Photographer Matjaz Wenzel presents a series of twenty black and white photographs, which as a conceptual site specific research belong to the field of documentary photography. The HK project stems from the complex thinking about man and his dwelling in a given space.
The architectural framework, the historical and natural characteristics
of space, the temporal component and the sociological approach are the
constitutive elements which on different levels create the intertwining
of the intersection points of meaning and the visual effect of images.
The HK project is a photographic documentation of Hutter’s colony
at Pobrez¹je in Maribor, a suburban workers’ dwelling community,
commissioned by a Maribor factory owner Josip Hutter between 1936 and
1937. Single-storied semi-detached houses imitate the shape and the floor
plan arrangement of single-family villas with the high ground floor, a
gabled roof and a veranda at the entrance. These simple housing units
are arranged in the spatial design of four rows with five houses.
The described architectural composition, with two rows of the back/garden
sides of the houses intersecting each other, was the basis for the positioning
of photographer’s viewpoint. The photographer was positioned in
front of the intersection points of garden fences and photographed the
central view of each house with the gardens of the northern and southern
rows of houses.
The basic conceptual framework of the HK project brings up numerous questions
regarding the conveyed content of an image. These photographs, however,
can be read from different angles. On a walk between the gardens, where
the dwelling community’s inhabitants’ intimate space and sometimes
even the inhabitants themselves can be uninterruptedly observed, the the
viewer finds himself in a voyeuristic position of the forbidden gaze.
The repetitive sequence of the same motif frame directs the viewer towards
the discovery of the diversity of architectural transformations which
happened over time, towards the exploration of the functions of natural
space and human interventions into it, as well as towards the individuality
of human occurrence. The stories told by the photographs, despite their
obvious exploratory approach, convey a dedication to individual human
destinies by recording the inhabitants’ intimate daily lives.
In the broader sense the HK project draws attention to the genius loci
of Maribor’s space and raises the awareness of social reality. The
issue of man’s dwelling in a social and cultural environment inscribes
itself into the complex intertwining of existential necessities presented
a dark pictorial field. On the level of historical dialogue, the relation
with reason for the creation of the colony itself, from the beginnings
of a capitalist society as well as today, should not be overlooked. The
fence between the houses (drawn into the pictorial field as a notch in
the foreground of two-piece compositions) alludes to the message about
the necessity of human coexistence in a dwelling community.
Matjaz Wenzel was one of three photographers chosen
to represent Slovenia in 2008 at the nightlong projection of photographs
from 27 European countries at the Rencontres Festival in Arles.
FeatureHK: a suburban workers’ dwelling community in SloveniaMatjaz Wenzel’s HK project is a series black-and-white contextual portraits of present-day inhabitants of a Hutter’s colony in Slovenia, which was originally built to house factory workers in the 1930s.View Images
HK: a suburban workers’ dwelling community in Slovenia
Matjaz Wenzel’s HK project is a series black-and-white contextual portraits of present-day inhabitants of a Hutter’s colony in Slovenia, which was originally built to house factory workers in the 1930s.View Images
HK: a suburban workers’ dwelling community in Slovenia
Matjaz Wenzel’s HK project is a series black-and-white contextual portraits of present-day inhabitants of a Hutter’s colony in Slovenia, which was originally built to house factory workers in the 1930s.
HK10 © Matjaz Wenzel
HK07 © Matjaz Wenzel
HK03 © Matjaz Wenzel
HK06 © Matjaz Wenzel
HK19 © Matjaz Wenzel
HK12 © Matjaz Wenzel
HK17 © Matjaz Wenzel
HK18 © Matjaz Wenzel
HK15 © Matjaz Wenzel
HK13 © Matjaz Wenzel
HK11 © Matjaz Wenzel
HK02 © Matjaz Wenzel
HK09 © Matjaz Wenzel
HK16 © Matjaz Wenzel
HK05 © Matjaz Wenzel
HK04 © Matjaz Wenzel
HK01 © Matjaz Wenzel
HK20 © Matjaz Wenzel
HK14 © Matjaz Wenzel
HK08 © Matjaz Wenzel
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