Běla Kolářová. Radiogram of Circle. 1962–63
Kolářová’s experimentation with cameraless photography began in 1961, when she sensed a growing incompatibility between her representational practice of the previous decade and her avant-garde instincts. Aligned with the progressive art movement Křižovatka (Crossroads) in Prague, which aimed for new modes of expression antithetical to Soviet sanctioned Socialist Realism, Kolářová began creating “artificial negatives,” pressing small domestic and natural objects into a sheet of soft wax and then exposing the impressions to photographic paper under shifting light. Captivated by the ability of light to record the materiality of these objects, Kolářová made increasingly abstract work, which culminated in these light drawings. The concentric circles were likely obtained by placing objects on photosensitive paper on a spinning gramophone, and then exposing these to light.