Agnes Janich

Review 13

Naked pain in Agnes Janich's performance
What a day
Karolina Sierka
Oct 13th, 2012

On Oct 12th, the MCCA Elektrownia in Radom opened Agnes Janich's solo show, Body Memory. The turning point of the opening was Janich's performance, Annoying Flower.

"It was 2 years ago that we decided to do this project. It is sponsored by the Mazovian Woywodship, for which I am very grateful. Personally, I am eager to live through this 3-part opening. Agnes is 27 and, despite her young age, she attests her art with her life. The exploration of the body and that of War and the Holocaust, of personal importance to Agnes, are powerful and imbued with meaning", said Zbigniew Belowski, the vice-director of MCCA Elektrownia.

"There is no art without the audience, so I am grateful for your presence. This exhibition sums up 10 years of my work. I dedicate it to my friends and loved ones who asserted my courage to be myself", said Agnes Janich.

Body Memory is an exhibition presenting 3 of her film and photo projects: Firstly, I Hate My Body When You're Gone, a series of films and pictures on self-destruction, fear of loneliness and the perverse fulfillment coming drawn from self-hurt. Secondly, Is a Whole More Than a Sum of Parts, an exploration of wounds inflicted by Other's quotes on oneself. Lastly, That You Have Someone, erotic imagery combined with texts on Love in times of War.

The most powerful moment of the event was Agnes Janich's performance. It comprised of quotes of people close to her painstakingly written by the artist all over her body. The good parts where red, the bad ones black. The artist talked and wrote in English while her assistant inscribed the Polish translation on the wall. The performance spoke volumes on self-presentation, accepting one's body and was, to some degree, an intimate portrait of an extrovert seeking for acceptance.

"I noticed several excited men, more attracted to Janich's body than her art. One must admit that she is a pretty, even beautiful woman. Yet it seems to me that she says something far more important. That she lays herself emotionally bare before us, here and now. Her performance is a scowling for acceptance, for understanding, a prayer to finally shed the loneliness in her life. I'm not sure if people in Radom are mentally and culturally ready for such a performance.", said Katarzyna, a student from Radom present at the opening.

"I was deeply touched by Janich's films. In one of them, she seems to deny acceptance to her body by literally tearing out her breasts. In another, she wounds her feet, in yet another, she induces vomiting, in the kisses the mirror with affection. She is naked in all of them. Literally and metaphorically. She speaks about profound things - the pain of existence and an overwhelming mix of feelings difficult even to grasp. Most of us can identify. Many of us want to see her naked. What does it mean? I'm not sure yet. I have to take it in. Yet I'm certain the show made me ponder, analyze, think deeper. And that is what art is all about.", comments Beata from Radom.

Agnes Janich was born in 1985 in Lodz and lives and works in Warsaw and New York. She graduated from Photography in the School of Visual Arts. She deals with body memory and the memory of history and works in installations, film, photographs, sculptures, performances and public art. She took part in many solo and group exhibitions in the US, Italy, Austria, Spain and Switzerland. She has shown the 9th Sharjah Biennial, Zacheta, National Gallery of Art, Kunsthalle Exnergasse in Vienna, MLAC in Rome and the Auschwitz Jewish Center, an affiliate of the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York and MOCAK, Krakow. Next year, she will present her works the CCA Laznia, Gdansk and Garage CCC, Moscow. Agnes Janich is represented by Charim Galerie, Vienna and Keller Kunst, Zurich.

© 2003 - 2018 Agnes Janich