Cops and Robbers #3
C-print; edition 3/5 + 1 AP
38 × 25.5 cm
Inv. No. 0197
The source material the Polish artist Agnieszka Polska uses for her videos and photo collages consists of found photographs and other images deriving from scientific and art magazines from the 1950s to the 1970s. Through the manipulation and recontextualization of such historically charged images, Polska brings to mind that memory and the things we recall change over time, so that history is constantly reconstructed and (re)interpreted.
The three C-prints owned by the evn collection also have to be understood in this sense. They are based on a kind of manual for the Polish police from 1956, from which Agnieszka Polska has extracted nine motifs. The photographs shown in the booklet were meant to demonstrate certain grips and body positions policemen should use in the arrest of criminals or in order to defend themselves. Through the artist’s technical manipulation of the instructions, only one figure per image remains. The missing opponent leaves the other person behind in bizarre poses, thus provoking associations with extreme dance moves or performances. The pictures’ origins awaken reminiscences of the Cold War, with our knowledge of that era thwarting the absurd and comical movements.
As she does in other projects, such as Gardener’s Responsibility from 2011, the artist attempts to reinterpret the present by means of references to historical events and narratives. She exposes the mechanism of past memories as subjective thoughts and collages of interpretation and meaning, thereby making clear that historiography never proceeds according to “truthful”, objective criteria.
Georg Kargl, 2011 (translation: Wolfgang Astelbauer)Continue reading
evn collection / institutional presentation, Viennafair, Vienna, 2011