Libuše Jarcov­jáková: Black Years

Berlin Journals 1985–1990

Libuše Jarcovjáková

The photographer’s first solo show in Berlin consists of black-and-white photographs from the years in West Berlin just preceding the fall of the Wall. The enfant terrible of Czechoslovakian photography, Libuše Jarcovjáková (born 1952), also known as the Czech Republic’s Nan Goldin, fled the dictatorship in Czechoslovakia to West Berlin in 1985. Before the backdrop of a divided city, she embarks on a desperate search for herself in an attempt to find out if her flight really led her to internal and external freedom. She seeks out the faces and places that might help her to understand her new reality and embrace it. At night, she caries out her search in bars, while during the day she earns a bit of money through hard work. The closeness that she was familiar with, the humanity and warmth that existed in spite of the political regimentation back home, is something she fails to find. She constantly battles loneliness, yet throughout this time, she records everything in photographs and words. The images come about as though thoughtlessly, on impulse, but they nonetheless have a sense of order and harmony.


31.Oct 7:00 pm

Living like a rollercoaster ride

Artist talk

“The life story of the photographer Libuše Jarcovjáková is like a rollercoaster ride” wrote a Czech newspaper when a comprehensive book of the artist’s photographs and journal entries was published. In the exhibition “Schwarze Jahre” (Black Years), she tells the story of the 1970s and 1980s in Prague, where life was gray at first, but could also be exciting if you looked closer and sought out the company of outsiders, as she did. And she also recalls her time in Berlin in the shadow of the Wall, where she lived from 1985 on and made portraits, once again of people on society’s fringe.


Tschechisches Zentrum Berlin Wilhelmstraße 44 Eingang Mohrenstraße 10117 Berlin