Marie Tomanova created the series World Between Us when, after living in New York for over 10 years, she returned to visit her mother on the family farm where she grew up in the Czech Republic. Confronted with contradictory feelings of belonging and not belonging, she looks back on the framework and values that formed her but that she chose to leave behind. What do we recognize of ourselves in our place of origin, in beings and objects at once familiar and strange? What is the nature of our ties to family, which always lead us back to the source, even when we have chosen a different life path?
Nina Medioni poses similar questions in The Veil, a work she has produced over the course of her ongoing interaction with a branch of her family living in an ultra-Orthodox community in Bnei Brak, Israel. Their common roots make possible an unsettling closeness and exceptional trust between Medioni and her cousins. The disjunction between this self-contained religious community, with its strict codes of conduct, and the values of a young woman pursuing a vocation as an artist, is expressed in these photographs with delicacy and a genuine sense of curiosity.
The two series translate an ambiguous relationship between the familiar and the distant, between intimacy and exposure. Both probe a central question of photography: visibility. Tomanova uses the self-portrait, as frontal as possible, to re-integrate herself into a setting that has become foreign; while Medioni elaborates an indirect visual language around the very non-representability of individuals within a particular religious community.
The Czech Centre Paris is one of the 22 Czech centres across the world, whose mission is to promote Czech culture under all its forms. The history of its Paris seat situated at 18 Rue Bonaparte carries a great symbolic value: it is where the Czech national council, the foundation of the future Czechoslovak government, was founded in 1916.
Since its opening in 1997, the Czech Centre Paris has been offering a number of cultural events every year in one of the most famous quarters of the French capital. It is a privileged place of welcome and exchange between France and the Czech Republic, where all forms of artistic expression coexist: arts, design, music, literature, cinema, theatre, as well as the Czech language courses.