly reality to reveal the dunes’ secret anatomy through abstraction, freezing and preserving the essence of the ever-changing choreographic movements of the sand. Malleable and plastics, their outlines are enriched by color and contrast, reflecting the artist’s feelings. Thanks to the availability of digital image-making and digital editing tools since the nineties, Boguszak upgrades and transforms the picture into a means of expression, reinventing a new visual vocabulary. He comprehends that nature is a living being and carefully peels off the layers of its skin until its nudity enables one to perceive its quintessence. In this state, denuded of all references to the real world, the emotional connection to the image is imminent.

 

Abstraction is probably the most remarkable development from Modernism. Discovered—not invented—around 1912 in Europe, abstraction is, by Charles Bernstein’s account, a metaphor. In the case of Boguszak, abstraction is a process, investing an intrinsic metaphorical value using color, contrast, and hues as representations of his individual emotions. He chooses not to photograph an abstract setting but builds abstraction through intuition. Marek Boguszak takes the first steps toward the dissolution of stringent pictorial conceptions, renouncing the historical documentary function of photography and defying the belief that a good photograph is an unmediated slice of reality.

 

Boguszak’s Dunes bears some conceptual and technical affinities with the series The Last Analog Photograph I–XII (2007–2017) from the Swiss artist Hans Danuser (b. 1953), whose muse is also sand. Danuser explores the photographic image’s material nature, paragoning the photographic layers’ complexity with the desert’s. By different means, both artists remind us that vision, like landscape, is in a perpetual state of change, invoking the fragility of a single moment immortalized through their objectives.

 

The Czech photographer’s most recent creations move toward the pictorial language of geometric abstraction—based on the use of geometric forms placed in a non-illusionistic space—exploring some aspects of the movement, mainly the process of evolving a purely pictorial reality by building through the plasticity of sensual figures adapted to his own artistic vocabulary. He emphasizes the flatness of the space—as the carrier of applied elements—away from the original landscape’s physical reality. A visual universe where lines become shapes enhanced by bright tones without compromising their ductility.

 

Capable of bringing to life the photographic print—from scratch—in the darkroom’s intimacy on one side and exploring the manipulative possibilities of state-of-the-art software encoding the world as a computer file, on the other, Boguszak’s relationship with the photographic medium is consummated. It is precisely in the silent coexistence of the analog and the digital photographer that Boguszak’s art holds all its breathtaking uniqueness, performing sublime results in digital photography through the eyes of an analog photographer.

 

September 9, 2021

Zurich, Switzerland

Artist's statement

What eyes cannot see

I love sand dunes. Maybe it is because of my background in mathematics that I like these perfect harmonious lines so much. They are almost like mathematical equations presented to us by nature. Such perfect proportions, not touched by human hand, are difficult to find anywhere else.

 

And when a spectrum of light starts playing on the ideal shapes, a special kind of performance begins: From the pitch-black night through dark blue sky, when I can see just big black dunes, through red sky when purple dunes have blue shades till full sunrise. Alas, my eyes are unable to follow the ongoing parade of marginal colors on dunes' surface. Due to finely calibrated sensors and top processors, a camera is able to record wavelengths of light that are invisible to the naked human eyes.
 

Today’s technologies provide endless new possibilities: new methods, different perspectives, deeper knowledge. In contrast with ‘true real’, the things we can perceive by senses, our hi-tech world has been creating ‘new real’ for us--computer modelling, bitcoin, virtual reality, and so on. Frontier technologies empower us to develop, to change and also to destroy things completely.
 

However, in mathematics, the common thread is the search for order via abstraction: Once abstracted from their 'disturbing' surroundings, sand dunes reveal their beauty and clean geometrical forms and I can present them freely from different angles and different perspectives. Using sophisticated software I boost the recorded colors, even the marginal ones, and I work with them while preserving the basic material relationships I photographed.
 

Since the new perspective and color scheme prevent quick recognition of sand dunes in the final image and weaken ready associations with the familiar landscape, the brain is provoked to read the image anew and establish extremely personal understanding, associations, feelings, emotions ...

 EXHIBITIONS
 

- Upcoming solo exhbition in Ftizrovia Gallery and group exhbition in Saatchi Gallery, both London, October 2021

- Participation at the San Diego Museum of Art 2021 Summer Online group exhibition, June-July 2021

- Solo exhibition "The Narrative of Abstraction", Galerie am Lindenhof, Zurich, April - May 2021

- Ongoing exhibition in his own showroom in Prague featuring abstract works, since July 2020

- Particiption at the ArtBox Project World 1.0 online and in situ group exhibition, Zurich, January - May 2021

- Participation at the Visionary Projects online group exhibition "The Era of Change", January - February 2021

- Participation at Kromatic@ART online and onsite group exhibition at M.A.D.S gallery, Milan, February 2021

- Solo exhibitions "Tuscany" and "Structures" in the "Galerie u Zlateho Kohouta" in Prague, June 2020

- Solo exhibition “Tale of Two Tuscanies”, December 2019, San Quirico d'Orcia, Italy

- Participation at International Art Fair Monaco, August 2020

- Participation at International Art Fair Zurich, October 2020 

- Participation at STARTnet Art Fair London at Saatchi Gallery, October 2020

AWARDS

- Px3 Prix de la Photographie Paris 2021 - multiple honorable mentions in the category "Fine Art / Abstract"

- First Place in the contest of NYC4PA "Wandering Curves", July 2021

- MIFA 2021 - Silver Award and Honorable Mentions in the category Fine Art - Abstract / Professional

- Siena Creative Photo Awards 2021, Commended in the category Abstract

- FAPA 2021 - Nominee in the category Abstract

- VIPA 2021 - Nominee in the category Abstract

- TIFA 2020 - Bronze and multiple honorable mentions in categories Fine Art / Abstract, Fine Art / Special Effects and

   Fine Art / Landscape

- APA 2020 - multiple Honorable Mentions in categories "Abstract", "Fine Art", "Landscape"

- IPA 2020 - 3rd Place in categories "Nature, Landscape", multiple honorable mentions in categories "Fine Art, Abstract",

   "Nature,Landscape" and "Architecture, Historic"

- Photo is Light, World Photography Contest, Top 10 in the category Fine Art

- IPA 2020 - 3rd Place in "Nature, Landscape", multiple honorable mentions in "Fine Art, Abstract",
  "Nature, Landscape" and "Architecture, Historic"

- Px3 Prix de la Photographie Paris 2020 - honorable mentions in categories "Fine Art / Abstract",
  "Fine Art / Landscape",  "Nature / Landscape"

- FAPA 2020: nominee in categories "Abstract", "Fine Art", "Landscape"