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The first morning tram and in it – the first masks.  Interrupted dreams can be seen in the sleeping faces. They enter the day, like yesterday, like the day before. The weather forecast says the snow will melt, whilst our relationships have been freezing. Freezing a lot and for long, it seems.  The good old news show several bank robberies, murders and suicides, lives lost in vain, some small and some bigger tragedies, a few catastrophes – natural and human. Life as we know it. As the media know it.


And then three musketeers enter the scene.  With their heads in the clouds but the ground firmly under their feet. With a desire to get to the core.  No masks, no pretense. With the idea – put away your clothes and tell your story - they uncover humanity with delicacy and understanding.  They speak about emotions. They speak about sensuality. They speak about transformation.

3x3x3 is the name of this exhibition.  The three QEP masters, Jorgen Brandt, Pascal Baetens and Martin Vrabko, photographers with the highest recognition from the Federation of European Photographers, in three places – Belgium, Denmark and Slovakia – attempt to capture the stories that women share.  Naked – the more vulnerable, with no make-up – the more real. No fake smiles, no pretense. They spontaneously tell stories that bring dusk to one’s soul.


Such as this one:

I am too one of those women who used to believe in love and goodness and in meeting my fairytale prince. But fairytale is just the beginning, then comes the bitter real world, mental and physical harm. Mixed feelings, questions – why is he hurting me when he loves me.. Love can excuse everything but fortunately I found enough strength to leave, to overcome fear and pain. Thanks to this experience I can live a real life now.


There is nothing made up in these stories, the women really lived them. These are no pointless reality shows, these are stories that need to be listened to in a dim light. You have to look at these pictures with your heart.  I can hear Bob Dylan’s Just Like A Woman in them.  I look at the pictures and my mind plays the lyrics: Yes,

Ah, you fake just like a woman, yes you do
You make love just like a woman, yes you do
Then you ache just like a woman
But you break just like a little girl.


Body and Soul. That’s how I call this unusual exhibition. We learned about the body at school, the soul has until recently been an unknown concept. It is a deeply human concept, masterfully photographed stories. The three authors created images with their own handwriting. There is nothing redundant here, every photograph has its justification. It is a letter of the alphabet with which we are trying to read a woman’s life.


The last evening tram and the last masks in it. They are going home to be themselves, just for a while. Once a year, there is carnival in Venice and Rio de Janeiro. The streets are flooded with masks. And then they leave. But there are places where masks are worn every day. And that’s what this unique exhibition is about, too.

Gentlemen, welcome to Slovakia, thanks for your message.  Martin, thank you for letting me be there.


Marián Pauer