Krystyna Ziach / Metamorphosis, text by Gabriel Bauret, Camera International, magazine, portfolio, no. 6, 1986, ParisGabriel Bauret is art critic and curator based in Paris, author of several books on photography and former editor of the photography magazine Camera International in Paris.
At present, the debate concerning the more or less occult relationship between photography and painting wages on.What is the aesthetic heritage of photography? How should it be employed? What conceptual tendencies today bring the two forms closer together.The case at hand is unambiguous; the link is clearly at the center of the project and animates every step. In a succession of stages Krystyna Ziach is first a painter, in the literal sense and then a photographer. In her photographs both activities are associated and each is doubtless seen to be autonomous, having its own place in the development of forms. Krystyna Ziach‘s work refers to Yves Klein who was one of the first to paint bodies at the beginning of the Sixties and Duane Michals, who ten years later photographed them in motion.This elaborate intellectual combination of lateral development of the two visual experiences materializes here in the installation of a particular place, as it is referred to in the contemporary art vocabulary. Following this comes the performance, the term used by Krystyna Ziach. Within this framework, essentially corresponding to that of the camera, the artist liberates her plastic energies. This produces an abstract painting, but also a physical one with gestures. The body begins to move, her own body to pain, then in a continuum it becomes the subject of the photograph. The action is in fact minutely thought out and orchestrated as the captions accompanying the photographs indicate. Each performance elaborates upon a particular plastic question translated into a certain form of body abstract expressionism-action painting, calligraphy, collage etc. And the human moves with the painting as a background; it is the center of each image, but is dissimulated. The series is mimetic, like the cameleon, the body being concealed within the painting in front of it is installed. Painting strokes are laid in continuous fashion over the surface of the skin in the same way, or more exactly in the same pictural style, used for the background. When the body moves, the blurred photographic effect of slight movement is distinguishable. There is a sort of holistic optical illusion, non-figurative, out of context, as though the photographer had been playing with techniques for amusement. There also seems to be an echo of the incessant conversations and questions about relation-ship between painting and photography, exhaustedly ending in a question. Translation: J.M. Keulers