The Aftermath of Trauma
The Polish artist Agnes Janich created an overwhelming parcours with her film installation Man To Man. We wonder through a dark labryinth, surrounded by gnarling, barking dogs behind bars and the screams of their caretakers. The artist, born in 1985 in Lodz, provokes anxiety through more than just sound. While lost in her labyrinth, we confront dogs face to face.
The underlying meaning of Man To Man presents itself in relation to two other works, which co-create the content of the show. First, a shelf with bars of soap engraved with names and professions. They could come from the fat of Jews slaughtered by the Nazis. Photographs from the Memorial and Museum of Auschwitz-Birkenau [ and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum ], which Janich put in the last room of the gallery, confirm this connection.
Once we consider all the works, the anguish provoked by the barred dogs gradually turns into commiseration. They could be prisoners facing us.
Fear turning into empathy and dismay - these are the feelings which Agnes Janich provokes without moralizing about looking and overcoming the past.