Wojciech Puś | Not a Movie at All

The presentation of the exhibition Not a Movie at All by Wojciech Puś has been inspired by the concept of Expanded Cinema, significant both for visual arts and cinema. This term was proposed in the mid-1960s by Stan Vanderbeek and developed over the following decade; however, its roots go back to the first decades of the 20th century and avant-garde experiments in film production, media technology and performative art. Expanded Cinema comprised film and video art activities that involve the viewer, transforming the historical and cultural structure of the traditional reception of cinema image into a non-homogenous film experience, performative and fluid in character. Artists working within the framework of Expanded Cinema, who were against the idea of viewers getting to know works in a passive manner, attempted to transform the connection between the screen and the audience into a more active relationship. They achieved this by exposing the mechanisms of the cinema or by stimulating reflection on the film image and the viewer, as well as its place and role in the relationship. Many actions related to this trend were one-offs or ephemeral, focusing on the creation of specific impressions on the viewers’ imagination for the duration of the event.

The exhibition of Wojciech Puś, employing methods used as part of the movement Expanded Cinema, aims to broaden the sphere of experiencing art. Its key aspect is introducing the viewer to the experimental cinema space, created at Bunkier Sztuki, which affects our different senses. The installations created by the artist for the exhibition function in the environment of Bunkier Sztuki as a complex, multi-sensory arrangement combining video films with music, light effects, the play of shadows and the very structure of the Gallery. The premise underlying the artistic interventions undertaken in the space of the exhibition is to place the viewer in a situation of active reception (as was the case with Expanded Cinema).

We find ourselves in a structure subjected to transformations by artistic means and stage setting devices; we are transported into a different reality. We can neither cut ourselves off from what surrounds us nor concentrate exclusively on observation – the light, visual and sound effects used transport us into an unreal, fluid, ‘cinema-like’ sphere. Wandering through successive rooms of the Gallery, we create our own narrative, inspired by the traces left by the artist. These refer both to motifs familiar from cinematography and to contemporary art (including the classical conceptual artist Bruce Nauman and his series of corridors, Andrzej Pawłowski’s Cineforms or Stefan and Franciszka Themerson’s ‘mobile photograms’). The artist has become a director; along the trail of our journey through the Gallery he places successive puzzles and creates para-narrative situations, difficult to interpret unequivocally.

The artist clears the space of figurative images. He creates space for the imagination to act, demonstrating how, with the use of subtle, simple means it is possible quite spectacularly to transform reality. The final part of the exhibition poses the question that has been asked since antiquity about the essence of art and the links between the concept and idea with matter – the question is being asked by video images that deal with the issues of time, movement and the role of light in film.

Not a Movie at All is a reflection of each of us in the mirror of our own observations, imagination or expectations. The plot that develops in the exhibition keeps changing with each viewer; it is based on different, individual experiences. How will you complete the story?

Wojciech Puś

Born 1978, lives and works in Łόdź.

He works with light and film. His light installations, interactive objects, films and video works provide an idiosyncratic take on the concept of cinema and refer to phenomena that originate in nature. The artist’s objects and installation works affect the surrounding space and put the viewer in the position of a participant in abstract, potentially narrative situations that are borderline reality and cinema reality. This is achieved through a specific use of light – in: Ogród [Garden] 2006 (Muzeum Sztuki in Łόdź, Leto Gallery), Paparazzi 2009/2013 (Entropia Gallery, Leto Gallery, Louis Vuitton at Warsaw Department Store), Cinema 2013 (Bunkier Sztuki in Krakow); of colour – in: Praia da Luz 2011 (Leto Gallery) and of sound – in FC13 2013 (Muzeum Sztuki MS2 in Łόdź ). The films INSTANT (2008) and Given (2011) (from the collection of the Filmoteka at the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw) blur the boundaries between the recording of intimate events and a contrived narrative based on media facts (the disappearance of Madeleine McCann in Given). The artist’s latest works (Dym [Smoke] 2012, Cinema 2013, Magic Hour 2013) are analytical realisations that examine the concept of time, movement and light in the cinematic image. They confront a documentary manner of recording reality with the use of the state-of-the-art technologies, thanks to which the boundary between a documentary and realistic cinema becomes fluid.

Wojciech Puś is a graduate of and lecturer in the Department of Photography & Television Production of the National Higher School of Film, Television and Theatre in Łόdź. His works can be found in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw (Paparazzi 2013, Magic Hour 2013) and in Bunkier Sztuki in Krakow (Cinema 2013) as well as private collections in Poland, Germany and Italy.