artist / participant

press release

Opening: Wednesday, 30.01.2008, 6 p.m.

An exhibition featuring Christian Boltanski’s photographic installation entitled Accident Chronicle opens at Foto-Medium-Art Gallery in Cracow on 30th January at 6 p.m.

Accident Chronicle, which was created in 1973, is a collection of more than a hundred photos cut out from the French magazine Detective. Individual and sometimes group portraits have come from the crime chronicle and show people who were involved in murders, assaults, robberies, rapes, kidnapping and other crimes. The artist unified the criminals and their victims, removing descriptions and information about the people shown from the cutouts.

Accident Chronicle comes from an important phase of Christian Boltanski’s artistic activities; when he was one of first artists to start to undermine the myth of modernist originality by using stereotypical pictures of mass culture – press and promotional photos. Based on photos, which he used only as relics and memories in this case, he created a nostalgic and disturbing world. At the same time he raised the discussion as to whether the real world is properly reflected by its photographic representation, that is, about truth and falsehood. He slipped social and sociological problems into his works. He made the visitor an involved person who cannot differentiate between the murderer and his victim. He deprived the visitor of traditional classification and the means of evaluation. The participant in the aesthetic experience enjoys equal rights with the object and artist, and yet he remains hopeless in the absence of a cultural code, which would define his behavioural pattern.

Accident Chronicle was shown at Foto-Medium-Art Gallery for the first time in April 1979 within the framework of Photo-Medium exhibition, side by side with works by Annette Messager, Alina Szapocznikow, Zdzisław Jurkiewicz, Jerzy Olek and Leszek Szurkowski. The exhibition constituted a reflection about the credibility of a photographic document – one of the most important problems of global photomedialism. Christian Boltanski’s work is currently part of Jerzy Olek’s collection.

Krzysztof Siatka

Christian Boltanski (born in 1944) is a recognized French artist whose scope of interest covers photography, video, sculpture, painting and installation. He speaks about his artistic work with tongue in cheek: I have never taken photos. I only use them. I need photography as the material for connecting cutouts of real elements which they carry themselves. I often select cut-outs from newspapers and magazines. I don’t feel that I’m a photographer, and further to that I don’t consider myself to be in any way connected with photography. Boltanski’s works raise the issues of memory, identity and death. The artist lives and works in Paris.

only in german

Christian Boltanski
Accident Chronicle