The surrealist movement spawned a host of recognized artists, but you might not have heard of Vilem Kriz. The Czech photographer had a host of roadblocks thrown in the path of his reputation, including a move to the United States, stormy gallery relations and a decade-plus period during which he did not photograph at all. Despite these issues, Kriz finally gained some notoriety before his death in 1994; an exhibit of his work, Vilem Kriz: Surrealist, opens tonight at Camera Obscura Gallery, 1309 Bannock Street, with a reception from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
All of Kriz's photographs were taken using a 1935, nine-by-twelve-centimeter Linhoff camera given to him by his father. It had no shutter, and after his move to Berkeley in 1952, Kriz had to trim American-sized four-by-five-inch film for use in it. He also chemically toned all of his prints individually with solutions of his own creation, and many of his iconic surrealist compositions were taken in his own Berkeley back yard.
Take a closer look at Kriz's work this evening; limited-edition books of his photography, sold with a print, will be available at Camera Obscura during the exhibit's stay. Vilem Kriz hangs through March 2; visit www.cameraobscuragallery.com or call 303-623-4059 for information.
Jan. 18-March 2, 2008