Koudelka Theatre . Josef Koudelka
Delpire & co
Bougeant au milieu des acteurs, sur le plateau, j’étais capable de prendre la même scène, à de multiples reprises, mais différemment. Cela m’a appris à tirer le meilleur parti d’une situation donnée, et j’ai continué à appliquer cette méthode à mon travail.
delpire & co est heureux de publier Koudelka Theatre, une présentation de 58 photographies nouvellement éditées, accompagnée d’un texte de l’historien de la photographie Tomáš Pospěch.
Selon ses propres dires, Josef Koudelka était peu attiré par le théâtre dans sa jeunesse. Lorsqu’il arrive à Prague de son village de Moravie à la fin des années 1950, il se consacre avant tout à ses études. Il s’intéresse alors aux avions, à la musique folklorique et à la photographie, qu’il pratique en amateur. Un camarade de classe lui recommande de rencontrer son oncle, qui travaille à la rédaction de la revue Divadlo (Théâtre), alors à la recherche d’un photographe. C’est dans ce contexte que Josef Koudelka, bientôt ingénieur aéronautique de métier, devient photographe de plateau.
Dans les années 1960, les théâtres praguois font partie des rares lieux de la Tchécoslovaquie soviétique où perdure une relative liberté d’expression. Le dramaturge et essayiste Vaclav Havel, futur président de la République fédérale tchèque et slovaque (1989-1992) y est particulièrement actif, notamment au Théâtre sur la Balustrade (Divadlo na zábradlí). Cette scène est alors un haut lieu du théâtre de l’absurde, où des metteurs en scène tels que Jan Grossman interprètent Ubu Roi, d’Alfred Jarry (1964), En attendant Godot, de Samuel Beckett, ou Intermezzo de Jean Giraudoux… À la suite du Printemps de Prague (1968), ces scènes sont contraintes de fermer, et leurs animateurs entrent en dissidence ou quittent le pays.
Il existe une corrélation riche entre la photographie de théâtre de Koudelka et sa façon ultérieure de concevoir ses images comme une réflexion sur le théâtre du monde.
Tout ce que nous connaissons de sa pratique de l’image se retrouve dès ses débuts dans le travail qu’il réalise à Prague dans les années 1960 : son attention à la composition graphique, sa facilité à travailler dans des espaces restreints parmi des personnes en mouvement et dans des situations d’éclairage difficiles, son obsession à revenir encore et encore sur le même motif, les mêmes gestes et rituels. C’est au cours des années 1960 qu’il documente également la vie des gitans. Ces deux séries, créées en parallèle et sur le temps long, entretiennent de nombreux liens.
« Les Gitans, c’était aussi du théâtre. À cette différence près que la pièce n’était pas écrite d’avance et qu’il n’y avait pas de metteur en scène. Il n’y avait là que des acteurs. C’était le réel, la réalité, la vie. Il y avait tout. C’était un autre type de théâtre, c’était le théâtre de la vie. Sans rien à y arranger. La seule chose qu’il fallait savoir, c’était comment réagir. Il ne dépendait que de moi ce que j’allais en faire. »
Propos recueillis par Otomar Krejča, ‘Divadlo, Zkušenost z představení’, in Josef Koudelka, Prague: Torst, 2006
Koudelka Theatre comprend des photographies de productions importantes dans deux grands théâtres, le Théâtre sur la Balustrade et le Théâtre Derrière la Porte, ainsi que des images réalisées pour les couvertures de Divadlo.
La maquette du livre est inspirée de l’œuvre du principal graphiste et scénographe de l’époque dans le milieu du théâtre à Prague, Libor Fára (1925-1988), mari d’Anna Fárová, conservatrice et historienne de la photographie qui a aidé Koudelka au début de sa carrière.
La typographie utilisée a été créée par le Studio Najbrt en 2020, à partir d’une ancienne machine à écrire de l’époque évoquant les Samizdats, ouvrages clandestins interdits par la censure soviétique.
*Interview donnée Bryn Cambell, World Photography, Londres, 1981.
Citation extraite de Josef Koudelka, l’Épreuve Totalitaire, de Jean-Pierre Montier, Delpire Éditeur, Paris,
Photographies : © 2021 Josef Koudelka / Magnum Photos
De haut en bas : Ubu Roi (Král Ubu), d’Alfred Jarry, mise en scène de Jan Grossman, Divadlo Na zábradlí (Theâtre de la Balustrade), Prague, 1964.
Intermezzo, de Jean Giraudoux, mise en scène de Otomar Krejča, Divadlo za branou (Theâtre Derrière la Porte), Prague, 1967
En attendant Godot (Čekání na Godota), de Samuel Beckett, mise en scène de Václav Hudeček, Divadlo Na zábradlí (Théâtre de la Balustrade), Prague, 1964.
Masques ostendais (Maškary z Ostende), de Michel de Ghelderode, mise en scène by Otomar Krejča, Divadlo za branou (Theâtre Derrière la Porte), Prague, 1965.
An Hour of Love (Hodina lásky), de Josef Topol. mise en scène Otomar Krejča, Divadlo za branou (Theâtre Derrière la Porte), Prague, 1968.
delpire & co
Date de parution : 25/11/2021
96 pages, 210 x 250 mm
58 photographies en noir et blanc
Couverture souple, Broché avec rabats
Texte de Tomáš Pospěch
Conception graphique par Aleš Najbrt et Josef Koudelka
Graphisme : Studio Najbrt, Prague
Langue : français et anglais
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