Michal Macku was born on April 17, 1963 in Bruntal, Czechoslovakia. He is a graduate from the Technological Faculty of the Polytechnic Institute in Brno and the Institute of Art Photography in Prague in 1989. His fascination with photography started when he was 15. He is also interested in sculpture, drawing and graphics.
In 1989 he created his own photographic technique, which he has named "gellage" - the ligature of gelatin and collage. This is how he describes his technique: "The technique consists of layering exposed nad fixed photographic gelatin on paper. This transparent and plastic substance makes it possible to reshape nad reform the original images, changing their relationship and endowing them with new meanings. The finished work gives a compact image with a fine surface structure. Printed on photographic quality paper, each gellage is a highly durable print, eminently suited for collecting and exhibiting. It is a laborious technology, which often uses many negatives for one image. It doesn't give any possibility to make more absolutely identical prints. I may make 12 numbered prints of each image. But each must vary.
In my pictures I use the nude human body, mostly my own. Through the photographic process of gellage, this concrete human body is compeled to meet with abstract surroundings and distortions. This connection is the most exciting for me nad helps me to find new levels of humanness in the resulting work. Its charm is similiar to that of cartoon animation, but it is not a trick. It is very important for me to be aware of the history of a picture and to have a sense of direct contact with its reality. My work places "body pictures" in new situations, new contexts, new realities; causing their "authentic" reality to become relative.
I am interested in questions of moral and inner freedom. I do what I feel, and only then I begin to meditate on what the result is. I am often surprised by the new connections I find in it. Naturally, I start out with a concrete intention, but the result is often very different. I have always been looking for new meanings of expression.. Step by step I am discovering almost unlimited possibilities of work with loosened gelatin. Each photographic picture means a specific touch with concrete reality for me. Each image is one captured level of real time. The technique which I use, helps me to take one of these time sheets and release a figure from it - a human body, and this makes it depend on time, again.
Gellage has something extra compared to classical photography, and that is a structure. Real, physical structure which you can perceive by touch. And one other thing, that is very important to me is the history of the origin of each picture. The fact that I enter the process of its making with my hands and that the final form or shape comes into being with me standing there, manipulating and creating the picture. And all the photographic work prior to that was primarily only a preparation".
In 1998 Macku made a short animated movie, where he used his gellage technique. The film is an allegorical portrayal of human life. He also had one-man exhibitions in the United States, Switzerland, Finland, Sweden, Australia and Germany.
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