book presentation (PL)

Sacred Defense, Wawrzyniec Kolbusz

9.06 (Saturday), 14.00
Festival Centre

Meeting participants: Wawrzyniec Kolbusz, Wojciech Wilczyk


Modelling the collective memory of war has always been a favourite tool of the politics of memory. This applies both to remembering past events and the interpretation of current affairs, such as conflicts, alliances, political likes and dislikes. To what extent can societies be manipulated? What tools do governments and the media use to this end? To complete his Sacred Defense project, the photographer Wawrzyniec Kolbusz travelled to Iran, where the memory of the one million victims of the 1980–1988 Iraq-Iran War is still fresh. By photographing a cinema city full of arranged landscapes built specifically to shoot war movies, or museums and other places with perfectly reconstructed war scenes, which blur the line between the real and the unreal, Kolbusz poses an important question: to what extent is the memory of tragic events transformed for propaganda purposes? However, the artist does not stop at that. He sets satellite images of Iran’s nuclear complexes with the same imagery in which he digitally ‘simulates’ damage caused by a hypothetical Western strike, drawing our attention to our uncritical acceptance of media communications and our susceptibility to being manipulated by the politics of memory.

Wawrzyniec Kolbusz

In his works, he engages with simulation applied to the phenomenon of how the imagery itself tantalizes the viewer. His artistic interest revolves around the social and political behavior, approached from the conceptual angle. He uses the aesthetics of minimalistic visual language. His works are marked by ambiguity and the relationship between medium and politics. Graduate of Akademia Fotografii; involved in cultural anthropology and African art studies. Received Paul Hill Format (2015) and Kolga Tibilisi (2015) awards for the best conceptual project. Finalist of Emergentes dst (2014), Ei Award (2015) and Hyeres festival (2015). Participated in Circulation(s) 2015. His works have been presented on solo and group exhibitions in France, Poland, Germany, UK, Austria, Ireland, Portugal and USA among others.

Wojciech Wilczyk (b. 1961) – photographer, poet, author of essays and critical texts about art, curator, and lecturer at the Academy of Photography in Cracow. His series of documentary photographs include Black and White Silesia (1999–2003), Kalwaria (1995–2004), Life after Life (2004–2006), Postindustrial (2003–2007), There Is No Such Thing as an Innocent Eye (2006–2008), The Holy War (2009–2014), and Other City (jointly with Elżbieta Janicka, 2011–2012). He has been nominated twice for the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize. Finalist in the competition Photographic Publication of the Year 2009 (for his album There Is No Such Thing as an Innocent Eye) and winner of the Photo Book of the Year 2014 award in the Grand Press Photo 2015 competition (for The Holy War album). Since 2009, he has been running a blog, In collaboration with Grzegorz Wróblewski, he has produced the intermedia project Blue Pueblo (2013–2014), which combines text and photographs and has been released as an artbook with a print run of 350 numbered and signed copies.