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The photographic documentation of Andrzej Rożycki's work is a collection consisting of 56 black-and-white negatives made at the opening of the last exhibition of the ZERO-61 group in May 1969 in Toruń at 32 Podmurna Street. The exposition, because of the location – the old building once housed a blacksmith's workshop – was called The Forge. It was held as part of a nationwide symposium on the mutual influences of the visual arts and other fields of fine arts on artistic photography (10–11 May), thus its opening was attended by almost all members of the contemporary society associated with photography in Poland. The authors of the exhibition assumed it as a homogeneous and annexed space, confronting the damaged and severe architecture of the building with created, curious in form, artistic objects/items, pieces from the site, and disorderly arranged photographs on the floor, on the walls, doors or ceilings. The particular works of art were composed so as to blur the line between the photo, the thing, and the surroundings. As a consequence, the whole exposition established one spatial form acting as a place for connecting the artistic space and the reality. [P. Lisowski]

The photographic documentation of Andrzej Rożycki's work is a collection consisting of 56 black-and-white negatives made at the opening of the last exhibition of the ZERO-61 group in May 1969 in Toruń at 32 Podmurna Street. The exposition, because of the location – the old building once housed a blacksmith's workshop – was called The Forge. It was held as part of a nationwide symposium on the mutual influences of the visual arts and other fields of fine arts on artistic photography (10–11 May), thus its opening was attended by almost all members of the contemporary society associated with photography in Poland. The authors of the exhibition assumed it as a homogeneous and annexed space, confronting the damaged and severe architecture of the building with created, curious in form, artistic objects/items, pieces from the site, and disorderly arranged photographs on the floor, on the walls, doors or ceilings. The particular works of art were composed so as to blur the line between the photo, the thing, and the surroundings. As a consequence, the whole exposition established one spatial form acting as a place for connecting the artistic space and the reality.
The Forge, by its nature and context, has undertaken some sort of game with the convention of exposition construction, that allows us to treat it in terms of artistic expression, which as a consequence become an attempt to reinterpret or challenge the traditional model/concept of the exhibition. The game was played both with the audience and with the object of art undergoing dematerialization. The photography was juxtaposed with a number of various objects, as well as the very architecture of the building, it was treated as a specific spatial object, and in some cases it was simply replaced by objects. This juxtaposition was accompanied by the acts of destruction of works in front of the viewers. These activities, prompted by the desire to blur the boundaries between art and reality, resulted from perceiving photography as a material trace of reality. It was replaced with the objects and by the somewhat conceptual gesture. Simultaneously, there was moving beyond the gallery (institutional) space in search for the alternative impulses aimed not at the presentation but at the reception.
Throughout the history of the ZERO-61 group we encounter two tendencies. On the one hand, the artists were engaged in a highly “metaphorical” photography considered by the critique as belonging to the trend of subjective photography. But, on the other hand, from the very beginning, there were tendencies within their workshop to experiment and look for alternative ways of photography presentation, and also the unique, ludic nature of the functioning of the group was noticeable. Perceiving the creativity of ZERO-61 from the latter perspective allows the audience to look at their actions for the consistent development process, that in effect brought an experimental attempt to create – arrange – the “mental space”, which The Forge was. For the artists, who had already been active between Toruń and Łódź, the exhibition in the forge was a key moment, and an endeavour to break the deadlock ended with the natural process of the group’s disintegration.
Andrzej Rożycki, being one of the most important members of the ZERO-61 group, in his works from this period demonstrates great consistency, constructing his photographs mainly on the basis of metaphor. The artist subordinates the image – the photographed reality – to his own vision, although not necessarily through a formal procedure associated with the work on the negative. The selection of things, objects or scenes for the shot, items which sometimes might seem simple, in the picture acquires a specific, strongly emotional, intimate and personal status. By referring to the symbolism and the cultural connotations deeply embedded in the “Polish mythology”, he creates very poetic works, but which are also close to surrealism. During the exhibition at the forge he presented, among others, works which are part of the CoCA collection (The Reportage, The Interrogation, and The Rock). [P. Lisowski]

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