Untitled (Hommage À Gawron), Z. Libera, photo series
Libera lays down on the sidewalk next to a dead cat. He curls up, mimicking the position in which the animal’s body froze.
The first impression of this black and white photo can be taking it as a dadaist jest or a nihilist stunt.
Especially that in the picture we see Libera as a young man, from the Pitch-in Culture milieu period. With a tousled crew cut (still not bald), in jean shirt and faux Ray-Bans, he has the rakish look of a New Wave band bass player, whom he used to be at the time, occasionally.
However, his face is serious, even reflexive. He has a defensive, embryonic pose expressing vulnerability.
Hommage is a tribute, an expression of recognition – one that is usually dedicated to the dead.
The artist meditates on the elusive life and the fragile bodily form of the animal. He brings it out of the negligible. Through a gesture of imitation, for a while, he levels the status of man and animal. He brings to attention the animalistic, corporeal and mortal qualities of humans as well, and of himself.
This interpretation gains gravity when we learn about Libera’s adolescent suicide attempt, about his episodes of identity crises and self-destructive acts of destroying artistic works. Furthermore, the themes of suicide, bodily practices, illnes and death are present in his other works as well.
Warszawa Pańska 3, Poland
- Szenajch, Piotr