THE CAMP TRIPTYCH AT THE CONTEMPORARY ART GALLERY IN OPOLE
1. AND LET’S SHINE… (17.06 – 02.07.2017)
This is the first exhibition from the camp triptych, which is dedicated to the erotic gesture of a woman taking the washing out from a washing machine and to the charm of her presence, which adds a splash of radiance to the floor. And I am not talking here about an ordinary woman, but a women of power – or with power – also called Superwoman, captured in the full light of her camp glory in a series of photographs by Zbigniew Olszyna.
There is perhaps, no other phenomenon in art – and not only in art – which could be shinier, more erotic, more eccentric and more teasing than camp. There are many stories regarding where and when camp was born, and one of them, the most shiny, places it at the court of Louis XIV’s, which was situated in the margins of royal political life. Some believe that camp was actually born in 1964, when Susan Sontag published her essay, which in the blink of an eye made her world famous. Yet in the most popular version the roots of camp are connected with the fight for the equal rights of gays and feminists, who themselves were living somewhere on the fringes of the real man’s world. In this version, camp is born in the 1960s in the United States and it is used as an irreverent strategy of disturbance. Yet, wherever we place camp, it will always be a voice of the margins and from the margins – geographical, political or social – because only there are hidden the unexplored layers of subversive power and inspiration. The outskirts are not only a place with a better perspective, but also – if only left alone – they become spaces of enchanting irony, velvet subversion and a light of freedom.
Camp is eccentric because nothing which is average and plain can be campy. Camp is reaching where the eye cannot see and even further, with a smirk of an eye changing reality into a theatre of shiny glamour and a delicately waspish irony. So there is no better way of starting this frivolous diversion than a subversive vision of a woman in the photography of Zbigniew Olszyna. And there is no better place than the city of Opole, liberated from the influence of the capitol and located on Poland’s fringe.
*Zbigniew Olszyna, Superwoman (the original title of his photographs), 2009.
(Photos are coming soon).