Series of staged photographs, printed and reproduced photographically
Series of photographs restaging the famous historical press photos in a “positive version” – repeating the original in terms of composition, but changing the characters and the general meaning of the captured events. “The series is another attempt at playing with trauma” Libera comments, “we are always dealing with memorized objects, not the objects themselves. I wanted to employ this mechanism of seeing and remembering and touch upon the phenomenon of memory’s afterimages. This is how we actually perceive those photographs [“Positives”] – the harmless scenes trigger flashbacks of the brutal originals. I have picked the “negatives” from my own memory, from among the images I remembered from the childhood.”
Zbigniew Libera is one of the most interesting and important Polish artists. His works – photographs, video films, installations, objects and drawings – piercingly and subversively (in an intellectual way) play with the stereotypes of contemporary culture. His shocking video works from the 80s (among others “Intimate Rites” and “Mystical Perseverance”) preceded “body art” by 10 years. In mid-90s, Libera began to create “Correcting Devices” – objects which are modifications of already existing products – objects of mass consumption (among others “Universal Penis Expander” and “Body Master. A Play Kit For Children”). He also designs transformed toys – works that reveal the mechanisms of upbringing, education and cultural conditioning, the most famous of which is “Lego Concentration Camp”. From that moment on, he is one of the pillar of the so-called “critical art”, also in the institutional sense – despite the development of his career he is still closely connected with the independent circles. In recent years he has also been preoccupied with photography, especially the specificity of press photography and the ways in which the media shape our visual memory and manipulate the image of history (works from the series “Positives” and “Masters”, 2003).