Baňka often added props to his staged portraits to enhance meaning. In his compositions carefully chosen and placed items do not act as mere ornaments, but become an extension of the model and embodiment of their disposition. The coils give this portrait a surrealist quality, heightened by the model’s dreamy expression and ethereal beauty. Her closed eyes and tilted head seem to suggest we are entering a private space, the space of her mind. In many of his portraits Baňka both probes the subconscious of his subjects while also his reflecting his own imagination. As seen in this piece, dadaism and surrealism were major influences for Baňka. He adopted stylistic modes from both movements to push his photography to the edge of reality.

[Emelia Ho, 'Face and Metal Spiral' in "Suppression, Subversion, and the Surreal: The Art of Czechoslovakian Resistance," (Los Angeles: USC Fisher Museum of Art, 2019) 62.]


  • Title: Face and Metal Spiral
  • Creator: Pavel Baňka (Czech, b. 1941)
  • Date Created: 1986
  • Physical Location: USC Fisher Museum of Art, Los Angeles, The Dr. Eugene Rogolsky Collection, 2015.13
  • Location Created: Prague, Czech Republic
  • Physical Dimensions: 29.2 x 38.1 cm (11 ½ x 15 in.)
  • Subject Keywords: Black and white, Portrait
  • Rights: © Pavel Baňka | Photography by Kelly Barrie, Panic Studio LA
  • Medium: Gelatin silver print

Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more


Google apps