eCDR Symposium: The Marvelous Imperfection of the Real


Location: ATRiuM, Cinema (CA B205)

Audience: Public

Cost: This is a free event open to students and the public. Please register via the following web-link:

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This event is the latest in a series of ECDR symposia considering new forms of storytelling in photography and film. Screenings and talks by Laia Abril and Martin Kollar will explore thematic links between the two artists’ practices, in terms of their encounters with contemporary social and political themes.

“The Marvelous Imperfection of the Real”— taken from Emmanuel Carrère’s recent novel The Kingdom and forming part of a description of what the apostle Paul had turned his back on—has particular relevance to documentary practice in its ceaseless fascination with qualities of the lifeworld.

The event will begin with a screening of the film ’5 October’ by Martin Kollar (2016), followed by a presentation on the ideas underpinning his wider artistic practice.

In the afternoon, Laia Abril’ will give an overview of her work and discuss her approach to developing the possibilities of documentary in the contexts of photo-book production and gallery installation.

The two presentations will be followed by an open discussion with Professor Mark Durden and an opportunity for Q & A.

Info on speakers

Martin Kollar (1971) Born in Zilina in Czechoslovakia (now Slovak Republic), studied at the Academy of Performing Arts Bratislava, the Film faculty, camera department. He has been working as a freelance photographer and cinematographer since he has graduated from there.

He has received several grants and awards, including the Prix Elysee and Oscar Barnack Award. His work has been exhibited across the world, including Brooklyn Museum, the Slovak National Gallery (Bratislava), Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin, Germany, Tel Aviv museum of art and Musee Elysee (Lausanne).

His previous books include, Nothing Special (2008), Cahier (2011) Field Trip (MACK, 2013) Catalogue (Slovak National Gallery, 2015) Provisional arrangement (Mack/ Musee Elyse 2016)

As a cinematographer, Martin has worked on a number of films, including KOZA (2015), VELVET TERRORISTS (2013), COOKING HISTORY (2009), 66 SEASONS (2003) and others. He made his directorial feature debut – 5 OCTOBER (2016).

Laia Abril (1986) is a multi-disciplinary artist working in photography, text, video and sound. After graduating in Journalism she moved to New York, where she decided to focus her projects upon telling intimate stories raising uneasy and hidden realities related to sexuality, eating disorders and gender equality. She worked at COLORS Magazine as a creative editor and staff photographer for 5 years; where she started a book-making team with Art Director Ramon Pez.

Her projects – including several platforms as installations, books, web docs, and films— have been shown internationally including the United States, Canada, UK, China, Poland, Germany, Holland, Switzerland, Turkey, Greece, France, Italy or Spain. Her work is held in private and public collections including Musée de l’Elysée, Winterthur Museum in Switzerland and MNAC in Barcelona.

She self-published Thinspiration in 2012, Tediousphilia (Musée de l’Elysée, 2014) and The Epilogue (Dewi Lewis, 2014), which was highly acclaimed and shortlisted for the Paris Photo-Aperture First Book Award, Kassel PhotoBook Festival and Photo España Best Book Award and described by critic Jorg Cölberg as “A masterpiece of a photobook“. Her new book-project Lobismuller (RM, 2016) — holder of the Images Book Award, on the reconstruction of the story of the most enigmatic and bloodthirsty serial killer in Spanish history, was presented in Paris Photo 2016.

After working for 5 years on her long-term project On Eating Disorders, Abril started her new project A History of Misogyny -the first chapter of which On Abortion was published by Dewi Lewis in 2017. She is currently developing the second chapter On Hysteria.

Provisional schedule

10am – Introduction
11:15 – film screening 5 October (Martin Kollar 2016)
12.00 – presentation Martin Kollar
13:00 – Lunch break
14:00 – presentation Laia Abril 
16:15 – Group discussion
17:00 – Close