Tomasz Laczny’s project involves the drawing and assembling of a map that is to facilitate a journey into the depths of heterogeneous family memory.
The artist is intrigued by the peculiar intrigued by the peculiar interdependence of its determinants – facts from the past fade once they are subjected to emotional reinterpretations.
The exhibition Erna Helena Ania is the story of the artist’s grandmother, who—in order to get her child back—decided to sacrifice her own background and language, her own identity and history. To achieve this overriding goal, she cut ties with her previous memory.
Recovered after many years, her daughter—the artist’s mother—veiled the facts to follow a similar pattern.
Laczny undertakes to lay out the family’s history, elaborating on the few relics of memory, and reproducing the constructs of the era in accordance with the notions coined several decades ago. With no data available in the form of first-hand accounts, he fictionalizes the tracks of the family narrative.
The project consists of four layers that enable the reception of history in completely different ways.
Archival photographs and documents bring to life the key moments of Erna Helena Ania’s life, and provide a formatted backdrop to the story.
The obvious nature of the archival material is broken by formally ephemeral, metaphorical illustrations of traumas: loss, longing, guilt – they form the author’s comments made in the cyanotype technique.
The third layer, comprised of large-format textiles featuring reproductions of the reverses of the drawings, in a narrative sense serves as a record of the process in which the afterimage is peeled off from the materiality of its source.
The project is complemented by an audiovisual interpretation of the visual fictionalized record found in the book Erna Helena Ania, inspired by the works of Frans Masereel.
The projection is accompanied by an audio installation documenting the erosion of pre-war gramophone records. The sounds played are a testament to the passage of time, becoming a metaphor for memory.
The record is a meditation on the impermanence of memories.