Interview: Martyna Bec
Luca Curci talks with Martyna Bec during FRAGMENTED IDENTITIES, second appointment of BORDERS Art Fair 2020, at THE ROOM Contemporary Art Space.
Born in Cracow in 1977. Studied in Art Institute at Pedagogical Academy in Cracow. Diploma in graphic-linocut in 2002 in atelier of prof. Jerzy Bujnowski. In years 2007–2010 attended photo seminar by Sibylle Bergemann in Ostkreuzschule für Fotografie in Berlin. Works in subjective reportage learned from photographers like Michael Ackerman, Anders Petersen, Lorenzo Castore and filmmaker Adam Cohen. Lives and works in Berlin. Exhibitions in Cracow, Freiburg, Rome, Milano, Berlin, Athens, Tozeur.
“I like the process, collecting of material, subjective documentation of reality, going in and observing what will happen, being, using yourself as a Laboratorium to experiment, feel, penetrate, exist. It is self discovery, self portrait, work on the border of psychoanalysis with use of camera as a tool, documenting outside to discover what is inside, your very intimate truth. Every time you confront another person it is like looking in the mirror which describes you. I photograph only when I feel strong connection with my subject, using more stomach, heart, than intellect, rebuilding in pictures psyche and often subconscious part of it. There is no border between work and life, subject and object are the same. I photograph my relationship with places, people, who come and sometimes stay; some persons go and I never met them again, they were there to show me something. Often I have to wait some time to understand the meaning of my work. Life reveals something in front of us, everyday, like small miracles. I try to be as authentic as possible, without skin, without any filters of judgement. It is not about being professional photographer and pleasing the receivers expectations, but showing your own, naked, subjective truth. It demands work without compromises, total emotional commitment, being real”.
Luca Curci – What’s your background? What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
Martyna Bec – I was born in an artists’ family in the time of Communistic regime in Cracow, Poland. My background and cultural circumstances are definitely visible in all my artistic work, but also my nomadic life and successive different lives which I led are the core of what I do, and it influenced both my style and the medium I chose. It build me as I am now. I deal with it in a way unconsciously. It brought me to work on theme of the human movement, in terms of migration and processes which take place in human psyche. The transformation we go through. I am migrant myself. So it was working with myself at the same time. Documenting reality and creating self-portraits at the same time. I worked over some years between 2007 and 2012 photographing in Berlin. It was a special city for me at this time, full of contradictions, a metropolis where different subcultures coexisted. It was a very decadent place at that time. I started to photograph streets and people, but using subjective reportage. I have learned this way of working from photographers like Anders Petersen, Michael Ackerman and Lorenzo Castore, and also by the filmmaker Adam Cohen. They showed me the different approach toward photography, toward human, the world and myself. I started to use camera as a tool, collecting material, to understand myself and to reflect the inner world through documentation of outside reality. It shows us subjective personal truth of individual.
LC – What are you currently working on?
MB – The human condition. Now I use archive pictures and I see the history, how this city Berlin – which became my home – changed and how I went through transformation. What happened to my body. What happened to our Souls, Love, homes… Right now I am interested in combining photography, video and photo installation. I would like to see my future work as a process, an experiment on borders of performance, meditation, happening… employ living human, too, where the audience has a space to interact with art work. It is a question about who is the artist and who is the receiver? I also come back to Poland and continue photographing my family and collect all things which make me remind about my roots, childhood, about this land and its culture. I like to spend time in the nature there and photograph simple life, like always. I also continue doing travel photography and have some new stories from my experiences on the sea and different ports I visited.
LC – Where do you find your inspiration?
MB – In life itself. Travel, movement, love, interactions with other people, nature. I am an Outsider here in Berlin where I currently live, but I try to find my own territory, which is always Inside me, my own identity. I live free. I penetrate the borders. I have been living on the Edge, so maybe this crossing my own limits brought me to the question about where is our nature, where is the culture and intuitively I penetrate it with the camera. I give myself a right to be home right now and right here. I believe life is not something we can control. It is a force which brings always unexpected things on our way and it is always the best what can happen to us. I believe also in God’s particles hidden deeply inside of humans and all things. We shall never forget it, as artists specially, and I try to touch it in my art.
LC – Which art themes do you pursue? What is your preferred subject, if there is any?
MB – My experiences as a photographer led me to the point where I have to reduce everything and find, through the complexity and chaos, some kind of simplicity. I touch the subject of death and rebirth, which I also studied in my graphic work. I cannot say what is my preferred subject. It comes itself it is metaphysical process.
LC – Which is the role the artist plays in the society? And the contemporary art?
MB – The image, and especially Photography, has a very strong notion. Nowadays pictures play an important role in our life. We can use images in a free way to give our voice, too. Photographing everyday life but in an aware way can give a picture of our reality we live in, what is happening with us and with the world. It can be a response to the politics too, documentation of changes which take place right now and in our contest, so it is in a way a responsibility of artists to give intellectual and especially emotional reflection of it.
LC – What do you think about the concept of this festival? In which way did it inspire you?
MB – The concept responds to our time, to the current situation, when everything is changing and we ask ourselves questions. I have impression, and I think I am not alone in this feeling, that we live faster and faster. We can not put up with the time, at least emotionally .The necropolitics, the politics of death, which we experience everyday have big impact on us and we are not even aware of that, but it is actually visible and tangible. As artists, who often are the more sensitive persons, we should give response to what is happening right now. I think it is a very good moment to gather in artistic sense and look for new ways of expression and communication in art field. It is crucial to meet each other, exchange ideas and give a picture about our reality right now to understand it better. I am also glad the initiative comes from and takes place in Italy, which was affected hard as first country by Covid19. We were all watching what was happening here with fear. So I am glad to have the opportunity of having a space in the festival and a possibility of exchange, to see what the other artists do and what experiences they bring with, when it comes to matter of identity, the place we live in and how it affects us. It was definitely an inspiration for me, and it gives me motivation to develop my work. It is also good to meet people who are serious about their work and always something good has to come out off such meetings. We need a dialog and we need to be serious about the message we give. And I am feeling this energy and put my part into it. I believe we can create a network and have dialog to come out with new concepts. It is necessary to activate again artists and find new ways of promoting art and art events, maybe in a digital way, interdisciplinary and intercontinental. We have to keep moving forward. Art plays a crucial role here and it has a hidden power which can move people.
LC – In which way the artwork presented in our exhibition is connected with the festival’s theme?
MB – The artworks are very diverse and there are many approaches, but also the theme is very broad, so it gives us space to play and interpret it in a free way. So it is very inspiring. It shows how many different perspective we have, but at the same time it opens our horizons.
LC – What do you think about the organization of our event?
MB – I liked very much the atmosphere during the festival and the openness of the organizers too. The spontaneous receiving of the art and alive conversations. When it comes to the online promotion, the events are well carried and in a right place.
LC – Would you suggest a collaboration with us? What is your idea about ITSLIQUID GROUP and our services?
MB – ITSLIQUID has very good intellectual concept and open character which is very important if it comes to alive contact to artist, dialog, exchange of the ideas and experimental space. Like I said above, the place of the events and the online promotion using new technologies, from which both artists and curators are profiting, make it unique and promise a lot in the future.