"Spare a coin"
26/03 - 15/06/2014

In French

Barbora Pivoňková, de la série Faites un don, 2012-2013

During her residency in Brussels, Barbora Johansson Pivonkova became interested in the phenomenon of beggars in the city. She decided to photograph them in action, in the places where they exposed themselves to the view of passers-by, in a defined space, to ask for money. She presents the beggars as a group within Society, she does not create individual portraits. Each photo in her series, which hints at the objective point of view of a scientific observer, nevertheless reveals an individual story which she does not attempt to explore: her observation of this phenomenon is in itself a denunciation. The individual cases featured in this series of photos lead us towards general truths and survival strategies in a wider context.

In each photo, the photographer uses the same perspective, the same downward viewpoint, to show general characteristics.
By using this method, she shows the beggars’ environment and personal belongings. Their faces remain invisible – apart from one child’s look – so we cannot look them in the eye. This situation in itself gives us a feeling of familiarity.

In contemporary photography, images which look down represent the “height” of observation and research, and this is also the case here. By using this unusual viewpoint, the artist can describe familiar situations and places from a different angle. In her images, she mixes together distance and familiarity, which helps us to understand relationships which are normally inaccessible to an audience.

These faceless portraits were taken in well-known streets of Brussels such as Rue Neuve, Avenue Louise, around the Sablon and Boulevard Anspach.

Gabriela Csizek, exhibition curator

Translation: Chris Bourne

The exhibition is part of the Artists in Residence in Brussels programme, which Contretype
started in 1997, and which continues in partnership with the Wallonie-Brussels Federation
and the Francophone Community Commission (COCOF).

In collaboration with the Centre tchèque à Bruxelles

Barbora PIVONKOVA is born in 1985.


2012/2006: MgA.-Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague; studio of Conceptual art
2010: Yeditepe University in Istanbul; studio of Photography
2009/2008: École Nationale Supérieure Des Arts Décoratifs in Paris; studio of Photography and Video
2006/2005: Charles University in Prague; studio of Art Theory
2004: Gymnasium Jana Palacha in Prague

Selected projets:

2013: art project NAD CAROU, DOX Gallery in Prague
2012: EU SITTERS, EU WALKERS, photographic project, Contretype Gallery in Brussels
2011: photographic project NO PERSONAL CULPABILITY, presented at People's research seminar, CFPS, Serpentine Gallery in London
2010: video project CROSSTIMER, 5th International Triennale of Arts in Istanbul
2009: SCENES: LOCUS DELICTI, photographic project, Immix Gallery in Paris
2009: photographic serie HIDDEN, ENSAD Gallery in Paris
2008: video project WITHOUT OURSELVES, Photoport Gallery in Bratislava
2006: project POD CAROU, alternative galleries in Prague