Zuzanna Janin, Majka from the Movie

Still frame from the film, source: www.lokal30.pl
Still frame from the film, source: www.lokal30.pl

The five-part video series takes as its narrative point of departure a television soap opera of sorts, called the Madness of Majka Skowron, a popular series made in Poland in the mid-seventies.

Zuzanna Janin's film and video works, alongside her installations and three-dimensional art objects, frequently addresses ideas of social construction and the formation of interactive singular and/or group identities. More specifically, how both singular and collective identities are manipulated and played off against one another in today's contemporary culture. A singular identity thus finds itself - as Janin makes us aware - in a continuous state of personal construction and displacement in relation to the Other as it is experienced. This is the necessary condition of projections born of our conscious and unconscious selves. How we form and shape and thereafter transmit the nature of our personal identity through social and cultural interaction, whether by purposefully conscious intentions or otherwise, is crucial to an understanding of Janin's work. The shaping of identity is constructed in time and in circumstance, and it is not something that is a given. This is most evident in her recent and ongoing major video serial project Majka from the Movie (2009), which is yet to be finally completed.

The five-part video series takes as its point of departure a television soap opera of sorts, called the Madness of Majka Skowron / Szaleństwo Majki Skowron (1975), a popular series made in Poland in the mid-seventies (it was also shown in these time in DDR under the title Das Mädchen Majka). The original series story was based on a generational conflict between a father and adolescent daughter. The girl (played by the artist as a young actress - Zuzanna Antoszkiewicz) runs away from home and spends the summer on an island, where she meets a young man.

The archetype of the lost heroine (Miranda) and the young man (a would be Ferdinand) draws loosely on the Shakespeare play The Tempest. The second Majka (2009) with filmed elements directed and intercut by the artist (and in fact the daughter of Janin) is both a simile of the first character, and an extended metaphor of Janin as filmmaker. By using her daughter as both an extension and part of her own personal identity formation, the artist presents herself both in front of and behind the camera. Indeed, throughout the five parts of the video serialisation the periodic intercutting or splicing of Majka, and also her contemporary re-incarnation or life projection, operate as the shared unity against a backdrop or compendium of personal film and music appropriations that encompasses the metonymic (a contiguity of association between two ideas), metaphor (notions of comparative similarity) and continuous similes (shared aspects or common features).

Seen as a whole and presented across five screens Majka from the Movie, presents a kaleidoscopic life of synthesis spanning the last forty years. However, it should not be read as a simple accumulation of life sources out of which the identity of the Majka character has been made. Rather, it gives greater insights into the filmmaker Janin herself, since she has chosen the cultural nubs of recognition as to the contents that contribute to the making of a life and an identity. They are the cultural 'other' out of which 'identifying identity' is made a necessary possibility. An infinite space still remains, between what can be assimilated and what is actually assimilated to forge and create a singular sense of personal identity. The asymmetrical and temporal episodic format presents a mirror of mediated synchronicity. A synchronicity that is structured as a journey, but conversely is as much about the nature of how we assimilate the world of the continuous present as against the variety of cultural sources we derive from the past. Our experience of them is part of our contemporary consciousness, and this remains the necessary meaning regardless of the historical moment in which they were first presented.

Author: Mark Gisbourn

Kunsthalle Wien
Treitlstraße 2, A-1040 Vienna
The exhibition runs from August 17 through September 1, 2010

Source: www.lokal30.pl

Facebook Twitter Reddit Share
envelope culture

Did you like our article? English newsletter here

Sign up for newsletter

  • 0 subscribers
  • In accordance with the law from August 29, 1997, relating to the protection of personal data (consolidated text, Journal of Laws, 2002, no. 101, Item 926), I am hereby giving my formal consent to the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, located at 25 Mokotowska Street in Warsaw (00-560), to process my personal data.
  • Email Marketingby GetResponse
Zobacz także:
Jerzy Grotowski, 1973, photo: Aleksander Jałosiński / Forum

Adam Mickiewicz, André Lichnerowicz, Jerzy Grotowski, and Barbara Romanowicz were among the lecturers of the prestigious Collège de France at various times throughout its history. Each represented unique fields of research that contributed to the school’s centuries-old Latin motto, Docet Omnia – “It Teaches Everything.” Read more »

Franco Fagioli © Wojciech Wandzel Capella Cracoviensis 2015

On 4th December 2015, Capella Cracoviensis, a renowned Polish ensemble specialising in the use of historical instruments, will perform in the cradle of French opera: the Royal Opera of Versailles. Read more »


Château de Versailles
Versailles, France

Read more »
Andrzej Czajkowski

Rebel of the Keys charts the life and times of pianist, composer and ‘enfant-terrible’ Andrzej Czajkowski, mixed with a present day journey to the first performance of Andre’s opera on the international stage.Read more »

Marcin Koszałka’s thriller, awarded in Arras and Cairo, is a fascinating thriller about discovering and domesticating evil.Read more »

Digital table with archival materials – a still from the Być Wielkim animation series by Daria Rzepiela and Tomasz Wełna, photo: promo materials / Teatr Wielki – Polish National Opera

Kilos of books, gigabytes of scans, terabytes of animations and never-ending periods spent in archives and in front of a computer. All of it to create an outstanding series of animations that guides audiences through the corridors, interiors and stormy history of the Great Theatre in Warsaw. Read more »

Tadeusz Kantor in Edinburgh 1972, photo: Art Museum in Łódź

Over 90,000 visitors came to visit Tadeusz Kantor Machine. On display for three months in São Paulo, the exhibition included theatre plays, happenings, performances, paintings and other modes of production, all organised by Culture.pl. Read more »