Czech artist Tereza Zelenkova’s mystical photography is an exploration of symbolism, in her occult subject-matter and her experimentation with darkness and light in landscape imagery. BITE interviews her to discover more about her unique and poetic vision:
1) Could you explain the importance of light within your work?
Regarding the fact that I am a photographer light is pretty essential. Personally I don’t ascribe it any specific metaphorical meaning in my photographs. Of course you can talk for hours about interrelations between lightness and darkness but I don’t think that I would bring anything new to the discourse.
2) Anonymity also seems to play a dominant element in your work - why so?
I guess I have never really bean interested in portraiture. Perhaps it is because I’d like to address themes that speak about life in general and not about one specific person or group of people.
3) Your work seems to have a rich minimalistic approach, more so in an old world anatomical sense. Are there elements of the past, from a historical sense, which inspire you?
I think that most of the things that inspire me are from the past. This is something that I struggle with a lot in my work, I wish I could look at the contemporary landscapes, objects or fashion with more interest but sometimes I just think that I was born in the wrong century. However I don’t want my work to be seen as nostalgic. I hope that it can still feel contemporary through its aesthetic strategies.
4) Would it be fair to suggest your work is within a darker take on the primal aspect of existence?
I am not entirely sure what the primal aspect of our existence is, but I agree that my work is a little on a dark side. At the same time I don’t see my interest in death as something nihilistic. I’m more of a ‘realist’ if anything else… But what really interests me is a strong sense of symbolism and iconography. I think that bones, mountains, sea, ravens, crosses, hair or stars are very strong symbols related to variety of mythologies in a variety of cultures and that’s probably one of the reasons why I keep photographing them.
5) What was the last picture you took?
It was lake Michigan in the nighttime.
6) What is the best thing about being a photographer in London?
That there are a lot of young talented photographers around me.
7) How important is black and white to your work?
8) How is post-university life as a photographer?
I currently study towards my MA degree at the Royal College of Art and I really enjoy the course. I wish I could study forever and never had to worry about sustaining myself with photography in these uncertain times for the art market.