The fourth edition of TRAFO MEDIA LAB features the series of photographs ‘Dieu est amour’ [God Is Love] by the French duo Epectase: Corentin Fohlen & Jérôme Von Zilw and the video ‘Bez Tytułu (Czas i Przestrzeń)’ [Untitled (Time and Space)] by the Polish artist Krzysztof Maniak. The exhibition explores the relationship between the artist and public space and nature. Both Epectase and Krzysztof Maniak operate on the border of performance. Their activity is filled with delicate gestures and symbols.
The series of thirteen photographs ‘Dieu est amour’ depicts a man climbing crosses and embracing the figures of Christ. The man is Jérôme Von Zilw of the art duo Epectase. The gesture of embrace seems absurd as the viewer is not used to such intensive interaction with symbols associated with Christian iconography. The artists choose statues located at the crossroads, trying to draw the viewer’s attention to the symbolism of the crucifix that used to mark the stops made by processions and pilgrimages. As such, the cross has lost its original meaning. Christ suffers alone, we just pass by. Although it was once a symbol of faith, the cross has become yet another landmark. While working on the project Epectase met with extreme reactions from bystanders, for some of whom climbing the cross was a profanation, and for others, an act of love for God and a proof of profound faith.
The video ‘Bez Tytułu (Czas i Przestrzeń)’ consists of a series of discrete performances documented in the forests around Tuchów. It features spontaneous activities of the artist in the surrounding nature. Krzysztof Maniak transfers everyday gestures to the natural setting: he gently strokes the bark around a tree trunk, he caresses flowers, immerses his hand in snow or motionlessly hangs from a branch. The simple gestures are surprising in the new context, gaining a symbolic meaning as the effect is strengthened by a video loop. The repeatability of gestures refers to natural cycles. Krzysztof Maniak said in an interview his outdoor activity was never planned and his goal was to remain anonymous. Ideally, the viewer could only catch a glimpse of him somewhere on the outskirts of cities and forests. The artist rarely reveals his face, usually showing only an outline of his body or part thereof, blending into the nature or hiding or disappearing completely.
Krzysztof Maniak (born in 1990) graduated from the Faculty of Intermedia at the Academy of Fine Arts in Cracow. He works with video, photography, and performance. In 2013, he was the winner of the radio talents contest held by the Polish Radio III (visual arts category) and of the 14th edition of ‘Artistic Travel of Hestia’. His solo shows include: ‘30 Seconds of ‘Hanging from a Tree Branch Before It Broke’, BWA Katowice, 2015; ‘The Scratches’, Two Left Hands Gallery, Katowice 2014; ‘The Stopped’, Baltic Gallery of Contemporary Art / Witches, Tower Slupsk, 2014. His group shows include, among others: ‘As You Can See’, Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw, 2014; ‘Intermedia.mov.’, KinoLab CSW Zamek Ujazdowski, Warsaw; ‘VideoNews’, Galeria Labirynt, Lublin, 2014.
Formed in 2012, Epectase is a discrete art duo of Corentin Fohlen and Jérôme Von Zilw. Exhibitions: Le Centquatre (Festival Circulation(s), Paris; Belfast Photo Festival; Voyage à Nantes; Festival Fotografia Europea, Reggio Emilia; Atelier Yann Arthus-Bertrand. Pubblications: New York Times, Le Temps (Switzerland), TV5 Monde, Libération, Artribune, Elle Magazine, Philosophe Magazine, Neon (France), L’Espresso, La Republica (Italy).
MEDIA LAB is the second, after TRAFO PLUG IN: PROJECT ROOM, annual exhibition program at TRAFO Center for Contemporary Art in Szczecin. The series popularizes two media: video and photography, examining their functions, context and roles and answering questions about their complex interdependent relations. It explores and challenges the boundaries between video and photography and provokes a discussion on their place in the context of the key trends in digital and virtual reality.
Every two months starting from January 30, 2015, MEDIA LAB presents the dialogue between two outstanding emerging artists. Past exhibitions featured Karol Komorowski and Alan Warburton, Mateusz Kiszka and Urszula Kozak, Filip Ćwik and Volkan Kızıltunç. The fourth edition features the artistic duo Epectase (Corentin Fohlen and Jérôme Von Zilw). They will be followed by Tomasz Wiech and Paweł Żukowski, Marek Kucharski and Dominika Gęsicka