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- Author Łukasz Jastrubczak
- Date of production 2012
- Duration 47’
- Author's designation none
- ID no. BS/974
- Availability in stock
- Acquired date 2012
- Object copyright Bunkier Sztuki Gallery of Contemporary Art
- Digital images copyright © all rights reserved, Bunkier Sztuki Gallery of Contemporary Art
- Digitalisation Bunkier Sztuki Gallery of Contemporary Art
Łukasz Jastrubczak’s Need for Speed is the artist’s journey following the trail of forms and symbols that transformed the natural landscape into the subject of reflection and culture. Already, the first frames of the film evoke recognizable themes of cinematography and art history, arranging them into a mysterious sequence. The filming scene begins with the image of a blue mountain, which, in the artistic interpretations of a number of artists – including the most famous version by Jan Domela from the 1950s – became a characteristic logo of Paramount Pictures, ceremonially announcing many of the classic Hollywood movie titles.more
Łukasz Jastrubczak’s Need for Speed is the artist’s journey following the trail of forms and symbols that transformed the natural landscape into the subject of reflection and culture. Already, the first frames of the film evoke recognizable themes of cinematography and art history, arranging them into a mysterious sequence. The filming scene begins with the image of a blue mountain, which, in the artistic interpretations of a number of artists – including the most famous version by Jan Domela from the 1950s – became a characteristic logo of Paramount Pictures, ceremonially announcing many of the classic Hollywood movie titles. It was also present in the opening credits of Vertigo, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, whose reconstructed frames are seen in the next scene of Jastrubczak’s film. Taken from the thrilling scenery of San Francisco and its surroundings, whose views appear one after another, it was devoid of the original characters: a former policeman suffering from height anxiety named Scottie and Madeleine being tracked by him, who mysteriously attempts to commit suicide. Furthermore, the next part of Need for Speed clearly refers to film strategies. The artist, traversing the United States in search of the mountain peak from the Paramount opening credits, introduces the viewer to the conventions of the road movie. The moving landscape is seen from the perspective of a person sitting in the front seat of a car, and the attention paid to it is not disturbed by events that could lead to a plot twist. The image, limited to the wobbling view of the camera, with its verismo approach, refers to the aesthetics of Dogma 95, a trend in the cinema whose assumption is to liberate film from unnecessary formal conventions. Its creators sought to bring the film action closer to reality, propagating the adaptation of the film to natural scenery and real events; they resigned from elements such as scenography, props, artificial lighting, or even the use of a tripod that ensures stability of the shot during filming.
Focused on the route and passing ascetic landscape, Jastrubczak’s journey becomes pure fantasy: a pursuit of the point of perspective convergence, situated on the road horizon. It is where, according to the discoveries of Renaissance artists and theoreticians, the lines running from an eye to objects, depicted in a picture, should meet. The groundbreaking discovery in the field of art has made it possible to conceptualize fleeting visual impressions. As Erwin Panofsky wrote: “thanks to it, art was promoted to the rank of science (and for the Renaissance it was a promotion). The subjective visual impression has been so much rationalized that it could have created the basis for building a solidly grounded and yet quite modern understanding of the «infinite» world of experience [...]. The result was the transformation of the psychophysical space into the space achieved mathematically, in other words, the objectivization of the subjective.” Referring to the perspective both in its linear and air version (used to achieve the painterly effect of distance by lightening of tones and adding blue colour as they approached the horizon), Jastrubczak consequently follows the theoretical symbol. He uses objectivizing measures to show the utopia of the rationalization of that what is empirical to that what is inherent to them.
The pursuit of the unattainable image of the film mountain leads Jastrubczak to the Great Salt Lake in the American state of Utah, where the triangular perspective of the road dissolves in the hazy surface of the waterfront. The artist does not get anywhere else but to the next emblem: to the landart installation, Spiral Jetty, by Robert Smithson. A bizarre dam, which, with its predatory geometric shape, cuts into the water of the lake, leads back to the image of the spiral stuck in the imagination of the character of Vertigo. It returns cyclically in the visual form of a vortex trajectory of falling from a height, a curl of hair belonging to the woman being chased, and, in Jastrubczak’s film, also in the shape of a bent rod, set mysteriously by the artist in the desert. Circling around the rolls of the earth embankment, we somehow reach the point of departure again. The spiral dam is a runway to Nothingness, and the man who passed it, till the end saw the same as at the beginning: water, foam petals, salt, basalt boulders. This external path does not lead anywhere; it is necessary to pass the dam or to take a glance into the inner space, into the mental dimension.
Perhaps it is there, in the space of the mind and imagination, where you can find the blue mountain from Paramount Pictures, sought by Jastrubczak. The purpose of the venture, as well as the manner of reaching it, is based on the pursuit of concepts produced over centuries by the collective imagination.
Elaborated by Vera Zalutskaya (Bunkier Sztuki Gallery of Contemporary Art),
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Poland License.
Łukasz Jastrubczak (born in 1984) is a multimedia artist, who creates video works, installations, drawings, ephemeral objects, and events. He uses the strategies of conceptual art artists, giving them melancholy poetics. He is a graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków. He is currently a lecturer at the Academy of Fine Arts in Szczecin. He was the winner of the 6th edition of the “Spojrzenia 2013—Deutsche Bank Foundation Award”. He presented his individual exhibitions, among others, at the Centre for Contemporary Art Kronika in Bytom (01, 2007; Film noir, 2008; 2013, 2009), Art in General in New York (Distant Drum, 2010), BWA in Zielona Góra (NTSC, 2010) and at the Bunkier Sztuki Gallery of Contemporary Art in Kraków Mirage , 2012), the Dawid Radziszewski Gallery in Warsaw Spirit, 2013; Retrospective – together with Krzysztof Kaczmarek, 2017), Manhattan Transfer Gallery in Łódź Influencing the reality, 2016. He has taken part in such collective exhibitions as: There is no sorry (MSN, Warsaw, 2008), Establishment (as a source of suffering) (Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art, Warsaw, 2008), Umpolen (MuseumsQuartier, Vienna, 2009), Jeff Koons’gloves (CSW Kronika, Bytom, 2012), Time for sports shoes (Kuenstlerhaus, Dortmund, 2012), Milk teeth (BWA Katowice, 2013), Pure formality (Labirynt Gallery, Lublin, 2015) A million lines (Bunkier Sztuki Gallery of Contemporary Art, Kraków, 2015), Wealth (Zachęta, Warsaw, 2016) and others. He cooperates with the Dawid Radziszewski Gallery. He lives and works in Szczecin.