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Gypsies, Prague 1968, Exiles

Exhibition texts

Curatorial text

Born in 1938, today Czech photographer Josef Koudelka divides his time between Paris and Prague. His work is present in the most prestigious art collections in the world. Traveling the globe, he has transformed traditional photojournalism into a vast many-layered personal testimony.

Having qualified as an aeronautical engineer, throughout the 1960s Koudelka took highly stylized expressionistic photographs for the monthly magazine Divadlo [Theater], as well as for two theaters in Prague: Na zábradlí [On the Balustrade] and Za branou [Behind the Gate]. In parallel, from 1962 to 1970, the year in which he was forced to leave Czechoslovakia, he produced a series entitled Gypsies. In 1974 he became a member of the Magnum Photos agency. He traveled extensively, particularly around Southern Europe, Ireland, and the United Kingdom, taking photographs of religious and traditional folk celebrations, as well as of industrial landscapes and psychiatric hospitals. As such, he captured certain aspects of a Europe that was on the cusp of disappearing, of a life lived in the open air, of popular traditions and beliefs that would be changed by globalization.

In 1986 Koudelka returned to taking photographs in the panoramic format he had used in the mid-50s. In these documentary works, he took an interest in landscapes radically transformed by industry, war and the collapse of civilizations. The photogenic quality of this destruction – the landscape deformed by human activity, mines and their waste, the Berlin Wall, Beirut devastated by war, or the wall of concrete separating Israel and Palestine – is often shocking.

His works have only been displayed or published on relatively few occasions, and the event is always preceded by extremely detailed and thorough preparation. The three sets presented in this exhibition are recognised by many today as classics of world photography. They deal, above all, with the efforts people make to live according to their convictions and in freedom, true to themselves, despite dictatorships, financial pressure and the negative impact of globalization. The photographs in the Gypsies series transmit respect for a people that, on the margins of mainstream society, have preserved a spontaneous and singular attitude in the face of life. Prague, 1968 was conceived as a reminder of all unarmed resistance to the military might of totalitarian power. The works in the Exiles series are the personal expression of a photographer who has lost his homeland, but won his freedom.

Institutional text

Josef Koudelka’s camera has always been objective, but never neutral. Koudelka’s eye has consistently represented a commitment to the world. In each photograph his gaze is present, compassionate or critical, convinced of the relevance of being there, transforming what he sees into a scene, a scene into a moment, a moment in an instant, that perpetuates in the questions he raises for those who join him in his gaze.

The three series presented in this exhibition, Prague, 1968, Gypsies and Exiles, condense and synthesize a journey across the globe, vindicating the freedom to live, the dignity of those portrayed, the understanding that photography can be an urgency, a sensitive antidote to the narratives of official images through which history is told. For this reason there is as much of the invisible as the visible in a Koudelka photograph: each image will awaken unique and singular emotions in the viewer, so that the instant that the photographer experienced is reinvented by whomever is here and now, discovering this gaze that interrogates our own way of seeing, and what this may consciously or unconsciously reveal.

The world discovered Koudelka’s gaze when Soviet tanks invaded Prague in 1968, repressing a people and their struggle for freedom. In Gypsies and Exiles, we encounter the landscapes and the nomadic world of the Roma of Central Europe, a people who have always resisted the colonial forces with which the Western world sought to domesticate their ways of life, condemning those who came from a dissident culture to exclusion and marginality. Here in Brazil, confronting Koudelka’s images of the invisibility and prejudice that exclude and hide Roma cultures will have particular resonance, manifesting the same colonial violence that structured much of this country’s history.

By presenting Josef Koudelka’s photography in Brazil, Instituto Moreira Salles, which preserves and promotes photographical collections essential to the reinterpretation of Brazilian history and memories, continues in its mission to highlight and recognise fundamental names and works from the history of photography throughout the world. We express our gratitude and recognition to all those who made this exhibition possible: Josef Koudelka, who embraced this project with immense enthusiasm and just as much complicity, the Josef Koudelka Foundation and the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague, who made it possible to exhibit such a valuable part of their archives, to Márcio Tavares and the Ministry of Culture of Brazil, who provided decisive assistance, to the exhibition coordinators, Samuel Titan Jr. and Miguel Del Castillo, as well as to all the teams at IMS who contributed to its realization.

