Agnes Janich

Review 1

Bringing Light into the Night,
Melanie Kollbrunner, Landbote ( Swiss daily )
5/19/08

The garden of the gallery Wyschür Weiertal was full of candlelight. The Polish artist Agnes Janich has invited her audience to an interactive performance.
A small young woman dressed all in black, with a turban on her head, reads quietly. She is visibly moved.

Agnes Janich is only 22 years old and a citizen of the world. Born in Poland, raised in Africa and in the Far East, she now lives in New York.

Today I write down the names of my loved ones, she says and lights a candle. She attaches a paper with the names of her beloved and lets it float on the pond of the gallery garden. She invites the audience to do the same and soon numerous little lights shine in the night.

This performance, Lightning the Night, invites the audience through candles and personal secrets to think of the fragility of human life and the night that enveloped Europe sixty [ in fact seventy ] years ago. It shall move people imagining their loved ones killed in the Second World War. Or any war. (...) It concerns me, us all, personally, says Agnes Janich and explains why the experience of violence is a central theme in her work.

She feels rooted in Europe, perhaps she will live in Switzerland . Here she appreciates political neutrality. I don't want to live in a country where the government supports war any longer, she says. Reconsidering violence is crucial for this photo- and installation-artist.

Agnes Janich already performed this light event in New York and she will bring it to Barcelona too. The question if the awareness of a historic event of such a dimension can be raised by a performance like this comes up.

What is certain is that she and the curator Maja von Meiss were able to create an incomparable moment and a space for true human contact.

The frame of the event was the visually stimulating art show of works by Urs Amann, Peter Del Fabro and Urs M Traber, open until 23rd of May.

Agnes Janich currently lives and works in New York.

© 2003 - 2018 Agnes Janich