20.09 - 10.11.2019
Agnieszka Rayss. This means war
Images carry the notion of war – created through media and varying throughout history – from military paintings and photography through to modern technologies. The method of visualizing war had, and still has, political significance in the sense that it expresses the conviction we have about it, and shapes collective imaginations. A particular type of image of war can be reenactments created as a kind of spectacle – best watched from a distance, as from a distance the view can be beautiful – making it even more ambivalent.
This Means War is the result of the artist observing the phenomenon of historical reenactments in the context of recent social and (geo)political changes, and their shift from a marginal phenomenon to becoming a popular model of cultural behavior in relation to the current historical policy.
Agnieszka Rayss notices that the reenactor – the creators of these cliche images – consciously or otherwise participate in the process of shaping the identity of contemporary Poles and the ways we perceive our common history. As source material she uses popular war images, referring iconographically and aesthetically to the traditions of 19th century landscape and military paintings, as well as documentary photography and film production.
The idea of reenactment affects not only the practice of recreating the war as ethically ambivalent, but also the status of the painting itself. It becomes an aesthetic reenactment – a collage made from notions about classical painting, documentary photography and the pleasant experience of watching a movie. Just as doubts can arise regarding the idea of war as a heroic act created by images, the very images pose the question: “What is it that we are actually looking at?”.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Agnieszka Rayss – photographer, freelancer, based in Warsaw, Poland. Co-founder of the Sputnik Photos collective. Her area of work is documentary photography. She studied History of Art at Jagiellonian University, and is a Doctoral student at the University of the Arts in Poznań.
She is interested in the post-soviet legacy of Central and Eastern Europe and in topics connected with its myths, history and its re-interpretation. In recent years she has also worked on themes of landscape and topics related to ecology. Her first works were dedicated to how post-communist countries were trying to copy Western trends, as well as the pop cultural manifestations of the transformation.
She has published the following photo albums: This is where the end of cities begins (2015) about the disturbing industrial face of urban organisms and American Dream (2011) about the cultural transformation and the triumph of pop-culture in Central and Eastern Europe.
A two-time winner of the Picture of the Year award in 2011 and 2012, a two-time finalist in the Hasselblad Masters Award, finalist of the Lucie Foundation scholarship, Alexia Foundation grant, and Lens Culture Exposure Award. Winner of several national press photography competitions. Recipient of a scholarship from the Ministry of Culture, Polish-German Cooperation Foundation, Municipality of Warsaw Grant and a scholarship from the Visegrad Fund. Her work has appeared in magazines such as Newsweek, The Guardian, and others.
ACCOMPANYING EVENT AS PART OF WGW
The Fort Institute of Photography invites you to the workshop entitled Bodythinging with Zuzia Sikorska. As part of this workshop, Zuza Sikorska will lead participants through ways of mindfully experiencing this ‘broadened way of seeing’, followed by a discussion – going from an image and through the reaction it elicits up to its analysis and critique.
For more information: here.
OFFER OF WORKS FOR SALE AND RENTAL OF THE EXHIBITION
All photographs shown at the exhibition are available for sale. The full presentation, including dimensions, editions, techniques and prices, can be viewed and downloaded here
For more information please contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org