Wojciech Puś | Cinema

Wojciech Puś: The light is crucial. Photography and film are both founded on light.

Anna Lebensztejn: And more specifically?

WP: It is the basic substance I work with. A material I transform myself – or a matter that I wait for to enter the desired dimension: aesthetic and semantic, symbolic – in order to shape the mood and the meaning of a picture: cinematic, theatrical, image created by an installation… every kind of picture.

WP: The magic hour is cameramen’s fixation. It is the time between sunset and the end of dusk, when the warm light produces picturesque photographic effects.

AL: And you got obsessed with it too?

WP: I pursue these effects, changes you can observe then, colours this light paints on the sky.

AL: Is it possible to reproduce such light?

WP: Yes, but in a slightly different way, more illusively, stimulating the imagination. We will use light caught in droplets: a neon saturated with the tone of imaginary light at dusk.

AL: Do we enter a film through your installation?

WP: We find ourselves in an alternate reality. We experience a specific, deep mood of awe, sensuality, melancholy and suspense. We get carried away by the cinematographic effect.

The moving picture makes an appealing creative medium for visual artists. It becomes a source of inspiration, and citations processed in paintings or photographs. It gives particularly interesting possibilities to video artists: as found footage it allows to impersonate a character (Polish examples of such include works by Anna Baumgart from the Real? series, where she incorporated excerpts from The Cranes are Flying and Teddy Bear), to achieve desired effects (such as the sensation of falling evoked in Hitchcock-inspired work by Łukasz Jastrubczak, or the frenetic dance from The Wedding by Andrzej Wajda, played back at an increased rate in Rave by Karolina Kowalska) or even to compose a distinct, stand-alone narration (A Game with Shifting Mirrors series).

But Cinema by Wojciech Puś covers other aspects of film or cinematography. The artist, who often relates to strictly cinematic issues, effects achieved by the moving picture, focusses here on the medium itself and its features, not necessarily relevant to the plot. Telling a certain story is not his purpose; he rather aims to create a specific atmosphere in which the viewer immerses himself.

Cinema becomes an artistic analysis of individual elements of a film, where the cinematic picture turns out to be one among several components of a wider problem. In the film projection, instead of concentrating on the plot, Wojciech Puś draws our attention to the representation itself: its creation, light and colour effects, motion freezing. The recorded visual part is complemented by light – which he deems to be a crucial constituent of video and photography – of tone and intensity typical for the so-called magic hour, produced using the artistic medium of neon. The neon itself emphasises the essence of the film; it is a specific freeze-frame: a spiral of splashed drops of water. The artist completed this setting with music varying from peaceful to disturbing, which affects impressions made by the moving image. These individual elements create an atmosphere shifting from mysteriousness and anxiety to sorrow and calm. Installation-induced sensations extend beyond the visual, act on the subconscious and give the illusion of an alternate reality.

Wojciech Puś

Born in 1978. Artist. Graduated from Cinematography and Television Production Department of Łódź Film School, PhD in film art. Works with light and film. Creates spatial installations using moving image, specific lighting solutions, and sound (often recorded on vinyl). Has exhibited in Muzeum Sztuki (MS1 and MS2) and Exchange Gallery in Łódź, Leto Gallery in Warsaw, Entropia Gallery in Wrocław, Stefania Piga Vaselli Gallery in Rome and Signum Foundation Palazzo Donà in Venice (in concert with Angelika Markul). His works belong to Polish, German and Italian private collections. Paparazzi (2013), commissioned by Louis Vuitton, is held by the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw. His films, Instant (2008) and Given (2011), belong to Filmoteka of the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw. He works with Leto Gallery.

The purchasing of works for the Bunkier Collection is carried out as part of the project There Will Be Artction! Enhancement of the Bunkier Sztuki Collection, part-financed from the funds of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage.

Collection Curator: Anna Lebensztejn