Automatic, unoriginal, overly personal, sentimental, lacking in perspective and drowning in kitsch. We usually associate these adjectives with the concept of photographing one’s children. And to even consider it art and present it in a gallery? Yes, because when it comes to Kata Sedlak’s photography, the viewfinder is the only objective one. The author doesn’t photograph children, but captures childhood.
The author finds interesting compositions and an opportunity for image creation in the everyday routine of household worries, satisfactions and child development. Without photographing the first steps, the first fallen out tooth or a birthday party, Sedlak creates an atlas of youth that her children allow her to access; they let her in to their “here and now”, into their unstoppable stream of experiences. Into the emotions that the author abstracts through composing them into medium long shots and shots underlooking or overlooking the subject with elements like water, sky and the safety of home. Through this she manages to immortalize the path to coexistence with the world, oneself and the ones closest to us with elements of childlike reliance and instant joy caused by new discoveries. The younger of the two brothers, Alan, accompanies the year older autistic brother Oliver in dynamically enveloping the thoughtful gentleness of Stella’s growing up.
And so, instead of creating a representative photo album for visits, Kata Sedlak captures the childhood through intimate language of coexperiencing. Fascinated with the strength of family bonds, she documents particular moments which she layers on top of one another to create a fluid story whose versatility is highlighted by the “discoloration of reality” and its “black and white essence”. Sedlak needs only a few square meters to create a portrait of a childs’ soul, completely dedicated to the present moment.
With her selected works from 2013-2019, she introduces us to the fragile “Continent of Childhood” that silently sails in all of us still. According to her own words, the most important thing that a mother can pass on to her children is to love life.
Veronika Markovicova, curator
(CV) Kata Sedlak (*1978)
Kata Sedlak was born and raised in Piestany (Slovakia). After graduating from the Secondary Electrotechnical School she worked as a graphic designer. She fully immersed herself in photography after the birth of her first child. She says that she’s always been internally split between painting, photography and graphical design.
“I devote myself mostly to black and white photography, it’s the most telling for me. The feelings and emotions that the image stirs are not disturbed or influenced by their colour.”