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Lukáš Bártl

Skupina VOX

VOX Group (comprised of Jan Beran, Miloš Budík, Antonín Hinšt, Karel Otto Hrubý, Soňa Skoupilová, Vladimír Skoupil and Josef Tichý) was undeniably one of the most distinctive art groups in Czechoslovakia in the 1960s and early 1970s. The group formed in Brno, which at that time was a major cultural centre, where art germinated yet a bit more freely than in the capital city. Photography found a base for itself there in official institutions (Jaromír Funke's Studio at the House of Art in Brno, the Photography Collection of the Moravian Gallery in Brno) and also in a massive amateur movement with a huge membership base, from which VOX Group partly evolved. VOX did not have a strictly formulated programme, nor was it a group striving to make a statement on behalf of a generation. The authors were brought together simply by their interest in photography, by the participation of members in International Salons of Art Photography, and by their attendance at photography courses, either as students or teachers. However, a specific attribute of VOX Group was that they created exhibitions based on uniform concepts. These could be called a kind of 'exhibition programme'. It is difficult, however, to reconstruct them today. The work of the members of VOX Group can be divided up into several streams. Miloš Budík and Karel Otto Hrubý created many excellent photographs inspired by the idea of the poetry of the everyday. Jan Beran's workshop produced socially critical photographs taken after the occupation in August 1968. Antonín Hinšt and Karel Otto Hrubý were exquisite landscape photographers, but their photographs of devastated industrial landscapes are also noteworthy and rank among the earliest works of art to give voice to the clearly ecological outlook of the artists behind them. Somewhat singular is the work of Josef Tichý, who creatively used female nudes to make powerfully stylised photographs. In each of the streams mentioned here VOX Group photographers achieved outstanding results and their work ranks firmly among the treasures of Czech culture.

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