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- Author Anna Baumgart
- Date of production 2012
- Duration 14’59”
- Author's designation artist's signature on DVD
- ID no. BS/1018
- 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
Anna Baumgart’s film, Article 1000 (Paragraf 1000), is the result of the artist’s search in the archives of the Falstad Centre. During the years 1941–1945, this location served as an SS prison camp, and, after the WWII, it was transformed into a prison for people collaborating with the Nazis. The starting point for the artist was the documentation found as a result of a query and fragments of the New Year’s performance script, staged by convicts in 1947, which went on to become a political scandal.more
Anna Baumgart’s film, Article 1000 (Paragraf 1000), is the result of the artist’s search in the archives of the Falstad Centre. During the years 1941–1945, this location served as an SS prison camp, and, after the WWII, it was transformed into a prison for people collaborating with the Nazis. The starting point for the artist was the documentation found as a result of a query and fragments of the New Year’s performance script, staged by convicts in 1947, which went on to become a political scandal. Based on black and white photographs recording the modest performance, Baumgart created a quasi-documentary, maintained in the style of recordings from the 1940s, which is an image of how the seventh act of the original performance – entitled Lód i jedwab [Silk and ice] – might have looked.
The titular Article 1000, which guarantees freedom of expression in the Norwegian constitution, builds a reference between the film vision of Baumgart and accidents related to the historic performance. The post-war performance was met with the reservations of an inspector sent by the Ministry of Justice. In his opinion, the play was promoting Nazi content. Despite the efforts made to stop the performance, its premiere eventually came out. The strong resistance of the prisoners against the attempted censorship was decisive, supported by the current prison governor. His character also appears in Baumgart’s film. However, in this version of the performance, the director, who advocates the idea of freedom of speech, at the same time tries to define its limits, noting that it is a privilege so fragile and prone to manipulation and political exploitation that it should be used with particular caution.
“Memory – they say – this is what counts in life, death – they say – it is an important thing in life [...] flour, I have flour, a white baker, the baker is not looking for guilt today, because today finding guilt is no feat at all” – recalls one of characters of the fictional reconstruction created by the artist. Memory and its media presentation are, however, particularly important topics in the works of Baumgart. As a media researcher, Iwona Kurz PhD writes:
The artist is interested in the relationship between the document and the event, having reference to its significance in the present day. To reveal this meaning, it is necessary to recreate an event from the past, or rather to create it, when it deals with disappearing or non-existent events and their disappearing or non-existent documentation,
Baumgart focuses on the gestures included in visual materials, depicting the history of the twentieth century and the fates of individuals. By sifting them out of archives and media circulation, she indicates their critical potential (examples include the works, Zdobywcy słońca [Conquerors of the sun], 2010, Warsaw. Synecdoche, 2011, Natasha Kampusch, 2006). The images created by the artist, as in Article 1000, combine reality and fiction; they force one to rethink the function of the factual records, their vulnerability to manipulation, and the uses they are put to. The documentary formula, employed by the artist so willingly, is a kind of reflection about herself.
Article 1000 raises a question about the possibilities and ways of speaking about the trauma of the holocaust. If the usual, seemingly neutral, character of the film (the baker) is ready to forget the past, focusing on the needs of present day, other characters, who play the role of victims and executioners, want to defend their stories – they have a need to use the freedom of speech offered by the constitution. But, can we talk about trauma and catastrophe, without stigmatizing the parties involved? A figure dressed in a knight’s costume – a Nazi or a collaborator – points out that the Jew who demands a trial feels comfortable in the role of a victim. He does not feel responsible for the crime, because – as he says – he did not starve to death the mother of this particular man.
The problem of responsibility for the crime of Holocaust is one of the key problems in the post-war discourse. Hanna Arendt, in the treatise Eichmann w Jerozolimie. Rzecz o banalności zła [Eichmann in Jerusalem. A report on the banality of evil], when analysing the Jerusalem trial of the Nazi war criminal, concluded that he did not feel like a murderer – he was rather a bureaucrat, signing documents and sending trains with people to concentration camps. He lacked any reflection on the effects of his own official activities. The author’s observations were met with indignation, which proved that attempts to adopt perspectives incompatible with the common way of thinking about the holocaust were still (twenty years after the end of the war) controversial and unacceptable. Similarly, for our national collective memory, one of the most problematic issues is the topic of the collaboration of some Poles during the war, which contradicts the official narration and arouses heated emotions both in academic Sąsiedzi [Neighbours], J.T. Gross and journalistic discourse, My z Jedwabnego [We From Jedwabne] A. Bikont, as well as in the more accessible filmography (films Aftermath, 2012, dir. W. Pasikowski, and Ida, 2013, directed by P. Pawlikowski).
