Broomberg & Chanarin RUDIMENTS
September 3, 2015
Curatorial tour with Kaja Pawełek around the exhibition Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin RUDIMENTS
Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin are fascinated by power, its tools and mechanisms. Their artistic practice frequently leads them to directly engage with existing power relations within the production and use of images. For example, as embedded journalists in the British military campaign in Afghanistan ("The Day Nobody Died"), they turned the focus away from the events of war themselves toward the instrumental role of photographers on the front line and hence the very rituals and protocols of documenting these events. During a quasi-anthropological excursion to Gabon, the artists equally rejected the official task as much as conventional standards of documentary photography and instead used historical film stock from the 1970s, infamous for its lacking ability to render black bodies – ultimately returning with nothing but a single image ("To Photograph the Details of a Dark Horse in Low Light").
The artists are questioning not only the task of the photographer, but also the medium itself and its role as a political instrument. The camera is never neutral and innocent; rather, its physical and material characteristics often reveal its more underlying ideological functions. While "To Photograph the Details of a Dark Horse in Low Light" and "The Polaroid Workers Revolutionary Movement" dealt with the relation between photographic technology and racial politics (and, especially, the role of the Kodak and Polaroid companies), "Shtik Fleisch Mit Tzvei Eigen" explores the effects of the implementation of new technologies in the context of state surveillance systems. Time and again, the artists reverse the documentary tradition, putting at the very centre not the final product and its emotional impact, but instead exposing the multi-layered process and the complex politics of making images.
Film "Rudiments" was co-commissioned by Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle and Forma Arts and supported by Arts Council England
Exhibition's Partner: British Council
CCA Partner: REGENT Warsaw Hotel
CCA’s media patronage: Gazeta Wyborcza, Wyborcza.pl Warszawa, Gazeta Co Jest Grane, TOK FM, ELLE, Elle Decoration, Esquire Polska, Aktivist, artinfo.pl, Stolica