Funke’s Kolin Photography Festival
Only few places in the Czech Republic are as closely associated with avant-garde photography as the city of Kolin. It was in this town that Josef Sudek, Jaromír Funke, and Eugen Wiškovský, three renowned pioneers of modern Czech photography were meeting each other.
The first festival of photography in honour of Jaromír Funke and Josef Sudek, Funke’s Kolin, focused on experimental photography. It was organised by Aleš Kuneš, Jolana Havelková and Miloš Kim Houdek in October 1993. Each edition of the festival revolves around a particular theme, thus in 1996, the theme was ‘Still Life’, in 1998, ‘The Body’, in 2001, ‘The Landscape’, and in 2003, ‘Advertisement Photography’. This approach was chosen so as to foster a deepening insight into the development of contemporary photography.
The festival is organised in untraditional spaces that lend themselves to innovative approaches to exhibiting photography. In the past, we used for example, a rehearsal room in the local theatre, Kolin’s former castle, and a brewery. As a part of the festival, we organised exhibitions of important photographers connected with the town of Kolin, thus presenting for example Funke’s work (this event was curated by Anna Fárová).
Since 2001, the festival has been held biannually, and included the work of over 100 photographers, of whom at least Ivan Pinkava, Pavel Mára, Miroslav Machotka, Václav Jirásek, Rudolf Sikora should be mentioned. Its scope is not limited to established photographers. The festival has also been a place to see the work of young artists, such as Michaela Thelenová, Štěpánka Šimlová, Pavel Kopřiva, and Jiří Křenek. We have been co-operating with a number of curators, such as Martina Pachmanová, Josef Moucha, Pavel Vančát, and Tomáš Pospěch. Two well-known curators, Jolana Havelková and Aleš Kuneš, are even among the founders of the festival.
Funke’s Kolin is currently the only regularly held event devoted to presenting contemporary photography in the Czech Republic. We also co-operate on similar projects, though smaller in scale, with friends in Slovakia, where The Month of Photography in Bratislava is held. In the summer of 2004, a civic association Funke’s Kolin was established to facilitate the practical issues connected with organising our events.