Discussion about the book Grupa Zero-61 by Lech Lechowicz
14 December 2016, Wednesday, 18.00 hrs., admission free
ms2, Ogrodowa 19, audiovisual room
Publication of the first monograph devoted to the oeuvre of the Zero-61 Group accompanies the exhibition presenting the works of its members.
Artistic practice of Zero-61 group is a valuable and unique example in the history of Polish photography of collective interventions that went on for almost a decade and managed to maintain internal artistic coherence.
The group was founded in October 1961 in Torun by students of the Nicolaus Copernicus University. The list of founding members included: Romuald Chomicz, Czesław Kuchta, Lucjan Oczkowski, Józef Robakowski, Jerzy Wardak, and Wiesław Wojczulanis. Over eight years when the collective developed its interventions, the membership evolved. The longest serving – from day one until the group ceased to exist – and the most active members were: Kuchta, Robakowski and Wardak later joined by Różycki, as well as Bruszewski, Kokot, and Mikołajczyk in the final period of Zero-61. These seven people constituted the core of the group. In their actions they were always ready and strongly determined to go beyond established canons.
They were neither interested in external situation, political one - Gomułka’s reaction of the 1960s after 1956 thaw, nor the existing artistic situation. They wanted to start from zero and this is the origin of the group’s name. The monograph by Lech Lechowicz Grupa Zero-61 (1961-1969) describes the circumstances of the group creation, the history of their activities and the constitutive features of the ‘zeroists’. The book evokes also a famous exhibition of 1969 in Stara Kuźnia [Old Forge Gallery] in Toruń, which was a sui generis exhibition-installation (one of the first of that kind in Poland), whereby photography was only one of various elements next to photo-objects, assemblages and ephemeral interventions presented during the exhibition’s opening.
Lech Lechowicz - born in 1952 in Łodź. Specialises in history and theory of photography and relations between traditional artistic disciplines and the new media (photography, firm, video, digital techniques). Authored a number of exhibitions, catalogues and texts on these issues. In 1977-1996 employed at the Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź as a curator at the Photography and Visual Techniques Department. Defended his PhD dissertation Photographic Image in Theoretical Avant-garde Thought (1907-1939) at the Institute of Art of the Polish Academy of Sciences. Lechowicz works as a lecturer at the Film School in Łódź. He is also the author of two books: Fotoeseje – teksty o fotografii polskiej [Photoessays - Texts on Polish photography] and Historia fotografii cz. 1 1839-1939 [History of Photography Part I, 1839-1939].