Photographic mise-en-scène (w.handwritten text printed directly on the image, thus maintaining its archival quality). Edition of 5 with 2 Artist's Proofs.
Not for sale
ABOUT THE WORK
Material: Archival Inkjet Print on Hahnemühle Cotton Rag paper,Dimensions of print: 60 x 40cm. Dimensions with framing: 85 x 67cm.
That You Have Someone is a series of photographic mise-en-scènes featuring true stories of Love in times of War, when... Read More
That You Have Someone is a series of photographic mise-en-scènes featuring true stories of Love in times of War, when life was larger than life itself.
The text on this particular image reads:
"Two lovers were parted for the whole war. She was waiting in neutral Sweden. He was hiding in Lithuania. He slept with a woman there. He cared for her gardens. A soldier lost on the Eastern front shot him. For the next 60 years, she remained alone."
That You Have Someone was shown in MCCA Elektrownia, Radom, PL, in 2012, in BWA Zielona Gora, PL, in 2012 and at a solo show at Galerie Walter Keller, Zürich, CH, in 2013.
It was reviewed in Neue Zürcher Zeitung by Daniele Muscionico, Gazeta Wyborcza by Roman Gutek, Paulina Nodzynska, Ewa Orczykowska and Agata Saraczynska, o.pl by the Editor, Format by Agnieszka Gniotek, obieg.pl/artmix by Marta Raczek-Karcz, PhD, MOCAK Forum by Patrycja Dolowy, PhD, Lyle Rexer, PhD for Agnes Janich, Body Memory by Fotohof Edition and Thyrza Nichols Goodeve, PhD for Agnes Janich, Body Memory by Fotohof Edition.
"At first glance the connection between the anecdotes and the images appears fortuitous or even ironic, as if lovemaking is trivial in the face of these terrible situations. But Janich’s point seems to be much more emotionally complex than that. (…) Pleasure has a setting, a background, and for anyone these days this background is full of shadows. At the same time, of course, it is precisely such moments of physical and emotional connection that enable people to survive the most horrendous situations, make choices that involve supreme sacrifices, and consecrate their lives to remembrance and faith. Janich’s greatest strength is that she locates this capacity for love and the vulnerability to violence in the same place: the body. There are no abstractions in her work; everything has to be lived before it can be known and remembered. Only then – with the help of art as part of the process of living – can liberation begin."
"This is the most horrifying - and the most beautiful - love letter."
[“Yes, there was love in the ghetto”, Agnieszka Gniotek, art critic, Format, vol.63]
"It is difficult to ponder on the unquestionable visual pleasure of looking at the works since they, at the same time, make one's stomach hurt.(...) an essay on self-destruction with the common denominator of the body. The past is written info it, a past Janich tries to decode. It's most obvious language is pain, pain making her know that she still feels, making her make good with the world. The artist is not afraid to abuse her bodily flesh to show us haunting secrets of existence normally just whispered upon. Her body becomes an absolute, a sacrifice, an offering. An all-encompassing declaration of: I will do everything, give everything, just to get closeness in return. (...) The artist redefines nudity in its current cultural context. Body Memory is made of a double optics: first, of the limited, physical body, second, of its liveliness, its sensuality, its intimacy, its identity all facing the unrelenting power of history.
[“War and the Body”, Zuzanna Sokolowska, O.pl, Poland's leading culture portal, Nov 14th, 2012]
"Perhaps only art can get us closer to the what and why of the Holocaust."
[“Yes, there was love in the ghetto”, Agnieszka Gniotek, art critic, Format, vol.63]
“Dominic LaCapra writes from the point of view of psychoanalysis: these reflections prove the need for critical work on the topic of memory in the hope of bringing back an imagined past and thus opening up the future. Janich does exactly that. Upon seeing her images, we begin to relate. To feel. (...) We become the characters of the story. In her project, Janich picks up on a topic hardly ever present in Holocaust narration. A topic silenced and swept under the carpet, on which Didi-Huberman, touching on the four images remaining from Birkenau: the most important is not there. The body. (…) Janich's hunger for love seems to come from a need to save one's body and oneself. My body, my love, my desire are what allow me to believe the illusion of normalcy. They become my weapon in a fight forever unequal, forever fatal yet never forlorn. The fight to save myself. (...) Janich's project tells no easy narratives. It is full of stories which shouldn't have taken place but they did. Of stories that we've done so much to silence, layering them with pompous tales of the past. Yet these stories cannot be silenced.”
