Roland Wirtz | immediatus
Roland Wirtz’s exhibition immediatus (Latin for ‘non-mediated’) is an account of personally and
historically significant locations captured in the last days of their existence. Meditative in tone, the
works shown therein deal with myths about epoch-making and final events, exemplify the ways these
are perpetuated, and discreetly unveil their fundamental historical contexts. Such circumstances have
been framed along situations perceptible or meaningful only from one’s peculiar point of view. The
narrative illustrates how symbolic values sprout and compound identities take shape in places we
eventually come to call monuments.
Capturing a fraction of time, which is an innate feature of photography, makes ground for Roland
Wirtz’s projects. The artist points the lens towards buildings and destruction thereof, at unsung
heroes,silent witnesses of history, and at once contexts of documented scenes. In fact Wirtz employs
too slow a shutter speed to record moving protagonists; characters appear blurred, out of focus,
absent. In effect, the presented works embody seemingly contradictory poetics: those of static picture
and film narration. They become an ostensibly unreal, paused broadcast. Photographic images
contained in the displayed installations have been created using Cibachrome, a now outdated process
that produces a large print being both the negative and a unique piece.
The exhibition held at Bunkier Sztuki will cover five recent monumental installations. Among them
the visitors will find parts of the Kairos series: large format positive photographs of the disused
Berlin Tempelhof Airport, Gdańsk Shipyard structures on the eve of their demolition, or the
non-existent Palace of the Republic in Berlin. Like the Interference series, which shows the view from
the old internal German border named Todesstreifen (‘the death strip’), they depict the so-called sites
of memory, legendary places of utmost importance in Poland’s and Germany’s latest history. Wirtz
preserved their transient nature with sheets of photographic paper measuring seven metres in length:
having set them up inside a truck converted into a double camera, he drove the vehicle exactly to the
former frontier between East and West Berlin. On the occasion of this exhibition the artist set
national history against events of his private life, the latter also woven around the issues of passing
and death. The installation entitled 223 consists of photographs of a nearly century old apple tree
that grew in his grandparents’ garden located in the industrial town of Datteln until it was felled
on February 23rd this year. Containing collected relics as well as moonshine distilled from all the fruit
bore in the ultimate season, 223 pays homage to the photographer’s family and their story, and at the
same time bears witness to economic changes the Ruhr Valley underwent in the years of political
transformation. The artist’s interest in passing and his lasting need to reinterpret the related
processes are further reflected in a piece of work dedicated to the old interior of late modern Bunkier
Sztuki Gallery. Inspired by the iconography and symbolism of the window, Wirtz designed
a multimedia simulation enabling to see the view from the Gallery’s first floor, which once was
an inherent feature of this exhibition space.
Roland Wirtz is a German artist. Born in 1959 in Cologne, he currently lives and works in Berlin.
Exhibition partner: Goethe-Institut Krakau
Exhibition patronage: German Consulate General in Krakow
Media patrons: Art&Business, Fragile – pismo kulturalne, Magenta, Le Monde diplomatique,
Local Life, Off Radio Kraków, O.pl, Radio Kraków, Szum
Project co-financed by the Foundation for Polish-German Cooperation.
You are invited to attend the opening of an accompanying exhibition presented in the
German Consulate General in Krakow, due to begin at 7.30 pm on March 21st.
photos: Studio FILMLOVE