Adam Holý
The Overview Effect

At the beginning there is this beautiful tree. It is gently bending over
to offer its fruit. We eat the forbidden fruit and realize that we are
naked. Man and woman are separated. We leave the Garden of Eden
to enter the physical world of alienation and suffering. The gates are
closed and only a little gap is kept open by love. Too small to enter,
but big enough to feed the endless and painful desire for a return.
This book is a document of that gap. The gap between closeness and
distance. Love and separation. Delight and pain. These photographs
give us the chance to be observers of the most intimate moments,
moments of bliss and lust, beauty and vulnerability. But the intimacy
is cut by the lens, this subtle yet brutal presence of the camera and
its awareness. It produces glances into the universe of lovers, while
simultaneously destroying the intimacy by opening a screen to the
outside world. Using a camera creates a distance as well as opening
up a new space in the gap. A space for reflection and play. Enactment
and sublimation. Pictures made out of our desires and dreams, archaic
fears and myths. It is this ambivalent gap between things where art
is born. These pictures are within all of us, we are their inventors as
well as their slaves.
We see love growing and suddenly ending like a car crash.
A naked woman, only dressed in bandages and supported by a
crutch. Wounded but confident, she is posing while the sun sets.
It is the last time we will see her.
Into the gap
The aeroplane takes off and the toy horse tries to follow. Rotten
vegetables encased in plastic, the boat stranded a long time ago.
Then it happens again. A new love. Two people kissing. The man
has a camera. The light makes them appear like embryos in the
womb. Not yet born. No traces of time in the new woman´s face,
no aging. The denial of death. Freezing a moment in time, reveals
the inner nature of photography; the moment a picture is taken
it becomes an irrevocable symbol of impermanence.
This book is a retrospective view on a body of work and an indivisible
view back on a stage of life. Its title ?The Overview Effect?
describes the cognitive shift that astronauts experience, when
seeing earth for the first time from outer space. This huge distance
that makes the world shrink into a mysterious and fragile island
drifting in space. On the last pages of this book the woman transforms
into a planet herself. The rings of Saturn revolve around her
and the sun is shining through her thighs. Like in the painting
?L´origine du monde? by Gustave Courbet, she is the center of the
world. The intimate becomes universal - the universe becomes intimate.
Beginnings and endings turn into reoccurring cycles of life,
death and resurrection. The gap widens and discloses a glimpse
into eternity. Male and female forces unite and for a short moment
we know that the Garden of Eden is not a place outside of us.
Markus Selg
Berlin, August 2014

Adam Holý is one of those photographers whose life and work are
intertwined to the point of being indistinguishable. It is this quality
which makes for his powerful and believable images, combining
romantic infatuation and erotic ecstasy with banal detail but also
mystical themes, together creating a universe of their own, where
low is high and vice versa, subject to no laws except those of divine
light and human will.
In comparison with his previous exhibitions and projects, this book
nonetheless takes the unusual form of two consecutive stories,
loosely situated within the unrelenting passage of time. Life itself,
scattered across double-page spreads, is a tough discipline even
for an experienced artist, but by nature, Holý has trained himself
for the role of narrator from the very beginning. It is this trait that
enables him to attain the orbital perspective suggested in the
title ? a perspective that is achieved not only by the sudden flash
of realization experienced by astronauts, but also by many aging
men, who no longer harbor any hope of radically changing themselves,
and who instead, soberly and with pleasure, choose to seek
to cultivate what is unique and natural in their own nature.
Long-finished encounters ? growing close and growing apart ?
with the artist?s partner of many years and central model, K., can
be regarded in retrospect as an autobiographical film ? with its
moments of ecstasy and painful premonitions of doom, both
now a memory of the past, even in terms of photographic style.
K., T., and Eternity
defines the dazzling moment of ecstasy, captured before duly
returning as a memento of both beauty and its own transience.
Holý?s femmes fatales themselves instinctively sense both the
tender vulnerability and the carnal aggression of these encounters
between the sexes, and are willing to pose not only for the given
moment and their infatuated lover ? their instincts command them
to pose for eternity. These are the very moments when his vision
and amorous infatuation encounter the mysticism of his dreams,
and where temporary illumination is transformed into an emanation
of the absolute.
Pavel Vančát
Prague, August 2014

The Overview Effect
Pictorial editors Pavel Vančát and Jiří Havlíček
Text Pavel Vančát, Marcus Selg
Translation Keith Jones
Production Magdalena Danel, Jiří Havlíček
Graphic design Petr Bosák, Robert Jansa
(2014 Designers), Prague
Paper LuxoArt Samt 150 g, Munken Lynx 130 g
Print Helbich, Brno
Publisher VIRTUE CS s.r.o.
Printed in EU
Images ? Adam Holý, 2014
Texts ? Pavel Vančát, Marcus Selg, 2014
Design ? Petr Bosák, Robert Jansa, 2014
With thanks to Polansky Gallery