This year’s last edition of TRAFO MEDIA LAB presents photographs and light installation by Marek Kucharski and video by Dominika Gęsicka. The projects of both artists transform pre-existing available works and represent a commonly practiced trend of Appropriation Art. The starting point are already existing films: Dominika Gęsicka uses an intimate film found in a home archive, while Marek Kucharski studies a film documentary to create a story completely different than the one it originally meant to tell.
Five photographs by Marek Kucharski are in fact frames taken from an archive NASA film ‘To Sort out the Unknowns’ from 1969, in which the crew of Apollo 10 performs their last trial flight which is also a final rehearsal before the planned man’s landing on the moon. According to Dorota Perszko, the frames chosen by Kucharski are not in any way related to the technical context of the film, other than representing its own artistic visuality. They are postcard-like – and during the projection time – fractional even images, constituting merely interludes in the actual promotion of the space mission. The artist creates his own story, which taken out of context could be interpreted in various ways, with different frame formats making it impossible to identify their source. Although they have previously been presented as prints, during the exhibition in Trafo the photographs are shown on the walls by means of analog slide projectors. The beam of light sent into the sky from the gallery’s top floor completes the installation.
The video by Dominika Gęsicka forms part of the ‘El pilón’ series. It features Jose and Antonio, two friends who also work together fixing meat cutting boards (el pilón in Spanish) in a small workshop in Barcelona. After hours their working place, fitted with a bed, a camera and mirrors, becomes a rendezvous point for meetings with local prostitutes. A series of photographs and video works under the title ‘El pilón’ documents a sex obsession and reveals fragments of intimate encounters taking place behind the workshop’s closed doors. The viewer is being confronted with the past: pictures taken out of the drawers – a sort of secret archive of visits and amateur porn films recorded on VHS. During one of her visits in the workshop, Gęsicka films with her smartphone a playing video tape. It is the monologue of a prostitute, one of Jose and Antonio’s favourite. While watching a video tape recorded on the mobile phone, we see a person who is completely unaware of the fact that her recording has been shared and transformed by other people. However, a pixelated picture lessens the impression of voyeurism and blurs its literality.
Marek Kucharski (b.1982), graduated from Lodz Film School and University of Fine Arts in Poznań. Currently a student of Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Program at University of Fine Arts in Poznań. Received scholarships from the Capital City of Warsaw, Marshal of the Lodzkie Voivodeship and the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. In his work he uses the medium of photography, video, installation and sculpture. He focuses mainly on matters related to appropriation in art, social issues and scientific elements. His works were exhibited, among other places, in Germany, Switzerland, Mexico, Czech Republic, Indonesia and Australia.
Dominika Gęsicka (b.1981), studied international relations at Warsaw School of Economics. Currently a third year student at the Institute of Creative Photography in Opava (Czech Republic). Member of ‘People You May Know’ photography collective. Her works were shown at Photo Month in Cracow (Poland, 2014), Format Festival Derby (Great Britain, 2015) and Photograph Festival Prague (Czech Republic, 2015).
Photos in the gallery:
1. Marek Kucharski, Untitled 2, from ‘To Sort out the Unknowns’, 2013
2. Marek Kucharski, Untitled 1, from ‘To Sort out the Unknowns’, 2013
3,4. Dominika Gęsicka, film stills from the series ‘El pilón’, 2014