No 1 (97) 2014
January - March

Research on Medium

The research on medium has been popular and eagerly discussed topic among theoreticians of art today. Researches maintain that one should not forget material aspect of artifacts by means of which pictures have been presented.

Maria Franecka

Art historian. She publishes texts on contemporary art.

Maria Franecka

THE REFLECTION ON MEDIUM HAS BEEN A LEADING MOTIVE of the Jerzy Busza festival seventh edition held, as every year, at the "Elektrownia" (Power Plant) Mazovian Contemporary Art Center in Radom and at the Polish Sculpture Center in Orońsko. The event covered two scenes of the "Photo Object Identified" exhibition.

As Hans Belting wrote in the "Anthropology of Picture": "picture bodies carry an effect by means of their material and format "1). This exhibition has additionally intensified the experience of material qualities of a medium, since photography has been combined with other medium - most frequently this has been written into the structure of a sculpture or spatial installation. Occasionally a viewer is being pushed to interact with a given piece. This has an influence on the perception of the photographic pictures one is watching. Artists present various opportunities provided by this type of approach to photography.

A monochromatic photo by Dagmara Bugaj shows entangled organic structures, their shapes bringing to one's mind withered plant roots. These have been sunk in a natural material, that is resin. Thus, the depth of the motives presented on the picture has been intensified, and a sense of their organic aspects increased. Thus, they look more aesthetic, nearly like decorative forms.

A subsequent work has been similar with regard to the above described sense. An object - with the photograph printed on it - has been orchestrated with the picture. Andrzej Różycki has applied black-andwhite photographs of a lying man. The man has been presented at a scale 1:1, viewed up to his arms, a hand under his head. His pose suggests that he is quite comfortable; with his eyes half closed, he looks as though he was about to fall asleep. The picture has been printed on the cushion. The developed context makes one perceive the photo in a completely different way than if the piece would have been placed behind the glass and put on the wall. The "Tribute to Demiurges" by Krzysztof Cichosz offers a portrait of Steve Jobs made by putting photographic plates one on top of others. The object has been lit from behind, so as it adopted unreal, if not mystic character. The impression has been additionally intensified by obliterated contours of the face as a result of superimposed layers. This seems to be an icon of our times. The type of presentation stays in unison with the image the businessman wished to create, namely a mystic of the contemporary era. Adam Rzepecki, following the concept of "art for all", showed an exhibition for dwarves. He has stuck miniature photographs on matchboxes to be suspended a dozen of centimeters over the floor.

In order to see them, a viewer has to crouch down and pick them up. Thus, a viewer's body is being involved in the process of photographic experience. The similar process has been present in the work by Tomasz Komorowski, entitled "Unnecessary". The author has been collecting and buying photographs that depict various topics from different periods. He has scattered them on the floor, so as one can walk on them, some are even meant to be taken away. A viewer has to stoop down to have a closer look. This type of arrangement has forced a viewer to interact, and by the same token to notice material aspects of photography.

One should mention here the work by Jagoda Przylak, entitled "Promotion. After Blue Collar Workers Training Somewhere in Pennsylvania". The piece has been planned in such manner that at the first glance one sees only a fragment of the photograph - palms of portrayed men. Their arrangement resembles the position adopted by politicians posing for a group photo. After the whole photograph is uncovered, one can see their faces and silhouettes.

Hans Belting. Anthropology of Picture. Sketches to the Research on Picture, Universitas, Cracow 2007, p. 34.

The "Photo Object Identified" Jerzy Busza 7th Festival, "Elektrownia" (Power Plant) Mazovian Contemporary Art Center in Radom, December 2013 - February 2014; the Polish Sculpture Center in Orońsko, December 2013 - January 2014.