The Board of Instituto Moreira Salles



Josef Koudelka is born January 10 in Moravia, Czechoslovakia.


Introduced to photography by a friend of his father, he begins to take pictures of family and friends using a Bakelite camera.


Studies engineering at the Czech Technical University, Prague.

Acquires an old Rolleiflex.

Meets the photographer and critic Jiří Jeníček, who encourages him to exhibit his work at the Semafor Theatre in Prague.


At the opening of the Semafor exhibition, he meets art critic Anna Fárová, a major figure in Czechoslovak photography, with whom he collaborates until he leaves the country in 1970.

Travels abroad for the first time, to Italy, as a musician in a folk music and dance group.

Begins to photograph the Roma of Czechoslovakia.


Works as an aeronautical engineer in Prague and Bratislava.

Contributes to the magazine Divadlo [Theatre] as a freelance photographer.


Meets Markéta Luskačová, a cultural sociology student, who is beginning to photograph religious festivals in Slovakia.


Begins to photograph performances at the Divadlo Na zábradlí [Theatre on the Balustrade].


At the invitation of Otomar Krejča, director of the Divadlo Za branou [Theatre beyond the Gate], Prague, he begins to photograph performances there.

Becomes a member of the Union of Czechoslovak Artists.


Publishes a book titled Král Ubu: Rozbor inscenace Divadla Na zábradlí v Praze, on the production of Alfred Jarry’s Ubu Roi at the Divadlo Na zábradlí.


Leaves his engineering job and devotes himself full-time to photography.

Receives the Union of Czechoslovak Artists’ annualaward for the innovative quality of his theatrical photographs.

His photographs of Roma are shown for the first time in the exhibition Cikáni 1961-1966 [Gypsies, 1961-1966], at Divadlo Za branou, Prague.


Travels to Romania with sociologist Milena Hübschmannová to photograph Roma.

Returns to Prague the day before Warsaw Pact troops invade the city, ending the short-lived political freedom in Czechoslovakia that came to be known as the Prague Spring. Throughout this tumultuous period, Koudelka photographs the confrontations between Czechoslovaks and Soviets wherever they occur, as well as daily life in the streets.


Makes his first visit to England in April when the Divadlo Za branou theatre group asks Koudelka to accompany them to London and exhibit his theatre photographs in the foyer of the Aldwych Theatre.

In mid-July, he begins his second visit to the UK, where he remains for at least three months. His photographs of the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia the previous year are secreted over the border and sent to the United States. The photographers’ cooperative Magnum Photos distributes the photographs while Koudelka is still in the UK, attributing them to ‘P. P.’ (Prague Photographer) to avoid reprisals against Koudelka and his family; a photo essay ‘by an anonymous Czech photographer’ is published in major international magazines. The images won him the Robert Capa Gold Medal from the Overseas Press Club. Elliott Erwitt, then President of Magnum Photos, makes a short film of animated stills with these images for CBS News, maintaining Koudelka’s anonymity.


Leaves Czechoslovakia on a three-month exit visa to photograph Roma in the West. Does not return after expiration of the visa; becomes stateless. The UK grants him asylum and he lives there through 1979.

Begins traveling and photographing Roma, religious and popular festivals, and daily life in various European countries.


Elliott Erwitt proposes that Koudelka join Magnum Photos; he becomes an associate member.


Meets Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Delpire, who become his close friends.

Gets to know Romeo Martinez.


Becomes a full member of Magnum Photos.


Josef Koudelka, a solo exhibition organized by John Szarkowski, opens at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Robert Delpire publishes, in Paris, Koudelka’s photographs of Roma as Gitans: la fin du voyage (1977); Aperture publishes the American edition under the title Gypsies.


Awarded the Prix Nadar by the Gens d’Images, Paris, for Gitans: la fin du voyage.


Leaves the UK for France in 1980. Still stateless, he continues to travel throughout Europe.


First major exhibition, conceived by Robert Delpire and organized by the Arts Council of Great Britain, is held at Hayward Gallery, London. To accompany the exhibition, Josef Koudelka (Collection Photo Poche) is published in English and in French by the Centre National de la Photographie, Paris.

After the death of his father and sixteen years of anonymity, Koudelka’s photos of the invasion of Prague are published for the first time under his own name. Before this date he had sought to protect his family still living in Czechoslovakia from possible reprisals.


