Agnes Janich

Ganz Andere - an essay on Janich's War works, Prof.Joanna Tokarska-Bakir

Ganz Andere
Prof. Joanna Tokarska-Bakir


When wondering how should I explain Agnes Janich's photographs to a blind man, I get to the conclusion that I would try the following. A topic we're all choosing to be blinded to? Annihilation. A topic used up before it even surfaced. A closed topic. An unspoken one. Impossible to handle by the living. The dead, they know. Something foreseen by the blind Heraclitus when he said in a sentence only slightly different from this one that only the dead really live together, for each of the living is walking in his own dream.

There's a taboo of death in every culture, but in places like Treblinka there are other taboos. Death was, after all, an other thing there. This is why people who've been there try so hard to be with the living. Someone who does not avoid them must be plain insane, and suspicious to say the least.

Agnes Janich is suspicious. Normally someone like her would explain oneself. 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 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 these moments any better. Love here is useless like a soul in Treblinka.

Choose the image with which you can identify.
Be surprised you're not in her place.
Maybe your soul will forgive you.

© 2003 - 2018 Agnes Janich