Roman Cieślewicz, Changement de Climat, 1976-77

In the 1970s Cieślewicz turned his scalpel on the magazines which had given him employment in Paris in the 1960s. In a number of commissioned and self-initiated series, he mixed contemporary commercial images with reproductions of historical paintings. Renaissance artists Durer, Uccello and Bronzino as well as David all feature. He called the resulting works ‘photocollages’.

In 1978 Marcin Giżycki saw in these images ‘a new climate of a poetic reflection of the intermingling of two world, that of tradition and of the present, of permanent values and consumer goods. There is something here of a gaze of a man who, having left the Louvre, entered La Fayette’s department store.’

This 1977 film was made using these images (with camerawork by Phillip Stollsteiner and Emmanual Meynard, and sound by Francois Libault). Simple and effective, Cieślewicz used a rostrum camera and sounds captured from television and everyday life to express his anxieties about the future. It includes an extraordinary  image of the World Trade Center towers laid over a prone knight from Uccello’s painting ‘The Battle of Romano’ (1438-40). Reversing gravity, the steel and glass towers are launched into space talking the dead warrior with them.

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