Martin Zet

The Sea
Part of the contemplation Altogether
Installation with Polaroid reversals, convent

A negative from a Polaroid negative is not always a positive.

(Book of Sighs, June 1999)


Whenever I look through the thousands of Polaroid negatives of the passport Photographs I’ve collected since 1993, I cannot believe that I am looking at the same faces I see in the street everyday. From all those faces shines the light of the momentary concentration on the better side of the essence of their personalities and the desire to let this be captured as characteristic.

“The Sea” was one of the five parts of the constallation Alltogether (1995), an installation that meant everything to me. The internal screaming within the unbelievable spaces of Santini’s ambivalent architecture of the monastery in Plasy, architecture that accelerates the anticipation of good or evil. But always spiritual.

Throughout the afternoon, the sunlight swept like foam from the back of the room over the surface of the Polaroid negatives (16,000 faces). The faces on the negatives, warmed by the sun, curled, lifted and again lay down as the heat of the sun moved on to their neighbours. The floor stirred once a day for a whole month (whenever the sun was shining, and it mostly was) as a wave that crested slowly, almost unnoticeably, but when calmly observed, how surprisingly quickly it brought to mind the motions of the Universe.

M. Z., 2 February, 2001, Libušín