The work shows the hypocrisy of efforts to unify historical narratives, attempts to “sweep under the carpet” difficult and painful events and unacceptable aspects of social life. History is not a fossilized specimen. Her research contains an inalienable creative element, which is expressed by the actions of contemporary artists: willing to work with the archives, as well as consciously blurring the boundaries between artistic genre and historical documentation. In her work, Anna Baumgart consistently crosses the barriers and prohibitions created by dominant narratives: she speaks, for example, about the problems of women forced into prostitution, while staying in concentration camps Świeże wiśnie [Fresh cherries], 2010, women unable to fulfil the social functions assigned to them Ekstatyczki, histeryczki i inne święte [Ecstatics, hysterics and other saintly ladies], 2004, and many other uncomfortable issues.
Elaborated by Vera Zalutskaya, Galeria Sztuki Współczesnej Bunkier Sztuki,
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Poland License.
Anna Baumgart (born 1966) is a visual artist, whose interests include: directing, sculpture, installation, performance, photography and tattoo art. She is representative of both critical art and feminist art trends. She works with problems of social divisions and behaviours as well as the contemporary problems of women. In her projects, she reveals the chimeric and constructive dimension of a stereotypical perception of reality. She is interested in the topic of cultural taboo, related to the role of women in society and the relationship between mother and daughter. Her work is inspired by strategies for constructing historical narratives and the visual aspect of media manipulation. She is a graduate of the Faculty of Sculpture at the State College of Visual Arts in Gdańsk (she obtained her diploma in 1994). She co-created the Avant-garde Delicatessen Gallery (Galeria Delikatesy Awangardy) (1994–1996), the Contemporary Art Forum in the “Gazownia Gallery”, where she carried out the project Salon Sztuki Wideo [Video Art Salon]. Together with Norbert Walczak, in 1994, she created an artistic group called Turtle’s Tail (Ogon Żółwia); in 1998, she established the Biuro Inicjatyw Twórczych [Office for Creative Initiatives]. In 1999, together with Zbigniew Libera, she established an artistic cafe Baumgart / Libera (later Cafe Baumgart), which functioned until 2006 at the Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art in Warsaw. She is the winner of the Gdańsk Province Governor’s Award for the most interesting debut (1994), scholar of the Culture Foundation (Fundacja Kultura) (2001) and the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage (2005). She is the author of numerous individual exhibitions, including: Movies about love (Filmy o miłości) (Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art, Warsaw, 1999), Ekstatyczki, histeryczki i inne święte [Ecstatics, hysterics and other saints] (PGS Sopot, 2004), Prawdziwe [True?] (Polish Institute, Rome, 2006), B9 (lokal_30, Warsaw, 2007), Strzeż się tych miejsc [Beware of these places] (BWA Art Gallery in Olsztyn, 2012) [Note: “BWA” is a commonplace abbreviation of “Biuro Wystaw Artstycznych” – “Bureau for Art Exhibitions”], SYNECDOCHE (SYNEKDOCHA) (Łaźnia Centre for Contemporary Art, Gdańsk 2012–2013), Nie pamiętam, ale wyobrażam sobie [I do not remember, but I imagine] (Labirynt Gallery, Lublin, 2013-2014), Śpiewajcie, niewolnicy [Sing, slaves] (Bunkier Sztuki Gallery of Contemporary Art, Kraków, 2014). She participated in such collective exhibitions as Scene 2000 (Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art, Warsaw, 2000), Kobieta o kobiecie [A woman about the woman] (Bielska Gallery, Bielsko-Biała, 2001), Za czerwonym horyzontem [Behind the red horizon] (Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art, Warsaw and NCCA, Moscow, Russia, 2004), HEARTQUAKE (Museum of the Seam, Jerusalem, 2008), Postęp i higiena [Progress and hygiene] (Zachęta, Warsaw, 2014–2015), Nasze ciało narodowe [Our national body] (Taras Shevchenko National Museum, Kiev, 2016), DE-MO-CRA-CY (Labirynt Gallery, Lublin, 2016), Późna polskość [Late Polishness] (Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art, Warsaw, 2017). She is affiliated with the Warsaw gallery, lokal_30. She lives and works in Warsaw.