Czeslaw Milosz on Josef Koudelka’s Exiles

by Luuk van den Berg on Oct 18, 2020

Czeslaw Milosz on Josef Koudelka’s Exiles

Written by Czeslaw Milosz
This article was published on American Suburb X

While writing this essay I had before my eyes Josef Koudelka’s photographs. Let my words serve as a tribute to his art of telling stories without words.

Rhythm is at the core of human life. It is, first of all, the rhythm of the organism, ruled by the heartbeat and circulation of blood. As we live in a pulsating, vibrating world, we respond to it and in turn are bound to its rhythm. Without giving much thought to our dependence on the systoles and distoles of flowing time we move through sunrises and sunsets, through the sequences of four seasons. Repetition enables us to form habits and to accept the world as familiar Perhaps the need of a routine is deeply rooted in the very structure of our bodies.

In a city or a village which we have known well since our childhood we move in a tamed space, our occupations finding everywhere expected landmarks that favor routine. Transplanted into alien surroundings we are oppressed by the anxiety of indefiniteness, by insecurity There are too many new shapes and they remain fluid, because the principle of their order through routine cannot be discovered. What I am saying is perhaps just a generalization of my own experience but I hope to be understood as that experience has been shared by many especially in this century.

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Josef Koudelka - Exiles 

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