Jan Jedlicka is a relatively recent addition to the larger family of artists associated with ECM, but his contributions to sleeves in the 1990s has already made a powerful impression, not least because of the range of ideas and techniques explored in covers for the Garbarek Group, Jan Garbarek/Anouar Brahem, Ketil Bjørnstad, and Gavin Bryars. His sequence of shots of pellucid still waters for Twelve Moons is strikingly displayed in Sleeves Of Desire (see above), as is the shark’s-fin-of-light on a rough stone wall that drew attention to the New Series recording of the Kancheli and Schnittke viola concertos. His most recent cover picture, for Garbarek’s Visible World, is to be found at the conclusion of A Winter Journey To The Sea.
Of this project, Jedlicka writes: “I took the train from Basel to the Hague, with a few brief stopovers, between the 5th and 8th of February, 1995. At the time, I was reading some texts by Vilem Flusser on the philosophy of photography and the emergent age of technical images. Wishing to put certain theoretical assertions or insights to the test of personal experience, I brought along a Nikon AF automatic camera and a roll of black and white film. I was interested in exploring my own cursory ways of seeing during the journey, and the role played by the camera. The images in the series are printed chronologically and no selection has been made.”
This small book of experimental photos, a little “track movie”, applies neo-aleatoric principles to the processes of picture-making and answers the question: what does a skilled photographer see when he isn’t really looking? These are all snapshots from the corner of the eye, as it were. Yet Jedlicka finds it difficult to escape from the conditioned reflexes of his craft. The landscape speeds past, the camera is raised almost casually, but memorable images are snared nonetheless, and the “cursory” and the “fleeting” become permanent.
Jedlicka was born in 1944 in Prague and from 1962-68 studied at the Czech capital’s Art Academy. Since 1969 he has been based in Switzerland although his work has necessitated much traveling. From the late 70s onward, for example, he has returned frequently to the Maremma of Southern Tuscany to concentrate on a specific landscape of a precisely defined geographic type. He uses a variety of media: photos, drawings, prints, pigment panels, film.