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PHOTOMONTH IN KRAKOW — 2010 Photomonth_kropki_duze

JEREMY MILLAR Photomonth_kropki_duze

As Witkiewicz




Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz’s multi-layered oeuvre has inspired generations of readers, philosophers, gallery and theatre audiences, and artists as well: writers, filmmakers and photographers. A fascination for Witkacy’s life and work also gave birth to Jeremy Millar’s Like Witkiewicz solo exhibition for this year’s Photomonth. Millar’s attention was drawn to a legend-shrouded moment in Witkacy’s biography, Witkacy and Bronisław Malinowski’s expedition to Trobrianda; an expedition that led to a fateful quarrel between the friends. Witkacy accompanied the outstanding anthropologist as a photographer and a drawer, and saw the outbreak of World War One as a sign to return to Europe. Malinowski could not be torn away, not even by the war, from what turned out to be founding research for contemporary anthropology. Fundamental to Millar’s project are questions of what would have happened if Witkacy had chosen otherwise. Travelling in Malinowski’s footsteps almost a hundred years later, Millar takes a series of photographs combining the aesthetic of Witkacy’s early portraits with that of the modern anthropological documentary. The effect is utterly surprising. Anthropological truth is turned into photographic fiction before our very eyes. The falsification is so convincing that Millar appears to merge with Witkacy.
The beautiful black-and-white portraits à la Witkacy are supplemented with films of ‘exotic’ performances (by Polish standards) by theatrical troupes doing a Witkacy play (specifically The Metaphysics of a Two-headed Calf of 1921). Millar tests Witkacy’s ‘tropics’, setting remote cultural contexts side by side, wedding them, to reinforce the message, to underline the absurdity of the Witkacy drama and the vision of reality behind it.
Millar’s exhibition and its Given is a multifaceted work, on the surface politically correct, yet somewhat ironic in its post-colonialism.

Jeremy Millar - As Witkiewicz

Coordinator: Katarzyna Gutkowska

Grand opening: 9.05.2010, 3:30 p.m.
Ethnographic Museum in Krakow, 46 Krakowska st.
Exhibition dates: 8-31.05.2010; MON-WED, FRI-SAT: 11:00-19:00, THU: 11:00-21:00, SUN: 11:00-15:00