Polish artists' video diaries
curated by Lukasz Ronduda
4pm, Sunday 10th December 2006
Basement CANDID ARTS TRUST,
3 Torrens St, London, EC1V 1NQ
Weronica by Pawel Althamer, Artur Zmijewski
Such a Nice Boy I Gave Birth To by Marcin Koszalek
Selected Films 1996 - 2006 by Wilhelm Sasnal
From My Window by Józef Robakowski
Szaman by Miron Bialoszewski -
Short Films 1999 - 2006 by Agnieszka Brzanska
Among the recent video works by Polish artists a trend has manifested itself that could be dubbed 'private cinema'. This type of cinematic activity has a rather long tradition in Poland. It was born among Polish artists under communism, made privately in a reaction to the impossibility of speaking out freely in the public sphere at the time. Even since Miron Bialoszewski's short etudes, 'private cinema' had been developing close to the artist's life, focused on recording everyday, banal activities and events, fantasies, masquerades, and so on. The films themselves were less important than the social effect they generated, the effect of strengthening the ties, closeness and friendship between the people meeting to make such a film.
The term 'private cinema' was coined by Józef Robakowski, an artist who reached for a new (more narrative, intimate, subjective) cinematic formula following a period of disillusionment with the overly objectified and rationalised 'structural' cinema. On the technological level, the emergence of the formula of 'private cinema' was closely connected with the birth of a small, private, portable film or video camera, permitting an unprecedentedly close distance between the camera and its operator's life, giving the operator full control over the filmmaking process. Robakowski wrote of 'private cinema' that it was
... a way to remember oneself, to record one's own mentality, one's gestures. psychic tensions that occur alongside reality. Private Cinema comes into being when nothing works ...[it is] a direct projection of the camera operator's thoughts. Freed from all fashions and aesthetical rules and the established linguistic codifications, it stands close to the filmmaker's life.
Józef Robakowski, Kino wlasne [w:] Robakowski J. (red.) Teczka nr 12, Lublin 1992, str. 113).
The films comprising this show are very intimate, rooted strongly in their authors' existential experience they are an imagination-filtered recording of their relations with the world, with the place where they live permanently or at the given moment, their loved ones, friends, or people that have just met. The artists making such 'video diaries' never part with the camera, permanently visualising their distribution and redistribution of reality.
Lukasz Ronduda has run the Archive of Polish Experimental Film at the Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle in Warsaw since 2000. He also teaches art history and aesthetic theory at Warsaw School of Social Psychology.