6 x Saudek. Aspekter på ett konstnärskap

Sara Flagge

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)

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6 x Saudek. Aspects of an Artist’s Work is about the Czech photographer Jan Saudek (b. 1935) and his pictures. The thesis deals with Saudek’s photography from the 1960s up to and including the 1990s and comprises six relatively self-contained chapters. Each chap-ter takes up a specific range of problems: they deal with issues concerning connections between photography and theatre (chapter 1); issues concerning the status of fiction as another world (chapter 2); issues concerning the author’s desire and the desire for an au-thor (chapter 3); issues concerning the function of art as an experimental arena where the subject allows herself/himself to be tried and retried (chapter 4); issues concerning the child motif (chapter 5); issues concerning the relation between visual and verbal facets of Saudek’s work (chapter 6). The first two chapters characterize Saudek’s photography; the next two chapters widen the field of problems by considering the person who creates, those who pose and those who watch; the last two chapters may be seen as in-depth stud-ies of limited aspects – one of the child motif and one of the relation between image and word.
The study does not pursue one exclusive thesis, nor is it a traditional art-historical monograph. It brings together a number of selected aspects, giving broad coverage as well as deepened treatment, with the intention of giving a multifaceted and, depending on the aspects, varying picture of Saudek and his photography. This intention is wide open, but it is differentiated through the choice of problems. The aim is also characterized by the ambition to work with a polyphonic, multi-voiced theory. A theory that is based on polyphony at the same time as it provides scope for the author’s own voice.
In the study Saudek’s photography is defined as staged and theatrical, and the fictive world is described as compensatory and carnivalesque. Saudek himself is not presented as one but as many: as an individual man in an isolated room, as a vanishing imitator, as a persevering entertainer, as a phallic collector, as a nostalgic, as a desirable phantom. The photographer, like the model and the observer, are discussed here as physical, dynamic subjects; as bodily situated but also as conditioned by their relation to others. The thesis considers and stresses the scope of Saudek’s child representations, it pays regard to what is problematic or potentially problematic in his more controversial pictures of children, and it also brings out an alternative to a worried and distancing criticism. Finally, the study gives an account of the photographer’s interest in both pictures and words and points to an interaction as well as a friction in the relation between visual and verbal as-pects.
The thesis and the six chapters circumscribe Saudek and his photography, but “the portrait of Saudek” is not, nor does it claim to be, complete. As the title, 6 x Saudek, indi-cates: These aspects are fragments. The author circumscribes without fully enclosing.
Original languageSwedish
Awarding Institution
  • Division of Art History and Visual Studies
  • Sjölin, Jan-Gunnar, Supervisor
Award date2009 May 22
ISBN (Print)978-91-85767-40-3
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Bibliographical note

Defence details

Date: 2009-05-22
Time: 10:00
Place: Sal 314, hus Josephson, Biskopsgatan 5, Lund

External reviewer(s)

Name: Rådström, Anna
Title: fil dr
Affiliation: Umeå universitet


Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Art History


  • visual studies
  • visual analysis
  • art history
  • word and image
  • ethics
  • intimacy
  • child representations
  • the body
  • the subject
  • the desire
  • the author
  • the carnivalesque
  • staged photography
  • Jan Saudek
  • polyphonic theory

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