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Martin Skraban

Photography Video and Digital Imaging | Class of 2020

Martin Skraban was born in Bojnice, Slovakia. A noticeable portion of Skraban’s photographic practice is rooted in his own identity. Through producing work that is both meaningful and therapeutic he is able to communicate complex and difficult topics.

Work available for sale, contact artist for more information

Martin Skraben / Photography
Martin Skraben / Photography
Martin Skraben / Photography
Martin Skraben / Photography
Martin Skraben / Photography

INCURABLE (2020)
Conversion therapy, also known as Ex-gay therapy is a series of discredited practices based on a belief that one’s sexual orientation or gender identity can be changed from homosexual or bisexual to heterosexual.

These practices are supported by psychological or spiritual interventions, often provided by licensed mental health professionals, unlicensed counsellors and religious leaders, targeting especially kids under 18.

The need to cure patients with Bible verses, physical pain, demonology, reparative masturbation, hypnosis, shame and other (in comparison to 20th century) less-extreme contemporary methods, just to redirect desires and arousal is equally posing serious dangers.

Inspired by renaissance paintings and individual stories from people who’ve been through these kinds of therapy, this series explores the negative impact on mental health of the patients which is, in many cases, fatal.
To some extent, ex-gay therapy is happening in almost every state of the world, whether legally or illegally.

Ironically, most ex-leaders continue to come out as gay after years of supporting the industry profiting from the harm of others, stating that you cannot heal someone who is not sick.

Martin Skraben / Photography
Martin Skraben / Photography
Martin Skraben / Photography
Martin Skraben / Photography
Martin Skraben / Photography
Martin Skraben / Photography

INVISIBLE (2018)
This body of work was produced in response to stereotyped depiction of mental illness. High-contrast black and white images of a person screaming, pulling out their hair or sitting in the corner of a dark room are just some examples of the mainstreamed view on the topic.

Being a person who has dealt with mental health issues himself, Skraban captures the feelings of anxiety, tension and pain through a series of still lives in his room.

In a similar way a struggling person often seems to be perfectly fine despite ongoing battles inside, the course of the disease is quite calm itself. Confused, yet making total sense. Anxious, yet perfectly calm. Devastated, yet managing.

Martin Skraben / Photography
Martin Skraben / Photography

LETTER TO A STRANGER (2019)
Exploring the Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens surroundings, Skraban documents and questions the relationship between the environment inside and outside of the glass construction. He is concerned about the future of the planet and elevates the importance of preserving endangered species, its fragility that is portrayed through intangible reflections in glass and metal surfaces.

Using the argyrotype printing process and calligraphy, a limited edition of 50 postcards raising an important question was produced and distributed to customers visiting the museum. In a hundred years time, will these protective glass-made environments really be the last places where we can see living plants and flora in general?

Skraban has taken up many volunteering opportunities, from helping to install the work, to photo-documenting exhibition openings, artist talks and workshops, while closely working with the NEPN (North East Photography Network) and providing archival material that could be used on their website or social media platforms. He took a part in project led by the Foundation Press, University of Sunderland, focused on risograph printing and self-publishing. Alongside ongoing book fair, this project resulted in a collaborative workshop open to the public at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Newcastle.

Skraban also collaborated with Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens and National Glass Centre, also based in Sunderland. His work was exhibited in the Corridor Gallery in the NEPN building, Sunderland and Hotel Lion D’Ore in Haarlem, Netherlands.