Pracownia Portretu / LODZ (Poland)
24.05.2019 – 05.06.2019
The show "Inland Empire" is a set design of a personal film. The central point of the exhibition is a large format LED display projecting (like an intrusive advertisement) an image towards the windows. Display is synchronized with the time of a day, the colors in the image warm up with the setting sun (IOS Night Shift app).
The video displayed towards the windows is based on two types of shots. In the first ones woman is leaving the apartment every morning (to work?). Camera follows her while repeating this ritual throughout a year. The wall between the windows in the gallery covers part of the screen, so that the character is only partially visible. One can only see her shadow or fragment of her body as she disappears around the corner of the building. The second type of a shot depicts an animated model of walking scissors (which does not cut a film strip). These two characters are used as a visualization of the "off-frame space" concept, which was introduced by Grzegorz Królikiewicz - director, theoretician and teacher at the nearby Łódź Film School. Królikiewicz emphasizes the role of time as an element that triggers understanding of space outside the frame and distinguishes composition of a moving image from photography, painting and drawing. In one of his lectures, he presents an example that gives the viewer an idea of the space around the camera.
„A static shot, at the bottom one can see the path, the character enters the frame, passes by in front of the camera and disappears on the other side. The camera does not rotate, but we know that the path continues further. After some time, the same character passes again in front of the camera in the same direction. Despite the lack of camera movement, we know that it stands in the middle of a circular path on which the character is walking.”
The same excerpt appears on the mirror board inside the exhibition room. Its distinctive shape refers to the place where Pracownia Portretu is located - a residential building at Księży Młyn in Łódź. Księży Młyn is a historic district of textile factories with an adjoining buildings for residents (workers). This part of the city was built during the creation of „Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory” the first publicly screened movie. One can notice a preserved wooden board next to the entrance of the gallery. It was used by factory's administrator to list tenants (employees) and control those who did not show up at work in the factory, creating a direct relationship between the work and everyday life. Nowadays Księży Młyn is used as a popular movie set location due to its historical look. David Lynch's „Inland Empire” is one of films produced here and also a reference for the show's title.