Intimate Rites

Zbigniew Libera

  • type of object: video
  • date: 1984
  • material/technique: video
  • dimensions: 11'4"
  • inventory No.: V-4

Zbigniew Libera deals with the analysis of clichés of mass culture, the mechanisms of education and the manipulation of the perception of reality by the media. In Intimate Rites (1984), the biographical context is significant: the artist’s mother was a nurse, and he himself had experience of caring for the sick in hospitals. The film documents over two years of the artist’s care for his dying grandmother, Regina G. We observe a close relationship with the elderly woman who looked after him when he was a child. Now the grandson struggles with the daily tasks of feeding, washing, dressing and changing her. The artist highlights not only the cruel mortality of the body, but also its separation from the power of the mind – the weakened body is no longer able to carry out the will of the mind. As Łukasz Ronduda noted, ‘The video explores both the greatest fall and the greatest triumph of the subject.’ Aging and death lead to the objectification of the body, but the carer represents love, devotion and sacrifice. Libera has found these spiritual values in the realm of existential experience. The film can also be seen as a manifestation of the ideas of ‘private art’ and ‘embarrassing art’ of the Łódź Pitch-In Culture group, with which Libera was associated: ‘The situation depicted is certainly embarrassing, distasteful and socially taboo. This private artistic act describes a scandalous, in my opinion, intimate relationship between a young man and an older woman.’ But it is also a relationship that fits into the natural cycle of generational succession.

Audio description: No sound

Other works by artist in the Zachęta collection

  • Zdjęcie pracy Freelancer (Self-portrait)
    Freelancer (Self-portrait)Zbigniew Libera2013
  • Zdjęcie pracy Lego. Concentration Camp
    Lego. Concentration CampZbigniew Libera1999
  • Zdjęcie pracy Placebo
    PlaceboZbigniew Libera1995
  • Zdjęcie pracy The Doll You Love To Undress
    The Doll You Love To UndressZbigniew Libera1997
  • Zdjęcie pracy Jan Świdziński (Magazyn Gazety Wyborczej), from the series Masters
    Jan Świdziński (Magazyn Gazety Wyborczej), from the series MastersZbigniew Libera2003
  • Zdjęcie pracy Zofia Kulik (Na Dworze), from the series Masters
    Zofia Kulik (Na Dworze), from the series MastersZbigniew Libera2003
  • Zdjęcie pracy Andrzej Partum (Gazeta Wyborcza)
    Andrzej Partum (Gazeta Wyborcza)Zbigniew Libera2003
  • Zdjęcie pracy Incydent z Kantorem (Trybuna)
    Incydent z Kantorem (Trybuna)Zbigniew Libera2003
  • Zdjęcie pracy Leszek Przyjemski/Anastazy Wiśniewski (Polityka)
    Leszek Przyjemski/Anastazy Wiśniewski (Polityka)Zbigniew Libera2003

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