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Postwar Czechoslovakia was an era of chaos, militarism, oppression, and artistic suppression. Boy Kissing Hand shows a young, shut-eyed boy kissing a hand extending from outside of the photo’s frame. The “Deputy Sheriff” badge on the boy’s jacket alludes to the police-state culture that dominated Czechoslovakia at the time. Here, Saudek employs satire to comment on the alliance between the police and the Czechoslovakian government. By casting a young boy and an older man in the image, Saudek creates a power dynamic that parallels the relationship between a subordinate and a superior within the state. Saudek employs clear visual imagery in order to inspire Czechoslovakian commoners to be conscious of the government's misdoings. In response to government censorship, Saudek often created provocative works that fought against the state’s suppression of thoughts and ideas. This piece, while possessing a faint sense of humor, showcases the polices’ unrelenting allegiance to government authority.

[Corey Gordon, '#35 (Life)' in "Suppression, Subversion, and the Surreal: The Art of Czechoslovakian Resistance," (Los Angeles: USC Fisher Museum of Art, 2019) 46.]

Details

  • Title: Boy Kissing Hand
  • Creator: Jan Saudek (Czech, b. 1935)
  • Date Created: 1967 (Printed 1978)
  • Physical Location: USC Fisher Museum of Art, Los Angeles, The Dr. Eugene Rogolsky Collection, 2015.13
  • Location Created: Prague, Czech Republic
  • Physical Dimensions: 40.6 x 40.6 cm (16 x 16 in.)
  • Subject Keywords: Black and white
  • Rights: © Jan Saudek | Photography by Kelly Barrie, Panic Studio LA
  • Medium: Gelatin silver print

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