Photographer, creator of videos, video installations, objects and drawings.
Part of the work "My Hair" 1998, photo collage, 143x143x2 cm
Photographer, creator of videos, video installations, objects and drawings. Born in 1974 in Dobrodzień.
Combining video semi-documentary, installation, performance, and sculpture, Anna Konik’s art operates in a non-material realm, giving material shape to that which is often invisible. Meeting the protagonists of her work by accident, during her travels, Anna Konik creates her works from the basis of intimate contact with the person in question. Reaching into the deeper spheres of human existence - perceptions, emotions, intuition, her video installations aim to render immortal the human condition. A few of the videos are a sort of introspection where the artist also appears. Consciously constructing space to organically coexist with video projections, she depicts loneliness, confusion and over-sensitivity. Another important aspect of the art is time and simultaneity of projection.
Anna Konik lives and works in Berlin, Warsaw and Dobrodzień. She studied at the Faculty of Sculpture of the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts, and was an actress of the Academy Theatre in Warsaw for a couple of years. Since 2010 she has worked as a guest lecturer in the video of the fashion department of the university's art design faculty. In 2009 she was nominated for two major awards for young Polish artists: Deutsche Bank's Views award and the Polityka Passport award. In 2008-2009, she lectured on new media at the International Summer Academy in Salzburg. Anna Konik has also received several important study awards and been invited to grant stays in different countries: IASPIS, Stockholm (2011/2012), SPACES World Artists Program, Cleveland, USA (2005), Leube Artist in Residency (2004), Akademie Schloss Solitude (2003/2004 ).
In one of her first student works entitled My Hair (1998), Konik focused on the topic of the change of appearance, the ritual of hair-cutting and on the myths, which accompany these issues. The video installation Toys (2000) was a result of the collaboration with the Opera Buffo theatre, which engaged people suffering from schizophrenia as actors. The work consisted of two simultaneously played videos and of sculptural elements. The films documented the everyday life of schizophrenics, who have a specific, deep sensibility.
In the years 2001-2007 Konik created eight quasi-documentaries, which formed the cycle In the Middle of the Way. Seven of the films were about homeless people, whom the artist met during her travels around the world. The camera accompanies the characters in various places and during conversations about their homelessness, families, fates and attitudes towards life. Andrea Domesle noticed that the thematic element of journeying is present in all of the movies and in the cycle’s title, "the theme of being on the road, not only in the physical, but above all in the psychological sense, is employed here, as is the motif of traveling, which has always accompanied mankind". Journeying plays an especially important part in the seventh film – Postscriptum (2005). This movie shows Anna Konik herself as she travels between Warsaw, Berlin and her hometown of Dobrodzień.
Dialogues and discussions, which don’t lead to conclusions or compromises, are recurrent motifs in Anna Konik’s films. Such a theme was employed in the video I Keep Confusing Right and Left (2002), which presented arguing human heads positioned upside down. The characters’ voices are occasionally accelerated or slowed down. All of the persons shown in the video complain about the authorities, regardless of their political views. Four seniors are the main characters of the video installation Translucence (2004). These elderly people are lonely and virtually unnoticeable. Konik met them in Berlin, Warsaw and Stuttgart and conducted interviews with all of them. Later she created four, equally long, simultaneously played films, in which she duplicated the characters in such a way, that each of them seemed to be talking over a table with himself or herself. The seniors talk about their fates and their feelings of loneliness. Their stories aren’t devoid of acute, often bitter reflections on the condition of elderly people. Critic Krzysztof M.Bednarski commented,
Translucence is the life story of lonely elderly people conversing with each other. It’s almost like a sort of confession, perhaps the only and last one. Not everyone might Get into it. That’s because Konik’s paradocuments are ‘boring’. In her perfectly edited videos she doesn’t try to impress the viewer. […] Ania Konik eliminates the narcicistic ego typical of artists and making use of her experience from therapeutical theatre, she puts a new type of sensibility into her art.
The work Our Lady’s Forever (2006) is a video installation which consists of seven screens. The artist created it after she encountered a drama written by a man suffering from schizophrenia. The poetic and very aesthetic recordings made in the deserted Our Lady’s Cork filmed in a psychiatric hospital in Cork tells the story of a woman (A.) and a man (B.), who search for one another in the empty spaces of the building. Peter Murray wrote, "Konik’s film considers the issue of loneliness, the impossibility of authentic communication between lonely individuals and possible also the nightmare of forgetting and being forgotten".
Anna Konik's works have been exhibited in galleries in Poland and Europe and her works are both in private collections and institutions, including the Center for Contemporary Art in Ujazdowskislottet, Warsaw, Leubestiftelsens collection of Gartenau-Salzburg, Podlasieregionens Art Association in Białystok, Upper Silesian Museum in Bytom, Art Station Foundation in Poznan and Art Association in Lublin.
Author: Karol Sienkiewicz, October 2007; updated: November 2009, edited by Marta Jazowska July 2012
Photos published courtesy of the artist
Sources: Anna Konik website, culture.pl