Helena Wilson

Curators: Magdalena Juříková and Jan Mlčoch

The exhibition will present the collective work of the important photographer who has worked in different environments and on different continents. The photographs by Helena Wilson (* 1937, Návratov, today Zlatá Olešnice, † 2019, Toronto, Canada) are characterised by a strong empathy and a striving for a dignified interpretation of every milieu, even one where socially excluded communities live.

One entire phase of her work is an important testament to the unofficial art scene during the era of normalisation.

Helena Wilson, Self-portrait, 1967, London, The Museum of Decoratifs Arts in Prague

Her grandmother was already taking photographs at the turn of the 20th century and her mother was a professional photographer. Helena, whose maiden name was Pospíšilová, graduated in 1957 from the State School of Graphic Arts (Prague Graphic School), where she also specialised in photography. She then worked for the Institute of Archaeology of the CAS and for the Umění a řemesla magazine. In 1967, she met Paul Wilson in London. They both came into contact with non-conformist artists from the “Křižovnická škola čistého humoru bez vtipu” (a group of artists professing “pure humour without wit” whose meeting point was a pub in Křižovnická street in Prague). She became a photographer of the group’s actions and events and also documented the works of individual members of this community (e.g. Karel Nepraš, Jan Steklík, Rudolf Němec, Naděžda Plíšková, Otakar Slavík, Olaf Hanel, Eugen Brikcius). Already at that time, she was concerned about the state of our natural environment and, in 1968, she created the Mountain of Water series in which she captured the pollution of the Vltava River in the form of a time-lapse documentary.

When Paul Wilson was expelled from Czechoslovakia in 1977 for his involvement with the Plastic People of the Universe, she moved to Canada to join him. There, she photographed for art magazines and, in the first half of the 1980s, became a photographer of Native American art, particularly from the Ontario region. During these sojourns and travels through the reservations, she also produced a number of portraits. In the 1990s she photographed the art scene in Havana.

After 1989, she returned to her homeland, where she exhibited her photographs several times, including at the Josef Sudek Gallery in the exhibition Libri Prohibiti (2011). The exhibition project, which will be presented by the GHMP in the autumn, is created in cooperation with the Museum of Decorative Arts, to which the artist donated her archive.


Helena Wilson

from: 5. 11. 2024
to: 30. 3. 2025

Curators: Magdalena Juříková and Jan Mlčoch

House of Photography
Revoluční 1006/5
110 00 Prague 1 – Staré Město

Tue-Sun 10–18 h
Thu 10–20 h

The building is barrier-free (elevator – call the phone T (+420) 702 283 922)


CZK 150 full / adults
CZK 60 reduced / pupils and students age 11–26
CZK 20 / seniors over 65 y., school groups with teacher
CZK 250 family / 2 adults + 1–4 children under 15 y.

Special admissions and special discounts

Free admission / GHMP Member / Member Plus / Patron card holders

Ticket office T (+420) 702 283 922