• WHO WAS 1968?
    28 Sept 2018 − 13 Jan 2019

    LENTOS Kunstmuseum WHO WAS 1968? Art, Architecture, Society Curated by: Hedwig Saxenhuber, Georg Schöllhammer Loans by Kontakt from: Heimrad Bäcker, Stanisław Dróżdż, VALIE EXPORT, Stano Filko, Běla Kolářová, Július Koller, Natalia LL, Karel Miler, Petr Štembera, Raša Todosijević and Goran Trbuljak A decade of eruptions, departures and redefinitions in the steel city Linz. The year I968 marks a turning point that ushered in a new era. Across Western Europe and in the United States Student protests and workers’ revolts called into question the post-war power structure itself, while Soviet tanks bulldozed the Prague Spring into the ground and signalled the end of the hope that the Eastern Bloc would open up to the West. This exhibition harks back to the echoes of I968 in Linz and Upper Austria. Embracing the arts, architecture, music, film and literature, it unfolds for the first time a synoptic map on which key figures and moments of local history – some largely unknown to this day – are accorded a place. It enables visitors to embark on exploratory trips and to survey the rich fabric of relationships and linkages that includes points of contact with international scenarios and trends. Experiments in the aesthetic field were begun with a view to escaping from the cultural stuffiness of the first two post-war decades. The participating artists include: Claudia von Alemann, Ant Farm, Heimrad Bäcker, Josef Bauer, Bill Bollinger, Dietmar Brehm, Gerd Conradt, Waltraut Cooper, Stanisław Dróżdż, Erró, VALIE EXPORT, Harun Farocki, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Stano Filko, Helmuth Gsöllpointner, Timo Huber, Johann Jascha, Martha Jungwirth, Gülsün Karamustafa, Gerhard Knogler, Běla Kolářová, Juliús Koller, Peter Kubelka, Zofia Kulik, KwieKulik, Maria Lassnig, Fritz Lichtenauer, Natalia LL, Karel Miler, Josef Nöbauer, OHO, Yoko Ono, Gina Pane, Friederike Pezold, Cora Pongracz, Chris Reinecke, Martha Rosler, Dieter Roth, Zorka Sàglovà, Dominik Steiger, Petr Štembera, Raša Todosijević, Goran Trbuljak, Tucumàn Arde, Jiřì Valoch, Agnés Varda, Peter Weibel, Hannah Wilke, Jana Želibská, Želimir Žilnik, Zünd-Up


Zbigniew Libera

Zbigniew Libera’s early work simultaneously investigated the distinction of existence and the distinction of art. Both of these were defined by cultural, religious, and aesthetical determinisms or the lack thereof. The artist’s radical “heresy” of the 1980s was quite a unique marriage of the spiritual and the critical. It oscillated between Kultura Zrzuty [Chip-In Culture], “embarrassing art,” gnosis and punk. Kultura Zrzuty was a Łódź-based artistic and anarchistic formation active mostly between 1981–1987; it was tied to the group Łódź Kaliska and maintained a close relationship with the Workshop of the Film Form. Chip-In Culture utilized the famous gallery-venue Strych in Łódź, where Libera began his artistic career with his first solo show in 1982. That same year, he was imprisoned for his involvement in Solidarity and the illegal printing of flyers during martial law. Following a year of imprisonment, he went to Zakopane to convalesce from an illness, and there he discovered the existence of the video recorder and the VHS format. Around that time, he also “inherited” American NTSC equipment due to the death of a relative in USA: he asked his family to buy him equipment rather than send money, and thus became one of the first Polish artists to use a video camera. Libera began experimenting with this new tool, testing the medium’s formal possibilities with reference to the Workshop of the Film Form (since he was familiar with work of Paweł Kwiek and Józef Robakowski). He combined this initial experimentation with his investigations on human beings’ existence, failure, annihilation of the subject, “Sein-zum-Tode” [“being-to-death”], and his own transitional experiences. Libera’s first videos ended up being his most famous: “Intimate Rites” (1984) and “Mystical perseveration” (1984) with his grandmother Regina, as well as “How to train little girls” (1987), which resulted from one of his family’s meetings. The “cemetery series” of short films (“Me Aluś…”, “Spark II” and “Kakos Daimon” / “Bad God”), shot in cemeteries in his hometown of Pabianice between 1988 and 1990, was the direct continuation of his existential and eschatological-gnostic interests; the filming work for these included shoots at a Catholic cemetery where members of his own family were buried. In the 1980s, Libera collaborated closely with Jerzy Truszkowski (including on their newly founded punk band “Sternenhoch”) and began a life-long artistic collaboration and friendship with Zofia Kulik and Przemysław Kwiek, at whose house in Dąbrowa he lived from 1988 to 1990. At that time, Libera acted as a model for Kulik’s famous photographic collages, which possibly framed his search for subjectivity during the 1980s-decade that concluded with his year-long trip to Africa.


1959, Pabianice / PL

Zbigniew Libera studied at the Artistic Education Faculty of the Nicholas Copernicus University in Torun (Poland) from 1978 to 1980. After giving up his studies, he actively collaborated with the Independent Students’ Union of Lodz (Poland). From 1980 to 1986 Libera was associated with the circle of the Strych gallery (Poland) and member of the Kultura Zrzuty group. For printing underground press he was imprisoned from 1982 to 1983. Furthermore Libera was co-founder and member of the punk group Sternenhoch from 1986 to 1989.


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