Photographer Zofia Kulik was born in Warsaw, Poland, in 1947.
Known for her high-contrast montages built around symmetrical axes, for XXIV. ROHKUNSTBAU, in contrast, she shows compositions that make no distinction between the image centre and periphery. …
From Siberia to Cyberia is a media-analytic series of photographs, which moves between two poles as the title may suggest: Siberia – the northernmost, frozen region of Russia where rebels were exiled in Soviet times – and Cyberia, London’s first internet café. The artist’s knowledge is limited to television reports about these places, having never personally visited either of them. Another source of inspiration is the concept of “open form” by the Polish architect and artist Oskar Hansen.
A multitude of black-and-white stills photographs taken from the TV screen results in an overall structure – what Kulik terms a “vibrating visual mass”. From Siberia to Cyberia gives the impression of the proverbial “flood of images” which is further enhanced by a zigzag pattern. The zigzag effect is the result of manipulation during processing in the darkroom; the artist has also left areas of the photographs unexposed. “The work is understandable for everyone, whether s/he lives in a cosmopolitan city or in the deepest province, for rich and poor, because everyone is watching television”, says the artist.
Kulik’s contribution to XXIV. ROHKUNSTBAU prompts us to think about what is hidden from us, how media images are consumed, and the kind of worldview the flow of television media is shaping. Part of the background to this work of Kulik – an atheist and the daughter of a Polish Army Officer – is the ideological divergence of Poland and the ever-growing conservative Catholic influence there. Thus, she asks, what will happen if passive media consumption becomes the lowest common denominator?
Solo Exhibitions (a selection)
2007 Botschafter der Vergangenheit, Polnische Institut, Berlin, Germany
2005 From Siberia to Cyberia and Other Works, Bochum Museum, Germany
1998 The Human Motif IV, National Gallery, Prague, Czech Republic
1997 Symbolic Weapon IV, Polish Pavilion, 47th Biennial, Venice, Italy
Group Exhibitions (a selection)
2007 Documenta XII, Kassel, Germany
2006 The Interrupted Histories, Moderna Galerja, Ljubljana, Slovenia
2005 Warszawa – Moskwa, Zachęta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw, Poland; Trietiakowska Gallery, Moscow, Russia
2001 In Between: Art from Poland, 1945-2000, Exhibit Hall, Chicago, USA