Histories of the Cinema and Other Stories

I Was The First Polish Surrealist! Works From 1929-39 Warsaw Antiquities

 I think that in cinema there can only be love stories. (…) There are no films without love.

Making films combines three kinds of operations: thinking, photographing and editing. (…) In fact, I make films not only when I’m shooting. I make films when I sleep, when I eat breakfast, when I read, or when I’m talking to you.

Jean-Luc Godard

Is cinema able to work as a model for formulating emotions? Where does our private history of cinema end and the “life after life” of film images begin? And is it not so that film images, freed from their context, immobilised in the form of a picture, photograph, or film still become something that (following Jerzy Lewczyński) we could defined as “photography of dreams”?

In his monumental film essay titled Histories of Cinema [Histoire(s) du cinéma, 1988-98], Jean-Luc Godard argues that cinema produces images that live their own life and are autonomous from the film narratives of which they are a part. Thus, they open up to “other stories”, to the potential “life after life” that interacts with other films, images, and their after-images… In my Histories of the Cinema and Other Stories, appropriation and use of some of Godard’s images will work as a starting point for further development of the history of the cinema / cinematic histories. The intertwining stories address both the question of history (stills from films by the Polish School “infected” by Strzemiński’s work), as well as, most of all, the private, even intimate use of film images and photographs. The problems of memory and non-memory, fetishism (a particular kind of love for the cinema), and one’s own history are combined here in a kind of personal, ephemeral photo-theatre, where film characters play the main roles. It is also an attempt to take a closer look at the paradoxical relation between cinema and photography, where the former is a “moving image”, while the latter – “immobilised cinema”. This motif appears, among others, in a series of urban photographs, which for a short moment become here elements (remains?) of a never-made film. Finally, the exhibition is opened and made complete with a series of photo-texts referring to the famous I Remember (1975) by an American artist and writer Joe Brainard – his memories of America of the 50s and 60s filled with references to the cinema of the time. I Don’t Remember… is also an hommage to the patron of Asymetria Gallery, Jerzy Lewczyński, the author of a series titled Written Photographs, which addresses the problem of the relation between photography and text, word and image.

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I don’t remember any true and only history of the cinema. Instead, I remember many different histories of the cinema and stories about these histories (and other stories as well)…