At the invitation of the Mission photographique de la DATAR (a French governmental agency), he takes part in a project to document the urban and rural landscape of France. It is for this project that he first begins to work with a panoramic camera.


Becomes a naturalized citizen of France. Awarded the Grand Prix national de la photographie from the Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication, France.


Two large exhibitions of Koudelka’s work, organized by Robert Delpire, are presented at the Centre National de la Photographie, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, and at the International Center of Photography, New York. These two exhibitions travel throughout the U.S. and Europe.

Exils is published by Centre National de la Photographie, Paris (published as Exiles by Aperture, New York, and Thames and Hudson, London).

Begins photographing with a panoramic camera in the north of France for the Mission photographique Transmanche, a project to record changes in the region caused by construction of the tunnel underneath the Channel.


Receives the Hugo Erfurth Prize from the city of Leverkusen, Germany, and Agfa-Gevaert AG.

Although he is still unable to return to Czechoslovakia, as a holder of a French passport he is invited to visit the Soviet Union with eight other French photographers. He photographs in Moscow.

His work for the Mission photographique Transmanche culminates in the publication of his first book of panoramic photographs, Josef Koudelka (number six in the Mission photographique Transmanche series).

Awarded the Prix Romanès from the Roma author Matéo Maximoff.

Exiles (1988) receives the International Center of Photography Publication Award for an Outstanding Photographic Book.


With the collapse of the Communist régime, returns to visit Prague for the first time since going into exile twenty years earlier. Begins photographing in Eastern Europe.

Anna Fárová curates an exhibition in Prague, in which Koudelka’s photographs of the 1968 invasion as it unfolds in the city are exhibited (and published) in Czechoslovakia for the first time.

Begins to photograph one of the most devastated landscapes in Europe: the foothills of the Ore Mountains in northern Bohemia, which have been destroyed by strip mining. They make up the western portion of the vast region known as the ‘Black Triangle’, which includes southern Germany and Poland.


Receives the Henri Cartier-Bresson Award (Centre National de la Photographie and American Express, Paris).

Photographs the war-devastated city centre of Beirut with a panoramic camera.


Receives the Erna and Victor Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography.

Named Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, by the Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication, France.


After four years of work in the Black Triangle region, conceives and organizes the exhibition and the book of panoramic photographs, Černý trojúhelník – Podkrušnohoří: Fotografie 1990–1994 [The Black Triangle – The Foothills of the Ore Mountains: Photographs, 1990–1994], which is published by Vesmír in Prague.

Invited by the producers of the film Ulysses’ Gaze, directed by Theo Angelopoulos, Koudelka accompanies the film crew to record his personal vision of the Balkan countries where the film is shot. These photographs are exhibited and published under the title Periplanissis: Following Ulysses‘ Gaze.


Invited by the Cultural Foundation of the Free State of Saxony and the Siemens Culture Program to participate in the project Aufriss: Künstlerische Positionen und Industrielandschaft in der Mitte Europas, Koudelka and eight other artists are asked to react to the region in Saxony, Poland, and the Czech Republic, where the landscape has been ruined by irresponsible industrial exploitation and strip mining.


Receives a commission from Ffotogallery, Cardiff, Wales, on behalf of Cardiff Bay Arts Trust, to make a series of panoramic images in South Wales. The culmination of this project is the book and exhibition Reconnaissance: Wales, accompanied by Welsh exhibitions of other groups of his work.


Awarded the Centenary Medal by the Royal Photographic Society, Bath, England, for his ‘sustained significant contribution to the art of photography’.


Completes a series of panoramic photographs for the Lhoist Group, lime and dolomite producers. The photographs present Koudelka’s view of changes to the landscape as a result of the mining of limestone; this work is published in the book Lime Stone.


Named Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, awarded by the Ministry of Culture and Communication, France.

A major retrospective exhibition conceived and designed by Koudelka is presented at the National Gallery in Prague.

Awarded the Medal of Merit of the Czech Republic by President Václav Havel.


Completes a project in Rome; the resulting exhibition, Teatro del tempo, is accompanied by a book of the same title.

Photographs archaeological sites in Greece for an exhibition to coincide with the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens.


Presented the Cornell Capa Infinity Award for ‘distinguished achievement in photography’ by the International Center of Photography, New York.


