Józef Robakowski
5'12'' ˇ cameraless ˇ colour
1971 | Poland
RVM · PyR Festival 2014


This non-camera piece was made by puncturing several dozen holes in overexposed motion picture film. When projected, the film ‘lets through’ the (natural) powerful light of the cinematic projector which ‘attacks’ the viewer (‘recording itself’ on his retina). Triggering off the after-image phenomenon in this ‘twinkling’ film, the artist studies the physiological dimension of the film viewing process.

Moreover, Test initiates a series of material relations by ‘revealing’ the shaft of ‘pure white light’ emitted by the project and by pointing to film solely as a ‘physical object inside the projector.’ It should be noted that the iconoclastic non-camera works by Robakowski are more radical than any other Workshop of Film Form works in transcending the representativeness, illusiveness and narrativeness of traditional film.

Józef  Robakowski
Józef Robakowski

1939 | Poznan, Poland

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A creator of films, photographic series, video tapes, installations, drawings, objects, conceptual projects and initiator of many events, exhibitions and artistic actions. He is also an editor and theoretical critic of present art.

He studied art history in the Department of Fine Arts of the Mikołaj Kopernik University in Toruń, and cinematography at the National Higher School of Film, Television and Theatre (PWSFTviT) in Łódź. In Toruń, he was the founder of artistic collectives Oko (1960), Zero-61 (1961-1969), and Krąg (1965-1967), and member of the 'Pętla' Student Cine Club (1960-1966). In Łódź, he co-organised the Workshop of Film Form (from 1970), and the 'Stacja Ł' Television Creative Group (1991-1992). He teaches at the National Higher School of Film, Television and Theatre in Łódź.

An integral part of Robakowski's work are his statements and self-commentaries, as well as numerous programming texts and manifestoes, e.g. Calling Once Again for 'Pure Film' (1971), Video Art - a Chance to Approach Reality (1976), or Manipulating! (1988). Since the 1960s, Robakowski has remained an active animator of cultural life, as the author of a number of important initiatives (e.g. the Exchange Gallery), organiser and curator of exhibitions, and originator and editor of publications (Nieme Kino, Pst!).

Lives in Poland.   +info