On the Threshold of a Story


Naked as the day the Lord made him, man is now granted an opportunity to step momentarily out of the bonds of earthly connections and to return to his birth. Look: the naked figures on the photographs are stripped of the weight of the objective world; men and women step beyond the horizon where the data of time and place determine the general course of events and their day-to-day doings, in order to stand once again as free people face to face with their Maker.


Standing in front of many of the photographs that have captured, free of all ballast, the likenesses of the actors of the Teatr Novogo Fronta company, we realize that we, too, are here with them. We are standing on the edge of the scene and, at the same time, in the middle of a picture in which we can meet with our own experience. We are separated from them by a mere step, by our actual existence. The space of the composed picture opposite tempts us to enter a story that has momentarily stopped.


On the threshold of a story whose visible action has vanished from both the picture and the contemporary world, immersed itself in the depths of memory or descended to its own archetype (to the underworld of the underground), we suddenly feel that this stop in front of a picture of man who is made in God’s image has called us into question. We suspect, however, that the answer can be provided only by a naked, vulnerable person who is burdened with the problems of everyday life and has renounced the sterile wealth of culture, the facade of aesthetics and the personality of hairstyles – everything that could in future separate him from his free origin.


The photographic portraits of members of the Teatr Novogo Fronta, who have worked in Prague for some time now, remind us that the century of two World wars, nameless wielders of power, nameless dead and victims of the Shoah, has stripped people of the ability to see and register the features of individual faces and the outlines of the human being. On the horizon of anonymity each free person appears suspect, a rowdy or an eccentric. Perhaps an advanced perception of the human ethos, through the medium of the photographic picture and cinematic story, will enable people once again to notice the forming shape of man on the threshold of the third millennium.


Look: each person, whether man or woman, is as naked as the day he or she was born, admitting his or her own natural form and social status, which freely resonates in the present moment of everyday life where the commonly communicated poverty of experience continues on. Nakedness makes them into points of intersection of released energy of creation.  Turned back towards the place they have come from, they suddenly feel the breath that precedes the birth of individual forms and gives us – before we become a man or a woman – the primary possibility of being free. The bodies of these beings brighten up as they reflect the world we live in; they take on a variety of human roles, from which they again purify themselves in their nakedness. On the threshold of their own story they are saturated with vital energies and fortitude, which flow from the source of sanctity and freedom.


Věra Jirousová, 2002