The central motif of Hubert Czerepok's artwork are the connections between fiction and truth in historical accounts. It is not the facts themselves that interest the artist, but rather the ways in which they mutate and undergo formal and semantic transformations...
Hubert Czerepok, "Devil's Island", photo: courtesy of the artist / Art Stations Foundation
The central motif of Hubert Czerepok's oeuvre are the connections between fiction and truth in historical accounts. It is not the facts themselves that interest the artist, but rather the ways in which they mutate and undergo formal and semantic transformations.
As his artistic interests developed throughout the years, Czerepok never restricted himself to one particular medium. For each subject he chooses such means that will best reflect its nature. Hence his work, apart from drawing and photography, encompasses video installation and instalation with architectural structures.
For the video installation Devil's Island, the artist visited the rocky islet off the coast of Kourou in French Guiana (famed for the penal colony to which many French political prisoners – including Alfred Dreyfus – were condemned). Between 1852 and 1951, the infamous "Île du Diable" was home for over 70 000 prisoners. Apparently, Czerepok must have been charmed by a peculiar mixture of facts and historical inconsistencies, which to some extent were inspired by the romantic vision of the island created by Henri Charrière in his classic memoir Papillon ("Butterfly") – a semi-biographical and semi-fictitious account of a successful escape from the prison island.
In the installation, images are projected onto a hexagonal sculpture referencing another form of disciplinary power: the Panopticon. Part of a circular prison building, the Panopticon allows full-time surveillance of prisoners without their knowing if they are being watched or not, the result being a sense of invisible omniscience. The artist uses this heavily symbolic and visually original construction as a framework on which he can cast beautiful images of tropical island landscapes. The landscapes that appear on the walls of the prison model open a totally new perspective, allowing us to see the outside from the inside. The artist offers us a multi-perspective visual experience. The island once isolated and closed, opens up and expands in front of us on the hexagon walls. Its story is told anew.
The exhibition features also two series of drawings created in 2009: Seances (after Disasters of War), which pay tribute to Goya's Disasters of War engravings, and the latest cycle which portrays the ruins of destroyed and abandoned churches. The black and white drawings on paper appear to have no particular background detail. Crude simplicity of black lines adds an overwhelming sense of purity to the compositions which meet our eyes. Each of them is clear, devoid of any redundant visual content that could obstruct our analytical appraisal of the tragic scenes being depicted. Seeing the ruined churches, whose shapes are defined by black shades, we almost palpably feel the force of static lines and the ever growing depressing silence. The other cycle, Seances (after Disasters of War) is a mass media modeled vision of human cruelty, captured by the artist in a new critical form.
The exhibited works stimulate reflection not only on the notion of historical truth but also on the circumstances that lead humanity to self-destruction. The new series depicting burnt churches will have its premiere exhibition at the Art Stations.
Hubert Czerepok (born 1973) graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznań (the studio of Prof. Izabella Gustowska and Prof. Jan Berdyszak) in 1999. In 2001, he took part in the research program at the National Academy of Fine Arts in Oslo, in 2002-2003, he studied at Jan van Eyck Academy (Post-Academic Institute of Research andProduction Fine Art, Design and Theory, Maastricht) and in 2004-2005, at the Higher Institute for Fine Arts, Antwerpen. In 1998-2001, together with Sławek Sobczak he run the ON Gallery (Poznań). In 2000-2002, together with Zbigniew Rogalski
he formed the artistic duo Magisters. The artist is preoccupied with such themes as the artistic community and its mechanisms, the factors that determine human behavior or the analysis of public spaces. In his work he often employs elements of conspiracy theories, using mass media coverages as a source of inspiration.
Preview: February 4, 2010, at 7:00 pm.
Open until: April 13, 2010.
Art Stations Foundation