The Word Pictures: Talking Films
exhibition is devoted to Polish art videos that are characterized by their distinctive use of words. In the works collected here, the video communicates not only through its visuals; image is combined with words both as sounds and as meanings. The esthetics of sound and the power of meaning - melos and logos - are capable of framing an image. Words and the way they are expressed take on a force reminiscent of poetry, prayer or magical incantations, and moving pictures wrestle with language that imposes interpretations on them.
In the works included in Word Pictures: Talking Films
, language is used in a variety of ways, but it most frequently takes the form of an internal dialogue.
Robakowski, Rozmyslania przy lizaniu
Józef Robakowski’s Meditations During Licking
[Rozmyslania przy lizaniu] is a classic of Polish media art starring the artist’s beloved cat Rudzik, absorbed in the act of cleaning his fur. Robakowski, off screen, repeats the words I’m licking and I’m thinking. The words spur our imagination to invest the straightforward taped image of the animal with the mystery and depth of assorted cultural associations ranging from Egyptian ritual through depth psychology to horror films. In his characteristic way, Robakowski uses his voice to subvert the objective innocence of the image.
Zorka Wollny, Czarny film (1)
Zorka Wollny’s Film Noir
[Czarny Film], with its riveting sense of yearning and anxiety, uses Sylvia Plath’s writing to lend the intensity of a nightmare to the image created by a first-person-perspective camera. In the darkness of a dream, heightened by the black screen on which the work is projected, we encounter multiplying figures and masks of femininity in which the narrator sees herself.
Miroslaw Balka, Sundays Kill More
In Sundays Kill More
Miroslaw Balka simultaneously recorded the image of a raging storm and the voice of the American poet/outcast Charles Bukowski. Reading his own poems at maximum volume, Bukowski drowns out the thunderstorm. The unity of time and place in the recording, made on a summer Sunday, reflecting the title of the poem - Sundays Kill More Men Than Bombs
- is genuine, but also questionable. As is the danger lurking in the elementalism in the natural world and in the illusion-free poetry.
Wojciech Bakowski, Film mówiony 4
Spoken Movie 4
[Film mówiony 4], the latest in Wojciech Bakowski’s Talking Film series, combines animation with a recitation of the artist’s poetry. The near-confessional poetry and the original, peculiarly plebian audiovisual language are characteristic for Bakowski. He uses extremely simplified methods - shreds of language combined with shreds of images construct, with enormous precision and sensitivity, a world in which the artist slowly reveals himself. Bakowski wrings a wealth of complex meaning from stripped-down concepts juxtaposed with equally stripped-down images.
Piotr Bosacki, Film o Kostuchu
, 2008, materialy WRO
In form, Piotr Bosacki’s animation The Grimbones
is ostentatiously simple, comprising a grid with nails in it, and a rubber band in various positions that Bosacki used to create a semantic system of deceptively obvious logic and deceptively simple syntax. The images accompanied by commentary in a girlish, even childish voice, transform this variation on the theme of shapes into a philosophical treatise.
Wojtek Doroszuk, Call me Poetic
Call me Poetic
- Wojciech Doroszuk’s latest work - is premiering at the Budapest exhibition. It’s a video of a young New York poet reading and improvising his poetry for the camera. Making use of assorted objects - items from a hairstyling school, a mobile phone - and moving around the camera as he declaims, the poet plants the words firmly in urban rituals, rap and extravagant physical expression.