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
www.kunsthallewien.at
The exhibition runs from August 17 through September 1, 2010

Source: www.lokal30.pl

Rate:
(48 votes)
23 Kościelna street, Otwock, photo: Dagmara Nemerow

There were hundreds of them before the war. Fable-like houses with wooden verandas and openwork balustrades are slowly disappearing from the map of Otwock....

The mural painted by Blu, Kamienica pod Żaglowcem (The  "Under the Sailboat" Apartment House), 45 Sienna street, Warsaw, photo: courtesy of Mateusz Ściechowski

As Łódź and Kraków compete for the title of Poland’s street art capital, Warsaw was on the verge of getting rid of an iconic mural painted by the world-famous...

Arłamów Wschodnioeuropejskie Centrum Kongresowo-Sportowe w Arłamowie, photo. Kamil Krukiewicz / Reporter

A private airstrip, a luxurious hotel, mountain-style villas, and nearly 30 thousand hectares of wooded terrain guarded by armed soldiers were once part of the...

Tadeusz Kantor, 1967, Kraków, photo. Wojciech Plewiński

Newsweek called his The Dead Class the best theatrical play in the world. He was known for his uncompromising artistic stance, unparalleled charisma, and great...

Roman Polański visiting the Film School in Łódź, 1981, photo: Bogdan Borkowski / Forum

The Hollywood Reporter ranked Łódź Film School among one of the top 15 cinematographic schools across the world

  •  
  • 1 of 535

  СПЕКТАКЛИ // ФЕСТИВАЛЬНЫЙ КЛУБ  

Located in the heart of Poznań, Stary Borwar is a unique shopping centre that shows the concept of founder Grażyna Kulczyk: her 50-50 principle. According to...

The search for a mysterious girl photographed in the ruins of the Warsaw Ghetto almost 70 years ago has yielded no results so far. She would be in her eighties...

Parish Museum

Okładka (nid 6674694)

The young Polish writer has composed a novel about life in the shadow of Francisco Goya’s genius and the destructive pressure of a despotic father on his son.

  •  
  • 1 of 417

The culinary tastes of the generations born in the PPR (the Polish People’s Republic) were shaped mostly by canteen food and home cooking, which was based on...

Throughout centuries, Poland has been populated by very diverse ethnicities and linguistic groups, all of which have left a mark. Here's a look at some of the...

Judas Priest, British Steel, cover art: Rosław Szaybo

Vinyl records combine visual art with musical mastery - and aficionados take interest in both. Here's a compilation of the most recognized album art created by...

Culture.pl presents a guide of a phantom city - a Warsaw that no longer exists.

Andrzej Wajda during a rehearsal of "The Possessed" according to Fyodor Dostoyevsky, 1971, Teatr Stary in Krakow, photo: Wojciech Plewiński / Forum

Forty years since it irreversibly altered the Polish theatre scene, Wajda's adaptation of Dostoyevsky's "The Possesed" resurfaces on the small screen. "The...

  •  
  • 1 of 535