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In this photograph, a hanging coat is used as the figure and main subject. The hat on top of the coat stand in combination with wide draping of the coat, gives a sense of depth and solid form to what is actually an inanimate object. Here, Chochola experiments with the idea of lost identity through the absence of a physical body by depicting just the illusion of a figure. With his life in Czechoslovakia seized by political oppression and censorship, Vesak (Coat stand), offers a glimpse into the reality of having to hide personal expressions and opinions at this time as a Czech artist. Additionally, the coat stand is surrounded by several ordinary objects, like the back of a chair, a lamp, and the numbers of a clock reflected directly onto the coat. The inclusion of these objects point to Chochola’s experience as a photojournalist and fascination with depicting daily life.

[Abigail Bresler, 'Fisherman on the River Vltava / Rybář na Vltavě' in "Suppression, Subversion, and the Surreal: The Art of Czechoslovakian Resistance," (Los Angeles: USC Fisher Museum of Art, 2019) 74.]

Details

  • Title: Vesak (Coat stand)
  • Creator: Václav Chochola (Czech, 1923 – 2005)
  • Date Created: 1944
  • Physical Location: USC Fisher Museum of Art, Los Angeles, The Dr. Eugene Rogolsky Collection, 2015.13
  • Location Created: Czech Republic
  • Physical Dimensions: 30.8 x 23.5 cm (12 ⅛ x 9 ¼ in.)
  • Subject Keywords: Black and white
  • Rights: Václav Chochola / © Archiv B&M Chochola | Photography by Kelly Barrie, Panic Studio LA
  • Medium: Vintage gelatin silver print

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