Koudelka, the first retrospective work to cover Koudelka’s entire career, is published in France and several other countries. The book is the culmination of thirty-five years of friendship and collaboration with Robert Delpire.


Forty years after the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact allies invaded Prague, Koudelka’s book Invasion 68: Prague is published, by the following year, in eleven languages. It includes hundreds of previously unpublished photographs.


The book Gypsies is published in seven editions. It is a revised and enlarged version of a maquette prepared in Prague forty-three years earlier, by Koudelka and graphic designer Milan Kopřiva.

Invasion 68: Prague opens in Moscow at the Lumière Brothers Center for Photography.


Koudelka’s book Lime is published in France, the culmination of photographing fifty-one quarries in eleven countries for the Lhoist Group from 1999 to 2010.

Named Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture and Communication.


Vestiges 1991–2012/Josef Koudelka opens at Centre de la Vieille Charité in Marseille. It is his first retrospective exhibition on the subject of major ancient Greek and Roman archaeological sites in twenty Mediterranean countries.

The book Wall: Israeli & Palestinian Landscape, 2008–2012 is published, completing a project Koudelka began in 2008 as one of twelve photographers invited to participate in a project called This Place. Wall comprises photographs taken of, and related to, the Israeli constructed barrier which runs through the Palestinian West Bank and Israel.


The retrospective exhibition Josef Koudelka: Nationality Doubtful opens at the Art Institute of Chicago and, later, at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles.

The new revised and expanded edition of Exiles is published by Aperture, New York, Thames and Hudson, London, and Delpire, Paris.

The group exhibition This Place, including Koudelka’s photographs of the Israeli constructed barrier running through the Palestinian West Bank and Israel, opens at the DOX Centre for Contemporary Art in Prague, before touring to the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, the Norton Museum of Art, and, finally, the Brooklyn Museum of Art in 2016.


Josef Koudelka: Twelve Panoramas, 1987–2012 opens at Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York.

The retrospective exhibition Josef Koudelka: Nationality Doubtful opens at Fundación MAPFRE in Madrid.

Premiere of the documentary film Koudelka: Shooting Holy Land by photographer and filmmaker Gilad Baram.


Exiles/Wall opens at the Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam.

Gypsies opens at the Museum of Photography, Seoul.


Josef Koudelka: la fabrique d’Exils opens at the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris.

Josef Koudelka: Industrial Landscapes opens at the Museo Civico Archeologico, Bologna, as part of Foto/Industria, the Biennial of Photography on Industry and Work.


Prague’s Museum of Decorative Arts and National Gallery host the exhibitions Koudelka: Returning and Koudelka De-creazione drawn from Koudelka’s gifts to those institutions.


The Josef Koudelka Foundation is established in Prague.


Culmination of several years photographing archaeological sites in the Mediterranean with the presentation of his exhibition Ruines at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France.


Donation of over 2,000 photographs representative of his life’s work to four museums in the Czech Republic.

Koudelka Theatre is published by delpire & co. in Paris in French and English.

Deníky, selections from Koudelka's diaries is published in Prague by Torst.


IKONAR: Archival Constellations and its accompanying publication drawn from vintage prints, contact enlargements and archival material is presented at Photo Elysée in Lausanne.


Josef Koudelka Next: A Visual Biography by Melissa Harris is published by Aperture.


The photos that comprise Gypsies are considered classics of world photography. This was the first extensive series that Koudelka dedicated to a single theme. These photographs were taken from 1962 to 1970, the majority in Roma settlements in eastern Slovakia, but also in Bohemia, Moravia and Romania. In these works his intention was not to create a precise and objective account of life for the Roma in central Europe at that time, but to record a personal vision through purely visual stories. Whereas, in the photographs of theater performances taken at the same time, he intended to portray theater as life, here he was photographing the unbridled and free lives of the Roma as theater.

The series was first exhibited in 1967, in the foyer of the Za branou theater where Koudelka worked as a photographer. The following year, together with the graphic designer Milan Kopřiva, he transformed the images into the book Cikáni [Gypsies], which could not be published due to the Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia at the end of August and the photographer’s subsequent emigration. In 1975, Koudelka and the French editor Robert Delpire completed the edition published in French under the title Gitans: la fin du voyage and in English as Gypsies, by the North American publisher Aperture, as part of Koudelka’s exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In 2011, the book was finally published in six languages and in the format as it had been originally conceived 40 years previously.


