For many years, Elżbieta Janicka has been working on depiction of the Holocaust in art, not only as a researcher, but also as an artist. This combination of two different perspectives gives interesting results. One of them is her work entitled „The Odd Place” — photograms presenting the air photographed over extermination camps, the air „filled with ashes” from crematory furnaces. Janicka’s materials include Agfa films. Part of this company used to manufacture Zyklon B. German perpetrators recorded their crimes on photographic materials of this company. The artist also explains the origins of the name of this series of works. Students of Jewish descent were entitled to odd numbers of seats and they were not allowed to sit at other desks of Polish universities. This persecution was officially supported and as a result in 1937 a decree was issued. According to Elżbieta Janicka’s works, pre-war anti-Semitism lead to the Holocaust of the Jews. In her opinion, you cannot separate these two things. Another work of the artist which is shown at the exhibition „Polish Art and the Holocaust” is „The Herbarium”. It consists of a collection of analogue photographs of plants which have grown in the area of a former extermination camp, in the soil which is mixed with human thresholds. „The Herbarium” is an attempt to capture the phenomenon of indifference of nature, appropriating even such a specific piece of land.
Elżbieta Janicka (born 1970)
A photographer, author of books and texts on photography, university lecturer; a graduate of contemporary literature at Université Paris VII Diderot and the University of Warsaw. She also studied at Wyższe Studium Fotografii at PWSFTviT in Łódź. Her photographs were presented at solo exhibitions at FF Galeria and the Atlas Sztuki gallery in Łódź.