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September 13 - October 30, 2014
POLKA GALERIE

Act & ReenAct

Act: Gilles Caron

Vietnam, soldats américains, 1967

REENACT / Alexander Gronsky

“Reconstruction” (2013), Alexander Gronsky’s latest work revisits the codes found in Russian war paintings. The Estonian artist creates triptychs of historical battles from the Second World War to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan by photographing participants in military reenactment.

 

Each of the three images is taken at a different moment. This way, the “tableau” recounts at once the many spaces and events that took place during the battle. The intent is to compress time and action into one single piece. 

 

These impressive compositions denounce, in their own way, the rapport that contemporary society has with violence and conflicts. Neither the photographer, nor the performers dressed-up as soldiers, nor the tourists observing these scenes have been to a real war zone. Yet, all have seen movies or played video games on the subject matter…

 

Through his images, Alexander Gronsky questions the status of our collective memory. He highlights how a pacifist interpretation of war, through many intermediaries, turns historical realities into cinematographic performances for the enjoyment of tourists. In most cases, only the background of the photographs, the snowy landscape, knows exactly what happened at the time of the battle. Here, landscape is the only accurate guardian of our collective memory.