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Aneta Grzeszykowska’s series of black and white photographs, Negative Book, decon­structs positive photography and as such forms a con­tinuation of the artist’s reflec­tions on the charac­ter of the photographic medium and its various trans­for­mations. The star­ting point here was traditional photography registering per­sonal situations or scenes deliberately posed for the camera. In opposition to the ear­lier Album (2005) – com­posed of clas­sic photographs from the family col­lec­tion from which the artist had deleted her own image – in Negative Book the artist is visible on each photograph, while the whole series was created using two new photographic tech­niques. The first is the exposition of the body totally or par­tially pain­ted black (with all shadows marked in white), which creates a reverse effect on the negative: the body takes on a bright color. This effect is par­ticularly striking when the artist’s body is located on the photographs in the vicinity of other figures, whose color of skin remains in a negative black. The second tech­nique is the use of photographs in negative ver­sions. Such a manipulation (both of the medium and of the viewer) seems to under­mine the trust we have in the images we receive through the means of positive photography as a convin­cing reflec­tion of reality. But it is not the analysis of the medium that is the dominant question here. Negative Book con­nects with the artist’s previous works through a con­cen­tration on the exhibition of one’s own body and its per­fomatuivity, meaning that what we end up with is a sort of intimate diary. It is just that the negative charac­ter of the photographs and the positive procedure used on the body make it less real, depriving us of the possibility of a visual iden­tification and strip­ping it of its emotional layers, leading to a situation where individuality and iden­tity become relative. The result is that per­sonal situations are reborn in an ontologically cold and severe game of black and white. This creates a distance, per­haps it even inspires something close to fear. (text: Maria Brewińska)



Negative Book #15


Negative Book #26


Negative Book #35


Negative Book #37


Negative Book #55


Negative Book #57


Negative Book #65


Negative Book #77

Aneta Grzeszykowska
Negative Book

2012/2013
series of 84 photographs, pigment ink on cotton paper, 38 x 50 cm each (framed 46 x 58 cm), ed. of 7 + 2 A.P.