October 9, 2017 - Centro per l'arte contemporanea Luigi Pecci - Józef Robakowski: Nearer, Further
October 9, 2017

Centro per l'arte contemporanea Luigi Pecci

Józef Robakowski, Exercise for two Hands, 1976. Łódź, film performance, 16mm film.

Józef Robakowski
Nearer, Further
October 14, 2017–January 28, 2018

Opening: October 13, 6–9pm

Centro per l'arte contemporanea Luigi Pecci
Viale della Repubblica 277
59100 Prato
Italy

T +39 0574 5317
F +39 0574 531901
info@centropecci.it

centropecci.it
Facebook / Instagram

Józef Robakowski
Nearer, Further
October 14, 2017–January 28, 2018

Opening: October 13, 6–9pm

Centro per l'arte contemporanea Luigi Pecci
Viale della Repubblica 277
59100 Prato
Italy

T +39 0574 5317
F +39 0574 531901
info@centropecci.it

centropecci.it
Facebook / Instagram

From October 14, 2017 to January 28, 2018, the Luigi Pecci Centre for Contemporary Art will host the first retrospective in Italy of one of the biggest representatives of Polish art and experimental cinema, Józef Robakowski, entitled Nearer, Further, curated by Bożena Czubak.

Józef Robakowski (Poznań, 1939) is an artist and creator of films, videos, installations, performances and photographs, as well as a cultural promoter and art theorist. He coordinated some key artistic movements of the second half of the 20th century, from the collective Zero-61 (1961–69), which was inspired by the tradition of metaphorical montage used by avant-garde cinema, to the Workshop of the Film Form (Warsztaty Formy Filmowej, 1970–77).

A promoter of the Polish progressive artistic movement, his research led him to question the language, mechanics and material of film, uniting these elements with an interest in the avant-garde conceptual tradition filtered through the lens of authenticity and personal identity.

The exhibition presents some of the author's most significant works and his research on the language of film and montage: a selection of films, videos and documented performances from the 1960s up until more recent times, starting with his first experimental film, 6,000,000, a montage of documentary fragments and newsreel footage from the Second World War up to a film/performance entitled I’m Going... (Idę... ,1973), the first of the works in which the camera is considered an extension of the artist's body.

There is also the masterpiece From My Window (Z mojego okna, 1978–99) which Robakowski created by shooting scenes of daily life for over 20 years from the window of his studio, located in a district of Łodż with buildings that vaguely resembled skyscrapers, examples of the socialism of the 1970s, hence it was named Manhattan. This work makes us consider how an artist who lived behind the Iron Curtain was forced to imagine the entire world from his window.

“The only way to be political was to be totally apolitical.” With this statement the artist gave a good explanation of his research—and that of many of his colleagues—within the context of abstract film. Hence his aspiration to create a special expanded cinema, an expansion of the boundaries of traditional cinema, in which cinema can also, from time to time, be performance, object, and poetry. The exhibition presents a series of “non-camera” films in which the footage is produced by manipulating the film tape directly, a radical statement against the narrative and illusory aspects of the traditional film message.

Whereas Homage to Brežnev (Pamięci L. Breżniewa, 1982), which shows some scenes from the funeral of Leonid Brežnev—Secretary General of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union—and Art is power! (Sztuka to potęga!, 1984–85), which shows a military parade in Red Square in Moscow, seem to belong to a more specific political theme.

Nearer, further (Bliżej, Dalej, 1985), which is also the name of the exhibition, is a self-ironic reminiscence of the analytical research of the 1970s dedicated to the Workshop of the Film Form, an experience—at the time—now obsolete. It's a sort of game the artist plays with his image reflected by manipulating the zoom, citing, in not too veiled a manner, the iconic work by Dziga Vertov The man with the movie camera, but it also becomes a metaphor for the separation of the artistic culture behind the Iron Curtain which this exhibition seeks to bring closer.

The catalogue, published by Mousse, full of illustrations and descriptions of the work, contains an interview by Hans Ulrich Obrist with the artist and a text written for the occasion by Marina Abramović, a colleague and friend of Józef Robakowski in the years they both lived and worked in communist bloc countries.

Wednesday, October 11 at 7pm will be the opening of the little Milanese preview at BASE (via Bergognone 34, Milan) Through the projection of some videos, the artist will tell his work and speak with the audience. Furthermore, some videos will be visible at gallery space until October 18.

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Nearer, Further
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