[“Bodies Despite All, on Agnes Janich's «That You Have Someone», Marta Raczek-Karcz, PhD, obieg.pl/artmix, 2013]
"A taboo-breaking exhibition. Pain, loneliness and difficult relationships, all this as told by the international artist, Agnes Janich, in her films and photographs."
[“Pain, loneliness and eroticism - Agnes Janich in Elektrownia”, The Informationist, J.W., Oct 9th, 2012]
"An important if at times shocking show of Agnes Janich in BWA Zielona Gora. Brave, erotic imagery at times bordering on kitsch."
[“I can be made in 21 soaps”, Paulina Nodzynska, Gazeta Wyborcza, 2.03.2012]
”Agnes Janich is suspicious. Normally someone like her would explain themself. She doesn't. For comparing love to Treblinka she gets pulled to pieces like Sarah Kane. She personalizes the topic to the limits of the bearable. She universalizes. Sometimes she's almost lying for the benefit of the truth.
She found a way: herself. Making soaps out of her young, model-like body. Staging pictures of sex serving as a background for stories of cannibalism and exchanging a life for a life. Her full breasts and childlike face don't make the truth of those moments any better. Love here is useless like a soul in Treblinka.
[“Ganz Andere, an essay on the art of Agnes Janich”, Prof.Joanna Tokarska-Bakir, 2009]
“Pujol suggests, and Janich’s work acts out, how there is no static self but only one wholly susceptible to time (the displacement and deferral of Derrida’s différance), ever in evolution, in a state of becoming. (…) Janich produces the fragmented discourse of the self as a lover’s discourse (Barthes’ book after all is called A Lover’s Discourse: Fragments); of memory, affect, and absent presence. Both war and love explode the boundaries of the self, as Agnes Janich shows. But we are given the chance as viewer’s to begin again in a language of the body. (…) I say to the other (old or new): in War and Love, let us begin again."
[“My Strength is My Vulnerability, an essay on the art of Agnes Janich”, Thyrza Nichols Goodeve, PhD, in:Agnes Janich, Body Memory, Fotohof Edition, ISBN:978-3-902675-80-4]
"Agnes Janich painstakingly researched the archives of Auschwitz,
Mauthausen-Gusen, Majdanek, Bergen Belsen, Ravensbrueck. She read diaries published but once, in the 1950’s Poland. She devoured Hanna Krall’s and Marek Edelman’s novels and met dozens of survivors in constant search of a tactic allowing her not just to archive or chronicle, but to comment on.(…) The body. Yet not an annihilated body. A body that wants and desires. That loves. A body outside the limits of history. (…)
Stories recalled by Agnes Janich tell a war that leaves no place for hope. A mother cannibalizing on her own child just to die a few days later, a woman who will wait sixty years for a lover never to return from the dead, Anka, who remains loyal to her fiancée and thus dies in a concentration camp…All these women are battered by the war and its inhumane rights, yet they win. They win by loving and desiring. (…)
What terrified yesterday’s perpetrators is too much to take by today’s historians. The love and desire the camp guards tried so hard to erase is today being erased from the heroic, martyrological tales of victims.
Janich successfully brings up an otherwise silenced topic. She also brings back the dignity to these bodies - now people, much deserving their place in Holocaust narration."
[“Bodies Despite All, on Agnes Janich's «That You Have Someone»”, Marta Raczek-Karcz, PhD, obieg.pl/artmix, 2013]
“Looking closely, on one of the bodies of the lovers one can see a stigma, a kind of tattoo: a short outline of a love story, written and engraved on the skin in brave student writing. They are collections of confessions which Janich found during her research on the WW2 in diaries of Holocaust survivors.Under the skin of today’s young Europeans - whether of Jewish origin or not - the spirits of that time are still alive. So says the artist, and to make it more convincing she uses her very own body.
There is no doubt that the strategy of seduction implemented by Janich, educated in New York and operating internationally, is as cold-blooded as it is clever. (…)
Conciliatory. Yes, this is it. David Seymour (Chim), who lost his parents in a Nazi death camps, used child war victims in his message of peace. Agnes Janich, from the Facebook generation, uses the eroticism of her own body to bring us to the same conclusion. And perhaps even further. From the feeling of guilt to the state of - harmony?”
[“Humanism reloaded”, Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Feb 19th, 2013, Daniele Muscionico]
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