No 1 (65) 2006
January - March

Plague-Stricken Cinema

The need to redefine historic facts has been announced today by historians accompanied by procrastinator politicians. Artists may attempt to strip off all mythology both history, as well as public gestures.
Roman Lewandowski

Theoretician and art. critic. Curator of the Baltic Contemporary Art. Gallery in Słupsk. Lecturer at the Cracow Fine Arts Academy Inter Media Faculty.

Roman Lewandowski
Haven’t all these actions been similarly myth creation oriented? One can pose this question while “reading” the latest project by Zbigniew Libera, “What Is a Liaison Doing?” developed in literary cooperation with Darek Foks. As a result, we have an exhibition and a book publication covering 63 scenes (chapters and photographs) referring to 63 days of the Warsaw Uprising. The project, resembling in this respect the earlier “Positives”, has been an ironic attempt to undermine yet existing archetypes and the nostalgic presentation of the motives that historically do not fit in with the war times. The method of collage facts combining and confabulation has been enriched with the meta-language tricks. Thus, the “reading” might unveil questions on the status of photography, as a tool of documenting art and reality, on their mutual influence and coexistence in media, scientific literature and popular understanding. The reproduced motives, mirror reflection narrations, iconographic game with panopticum of history and fetishes of collective imagination; all these have been adding up to a highly personal narration, certainly ambiguous for audiences unfamiliar with the Polish historic contexts. While Miron Białoszewski, in his “Warsaw Uprising Diary” had tried to introduce “noises, clusters and sequences” of the presence to make the drama of war better understood and corresponding to an individual human experience, Libera and Foks applied a kaleidoscopic mirage. It reveals collections of the world cinema “cult” icons who perform romantic and …..martyrdom gestures in the apocalyptic scenery ruins. This project undermines presently dead clichés, simultaneously negotiating with the audience their more modern, though equally arbitrary version. Darek Foks, Zbigniew Libera, “What Is a Liaison Doing?” , published by Ars Cameralis Silesiae Superioris, Upper Silesia Museum, Bytom, November 2005 - January 2006; the Artistic Exhibitions Bureau Bielska Gallery, Bielsko-Biała, February – March 2006.