Jan Saudek à Paris
November 1990, Month of Photography, Paris. Photographer Jan Saudek takes us on a discovery of Paris and helps guide us through a few photography exhibits. Interviewed by his friend Pierre Borhan, Jan Saudek explains that he feels free in Paris, much more than in Prague where he lives.
Born In Prague in 1935, Jan Saudek saw his childhood deeply marked by the horrors of Nazism: several members of his family died at the Theresienstadt camp, whilst he was interned with his twin brother Karel, escaping some of the tortuous experiments of Josef Mengele.
He survived the war, found a first job in a printing house and found a taste for painting and photography. In 1972 he transformed his basement into a studio, his first photographs were in black and white, coloured by himself. He was influenced by the atrocious scenes in the camps and his images reflect his death wishes and sexual fantasies. His female nudes have a provocative beauty that can shock.
A suspect in his own country, it's not until 1984 that the Communist authorities recognized him as an artist and allowed him to leave his factory job. Often threatened with censorship, he defended himself against accusations of pornography, "To me, the difference between pornography and art is very simple. You can look at art indefinitely whereas you can only glance at pornography before leaving it."
In France in 1983, Jan Saudek received the distinction of Chevalier des Arts et Lettres. In 2005, a large retrospective was devoted to him in Prague.