Hibernation 2020 – an artist’s view of the pandemic

Radek Drbohlav, photo: Lucie Fürstová / Czech Radio

Most people from the arts world say that the coronavirus crisis does not inspire creativity and they can’t wait for it to be over. Photographer Radek Drbohlav says that, hard as these days are, he had an urge to capture these strange times, other than by photos of people wearing masks. He has just published a set of artistic photos of people from different professions “in hibernation“.

Hibernation 2020 is a testimony of our times – a set of photographs showing people in different professions frozen in time –a bartender, barber, actor, singer or ballet dancer. All of them are in hibernation, waiting to pick up their lives. Photographer Radek Drbohlav explains:

“I felt that as a photographer I should give testimony of our time and I associate it with hibernation. Life has stopped and these people are frozen in time waiting to start living again. Most of them are friends of mine, the owner of the barbershop I go to, the owner of the gym I frequent, singer Bára Basiková and ballet dancer Marika Mikanová. I knew from the start that I must have a ballet dancer in the series.”

Marika Mikanová says she did not hesitate a minute when asked to pose for a series of photographs.

“I think Radek was pleased with the way it went. All it took was for me to think about how the world has changed for us all and I had the expression he wanted. When I saw the photos it struck me how well they reflected the times, how we are all in this together.”

Photographer Radek Drbohlav says that while it would have been easy to use a Photoshop he wanted the masks to be real.

“This project was somehow exceptional. You know I use Photoshop a lot in my work – people either love it or hate it –but I knew I wanted to do this the old way – white mascara, latex for the skin, icicles, all the tricks they use at the Barrandov Film Studios. We had so much fun, such a great time creating the right look, that sometimes we would forget it was all for the photos “

All the photos are in grey and white tones, tinged with blue – with one exception. Singer Bára Basiková’s photo has a splash of colour – she is seen holding blood red rose petals, even while she seems frozen and is covered with cobwebs.

“I wanted Bára’s picture to be different. I wanted one of the photos to carry hope and that is what the rose petals are about. Red roses on snow.   The look in Bara’s eyes also spells hope. I hope people understand the message.”

For the present, the photos can only be viewed on the internet. When the pandemic is over Radek Drbohlav is planning an exhibition.

Authors: Daniela Lazarová , Lucie Fürstová
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