March 2, 1904|
Považská Bystrica, Austria-Hungary
November 30, 1991 (aged 87)|
|Collections||Art museums in Slovakia (Web umenia)|
Irena Blühová (1904-1991) was a Slovak photographer.
Blühová began photographing in 1922 in the small village of Marikova using Görz Tenax, focusing on everyday life in Slovak countryside. In 1931, Blühová enrolled at the Bauhaus in Dessau where she studied typography and graphic design under Walter Peterhans (1897-1960). With the school closed by the Nazis, she returned to Bratislava, where she became the director of the publishing house and bookshop Blüh, popular among writers, artists, students as well as workers. She organised the series of small exhibitions, Umenie za tovar [Art for Goods].
She joined the Communist Party, and then the left-wing movement Sarló (Sickle) and its circle of avant-garde photographers. She was a political activist, using her art of socio-photography to serve her political engagements. Together with her friends from leftist intellectual circles including Barbora Zsigmondiová, Rosa Neyová, and Fric Stroh, she founded the Sociofoto association. She also collaborated with the avant-garde and propaganda theatre group Műhely (Studio). In 1935 her photos were chosen for the cover of Brachland, a book by Peter Jilemnický. John Heartfield used her works in his photomontages.
In 1938-1939, she attended cinematography school in Bratislava in the class of Karel Plicka, and taught at the School of Arts and Crafts. In 1941 she joined the underground antifascist movement. Between 1945 and 1948 she directed the publishing house Pravda, and later managed a library until 1966. That same year she retired from her political life to devote herself to photography.
Little Cowherd, 1926. 40.2 x 30.4 cm. SNG.
Pokusy o Peterhansa s dvoma negatívmi nad sebou, from Bauhaus - Desau cycle, 1931-32. 23.5 x 17.8 cm. SNG
- Irena Blühová, ed. Iva Mojžišová, trans. Kuno Schumacher, Martin: Osveta, 1991, 109 pp, 97 b&w photos. With texts by Dušan Škvarna, Václav Macek, and Iva Mojžišová. (German)/(Slovak)
- Irena Blühová, Kecskemét: Magyar Fotográfiai Múzeum, 2009, 41 pp. (Hungarian)
- Julia Secklehner, "Capturing the Ordinary? Irena Blühová and photographic modernism in Slovakia 1926-1936", 2015. Conference talk. (English)
- Danica Janiaková, "Fotografky: Irena Blühová", Klub50, May 2016. (Slovak)