“He is a man who believes in what he does. His work is a splendor in his sensitivity for strength and honesty – he possesses only his talent, his camera, and his stubbornness.”
Henri Cartier-Bresson, 1971

“To look at the world is to photograph it as theater.”
Josef Koudelka

Prague, 1968

Although he had never worked as a photojournalist and had returned the previous day from Romania, where he had been photographing the Roma, Josef Koudelka set out to document what was happening on Prague’s streets, quickly discovering, on the morning of 21st August, 1968, that Czechoslovakia had been invaded by five Warsaw Pact armies. Over the course of seven dramatic days he created a spectacular series, widely considered to be one of the most important examples of 20th century photojournalism. Koudelka was present at the invasion’s most dramatic events, documenting tense moments full of emotion. Yet, beyond registering this national tragedy and the beginning of the Soviet invasion, he created expressive images that became symbols of all military repression and the fight for freedom.

Some of these photos were smuggled out of Czechoslovakia, more specifically to Magnum Photos, in the United States. On the first anniversary of the invasion, and unbeknownst to Koudelka, the works were published in newspapers and magazines around the world. In order to protect the photographer and his family, Magnum only credited the photographs with the letters P. P. (Prague Photographer). That same year, the Overseas Press Club of the United States awarded the “anonymous Czech photographer” with the prestigious Robert Capa Gold Medal.

Since the Czechoslovakian secret police could easily have discovered the photographer’s identity, Koudelka, with help from the Magnum agency, did not return home after the journey he made in 1970 to document the lives of Eastern European gypsies. He only publicly admitted to having photographed the invasion at the time of his first major exhibition in 1984 at the Hayward Gallery in London – and, in particular, after his father’s death, when the information could no longer put his family at risk. These photographs were only published in Czechoslovakia 22 years after the invasion, in 1990, in a special supplement of the weekly newspaper Respekt.

A statement by the Soviet Press Agency, TASS, published in Pravda, Moscow, 21 August 1968

TASS, the Soviet News Agency, has been authorized to announce that the Party and Government functionaries of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic have turned to the Soviet Union and other allied states with a request for the provision of immediate assistance, including their armed forces, to the fraternal Czechoslovak people. This request was made because of the emergent threat to the Socialist system and statehood provided for by the Constitution of Czechoslovakia, by counter-revolutionary forces that have reached an agreement with forces outside the country and hostile to Socialism.

The events in and around Czechoslovakia have several times been the subject of an exchange of views between representatives of the fraternal Socialist countries, including the representatives of Czechoslovakia. These countries are united in the conviction that the support, buttressing and defence of the Socialist achievements of the people are a shared international duty of all Socialist states. This common position was solemnly stated also in the communiqué from Bratislava.

The further escalation of the situation in Czechoslovakia impinges on the vital interests of the Soviet Union and other Socialist countries and the security interests of the states of the Socialist bloc. The threat to the Socialist system in Czechoslovakia also means a threat to the foundations of peace in Europe.

The Soviet government and the governments of the allied countries – the Bulgarian People’s Republic, the Hungarian People’s Republic, the German Democratic Republic, and the Polish People’s Republic – starting from the principles of indissoluble friendship and cooperation, and, in view of the existing obligations stemming from agreements, have decided to grant the request to provide the assistance necessary to the people of the fraternal state of Czechoslovakia.

This decision fully complies with the right of states to individual and collective self-defence, as provided for in treaties of alliance, which have been signed between the fraternal Socialist countries. This right corresponds also to the fundamental interests of our countries to guard peace in Europe against the forces of imperialism, aggression and revanchism, which several times have plunged the nations of Europe into war.

Soviet military units together with units of the aforementioned countries entered Czechoslovak territory on 21 August. They shall be immediately withdrawn from the CSSR as soon as the threat to the Socialist achievements in Czechoslovakia and to the security of the Socialist bloc has been removed and the legal authorities ensure that henceforth these military units need no longer remain there.

The measures that have been taken are not aimed against any state and in no case harm any state interests. They serve peaceful aims, and are dictated by the endeavour to secure peace. The fraternal countries strongly and resolutely stand up to any external threat to their indestructible solidarity. No one will ever be permitted to wrench loose even a single link within the community of Socialist countries.

