Herbarium of Peace

Hiroshima/Love – visual notes Hauntology

The Archives of the Union of Fighters for Freedom and Democracy (ZBOWID) has an unclear, ambivalent status and expresses various – semantic, political and historical – tensions and contradictions. It is also a depositor of various historical memories. Anti-war and anti-fascist slogans, strong after all and authentic in their pronunciation, are sometimes indistinguishable from propaganda, communist newspeak, the meaning and context of which partially eludes us today. The chronicles of ZBOWID are also a record of the everyday life of veterans’ circles, a picture of life constantly revolving around the events from many years ago, more and more incompatible with the decades of declining PRL and the times of transformation, as well as to this day. Flowers – a constant plastic motif, recurring in these chronicles – on the one hand perfectly fit into the propaganda and martyrdom story, on the other hand, however, in a way invalidate it and question it.
The herbarium of peace is an attempt to capture and bring out these fundamental contradictions, to confront the chronicles with the problem of an empty sign. Do flowers have to be equated with peace? What’s the relationship between amateur story-writing and amateur flower painting? What is the power of images formed in the margins of the text? Finally: what is a text without its context?
The series was created especially for the “Empty Sign / Archive” exhibition (Wolskie Centrum Kultury, Galeria Asymetria, 2019) and was based on work from the archive of the Union of Fighters for Freedom and Democracy (ZBOWID) in Wola (Warsaw).