Essence Thermal

A serie of photos, art residence with Pavlína Komoňová at the Thermal Hotel in Karlovy Vary


Spring Michaela: What were your expectations, Pavlina?

Spring Pavlína: I was very much connected to the fact that we would be staying at the Thermal Hotel. I was tempted to spend some time here, but I was also apprehensive about it. Hotels are not places I like to stay for long periods of time. I was scared and curious at the same time, because this is the HOTEL THERMAL IN KARLOVY VARY, a significant architecture... Our hotel room was not just a place for me to sleep, but it was within the framework of the project already.

S.P.: And you Michaela? What were your expectations?

S.M.: I was really looking forward to it. I wanted to try the game of being a hotel guest. It was a bit of a bizarre idea for me. I was convinced that it was an interesting thing to try. Through my stay, I found a relationship with the place. It was a spontaneous process.

We came in with a plan that changed as we worked. Maybe we should describe our plan a little bit...

S.M.: What was our plan, Pavlina?

S.P.: I don't know if it was exactly a plan, it was more of a suggestion on my part to follow up on the publication about the artistic phase in the work of Edvard Munch, which he called Lebenfries. We used that publication as an initial inspiration.
Munch writes in it that it is "Düchtung über Leben, Liebe und Tod" - "poems about life, love and death". The main motif in the book is women, girls or couples, two people, and they're all lonely... There are scenes from life, portraits, situations like a kiss or a sick girl, melancholy...

S.M.: For me the title of the book is also important... I translated it as a frieze or an imprint of life...

S.P.: Simply, there are inspirational images that could be realized in the hotel premises in the medium of photography, which we chose to work with. However, the planned staged situations ended up becoming documentary photographs through various means.

S.M.: For me it was more a search for some imprints of your life and mine and our meeting in the context of this art event and the Thermal Hotel... Well, it gradually became the opposite, that the hotel itself started to dictate what situations would usurp our attention and which moments our work efforts would revolve around.

S.M.: Well, now could we explain what came about in the end?

S.P.: The cornerstone of our work ended up being a literal stone, the statue of Slavoj Nejdl in front of the hotel. We observed it from different angles. We tried to bring its abstract form into the interior of the hotel, which is dominated by mostly horizontal and vertical lines. The window is another important motif for me. A view inside the hotel or from the hotel to its surroundings. We wanted the inner and outer life to be connected in one image.

S.M.: For me, it's a trio of different shots of the stone sculpture, here and now, in its matter, in space and time, objective, much as possible, and the other two trios of photos are always a certain shift from that descriptiveness, either outward or inward - a kind of meditation in the consciousness of the observer, looking at himself and the place from where he is looking, or looking inward, into what he is looking at.