A statement by the Soviet Press Agency, TASS, published in Pravda, Moscow, 21 August 1968

People of Prague,

Our city is experiencing perhaps the most trying moment in our recent history. Several times in the past Prague was occupied by foreign forces. Afterwards, the nation was always put to a difficult test. Now, for the first time in history, our city has been occupied by troops from allied and friendly countries. It is impossible to say what consequences this unprecedented act will have for the fate of our city and peoples, and for the development of Socialism. At this moment we can only say that the people of Prague, in the spirit of the best traditions of their city, should remain true to themselves, remain unswervingly firm in their support of the Dubček leadership of the Czechoslovak Communist Party and the legal institutions of the State. We call upon all the people of Prague, in particular the workers. Prevent any possible provocation! At this moment, defence by force is impossible! Our defence must be a dignified, prudent approach, unswerving loyalty to the process that we began in January!

The Municipal Committee of the Czechoslovak Communist Party of Prague 21 August 1968


On emigrating in 1970, Josef Koudelka lost his homeland, but won his own freedom and continued to do whatever he could to make sure he would never lose it again. In order to be able to travel and photograph, he lived modestly. Throughout his constant travels – to Spain, France, Portugal, Italy, Ireland and the United Kingdom – he focused on portraying the Roma, religious and traditional folk celebrations, and everyday life.

On these trips Koudelka took photos that bear witness to alienation and a search for identity. Throughout the 70s and 80s he portrayed ways of life on the verge of disappearing, but also uninhabited places, animals lost in densely constructed areas, landscapes, still lifes. Through metaphors, telling the story of a changing world in which human beings searched in vain for their place, Koudelka transformed the instantaneous document into an even more powerful image. In these works, the urban void of backstreets, the desolation of landscapes, and abandoned or helpless animals, speak of an uprooting, of universal human values and of freedom.

Based on these photographs, Koudelka and Delpire put together the book Exiles in 1988. With modest changes to the order and selection of the photos, the work was republished in 1997 and in 2014.


Prague, 1968
“What is important in the photographs is not who’s a Russian and who’s a Czech. What’s important is that one person has a gun and the other hasn’t. And the one who hasn’t is, in fact, the stronger, even though that’s not immediately apparent”.
Josef Koudelka

“Being an exile insists that you must build your life from scratch. You are given this opportunity”.
Josef Koudelka

“When I left Czechoslovakia, I was discovering the world around me. What I needed most was to travel so that I could take photographs. I didn’t want to have what people call a ‘home’. I didn’t want to have the desire to return somewhere. I needed
to know that nothing was waiting for me anywhere, that the place I was supposed to be was where I was at the moment and that when there was nothing more to photograph there, that it was time to leave for another place”.
Josef Koudelka

“I knew that I didn’t need much to function – just some food and a good night’s sleep. I learned to sleep anywhere and under any circumstances. I had a rule: ‘Don’t worry about where you’re going to sleep; so far you’ve slept almost every night, and you’ll sleep again tonight’”.
Josef Koudelka

“You never return from exile”.
Josef Koudelka

Koudelka as book artist

Books are not only an important way of circulating his photographs, but also an essential means of artistic expression for Josef Koudelka. Over the decades, learning from Milan Kopřiva in 1968, and later from Robert Delpire, he has become more and more involved in the processes of their conception, design, and production. With more than 35 monographs and artist’s books as of this time, as well as over 20 exhibition catalogues, he can therefore truly be considered as a book artist.

Another unique aspect to note is that Koudelka has republished bodies of work like Gypsies and Exiles in various editions in order to explore alternative edits and materialization possibilities. His publication projects have covered everything from very precious artist books produced in highly limited print runs, up to large-scale print runs of a project published in 12 separate language editions, such as the Invasion 68: Prague book.

Within this selection of Koudelka’s titles in the collection of the Photography Library at Instituto Moreira Salles, one can explore the materialization of a book with regard to its dimensions, weight, binding, and the choice of papers, in addition to other aspects that define a book as a three-dimensional object.

The final choice is often the result of decision processes that take place over extended periods of time and multiple versions of a book dummy design. And finally, once the book is on its way to the press, there remain the processes of validating proofs and commenting on the print quality on site alongside the printing machine. The result in the ideal scenario is a satisfied artist and a content publisher.