Tono Stano: White Shadow
February 2–March 17, 2012
32 East 57th Street, 9th Floor, New York, NY
NEW YORK, January 12, 2012 – Pace/MacGill Gallery is pleased to present Tono Stano: White Shadow, on view February 2 through March 17, 2012. The exhibition marks Stano's first solo show in the United States and features 20 unique gelatin silver prints from his ongoing series of surreal portraits, White Shadow. The artist will attend an opening reception on Thursday, February 2 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm.
Tono Stano (b. 1960, Slovakia) studied photography under the influential Slovak photographer and teacher Milota Havránková at a secondary school for graphic arts in Bratislava. Following a year spent photographing on film sets, he enrolled at FAMU, Prague's School of Film, Photography and Television, in 1980. At FAMU, Stano was among a group of students—including Vasil Stanko, Miro Švolík, and Rudo Prekop—who reinvigorated the medium with their dynamic and imaginatively staged images, ultimately becoming known as the "Slovak School" within the illustrious history of Czechoslovak photography. A freelance photographer since the age of 17, Stano has consistently worked independently of the oppressive system in which he was raised.
In 1991, at the invitation of art critic and curator Anna Fárová, Stano visited the Prague studio of the late Czech photographer Josef Sudek, who had asked that his cameras be given to a deserving person after his death. Stano selected an old-fashioned 24 x 30 cm large-format camera from the studio shelves for personal use. According to Stano, Sudek's inherited photographic equipment was the impetus for his White Shadow series, which he began that same year:
I started to dream about taking a trip… to a place where everything was in negative, so I could create a positive world on photographic paper, inside my new large-format camera.
My dream became a reality on the day I made up my mind to create that negative world in the confines of my studio. The lens captures that negative world on photographic paper. This process opened up a space new and unfamiliar to me, where nothing could be predicted, a bizarre space in between negative and positive, a white-shadowed world with an atmosphere we often find hard to accept.
With White Shadow, Stano seeks to turn reality negative, transporting the viewer to an inverted monochromatic realm. Produced in-camera, his photographs are analogue paper negatives that appear as positive representations through Stano's meticulous and unique process of painting the white portions of his subjects' bodies and faces black, and vice versa (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1sdC7hXBKDU). When photographed in this fashion, that which is negative appears positive. The resulting images, which are graphically striking and seductively haunting, present a fusion of both the negative and positive. In this way, Stano is interested not only in the physical aspects of this negative/positive transformation, but also in promoting this conversion as a life philosophy.
Since 1984, Stano's work has been the subject of solo and group exhibitions worldwide. His photographs can be found in the permanent collections of the Art Institute of Chicago; the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris; the Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris; the Museum Ludwig, Cologne; the National Media Museum, Bradford, England; and the Slovenská narodná galéria, Bratislava, Slovakia, among others.
Stano lives and works in Prague.