14. 01 - 2. 02. 2000
Today as if the sunset should not come at all, so I lose much time waiting for darkness. I am preparing the paper slowly. I am leaving my fiat setting out for a journey through a very hot night with the intention of finding a suitable place to sleep. Outside the city a piece of harvested field catches my eye. I am stripping off naked and spreading the paper to lay down upon. A star is falling, leaving an unusually long and bright tail behind. I am trying to close my eyes and sleep. Every single move, even the most subtle of moves induces the sound of wrinkling paper. I can feel the surface of the ground, the stinging remainders of windlestraws and the moon above, the stars and the topless universe. I sense a strange kind of feeling, perhaps fear and chili, which seemed almost imperceptible at the beginning. I am chasing away the pestilent insects, I can feel the gentle touch of night moths' wings. The slow quivers of the body from the chili are getting more and more frequent. With the falling dew I am beginning to sneeze. The quiver of the body becomes constant. A star is falling, and the moon whose movement is my only record of time changes its position and is right above me now. The chili becomes unbearable and it is clear to me that I will definitely not fali asleep tonight. I am trying to stand up but the body is too stiff. Eventually, I succeed. I am wrapping up the paper which has become pliable by the dampness, I am getting dressed and setting out on the journey back. I am warming up completely by walking. I am arriving home, avoid looking at the clock, I am making tea for myself and I am writing these lines. It is beginning to dawn outside.
Trying to Sleep, 21 st - 22nd July 1992, Jiri Sigut.
The photography is an objective and true medium which we trust almost totally. By its means we may record pictures of our contemporary world, aspects of life and occurring changes. Jirí Sigut is using this ability of photography in a way we are not accustomed to. In the middle of 1980s he began creating a series of works that were an evidence of the artist's deeds, rather than a registering of his activity. On the June 19th, 1985, the first work of this series was created - The Walk. A camera hanging on the artist's neck was recording everything that happened to appear within its field of vision. This way a cumulated picture of a route covered in a certain time was created. In the following works the length of the route may differ significantly, from 56 steps to a railway transportation in Transport Ostrava - Poruba (frain No. 3441), but the principles of recording remain unchanged. In a similar way Sigut recorded other activities, e.g. 36 beats of my hearf or Transfusion of 300 ml of my blond. All these activities limited by the time and space frames are recorded on the negative by tracks of light accompanying them. The most important is, however, the chronology of the record, condensed in a single frame. This brings Sigut's photographs close to the film record. After all he has even been making experiments with a photographic recording of Jan Svankmajer's films. He is fascinated by a possibility of experiencing in one moment a 40-minute promenade through Opava's Katerinki, a travel by train, or just a "projection" of a multi-layer film. Since 1987 Sigut has still more limited the contribution of his individuality to the process of creating, to the advantage of objectiveness and reality - all settings of the camera have been left to a chance (e.g. the shutter and focus have been set up spontaneously while removing the camera Prom the bag). He has been also trying to avoid the "mechanicality" of the photography. He has not Been using such an important attribute as repeatability - possibility of making mapy enlargements. Despite using the conventional negative - positive technique, Sigut has been making each work in a single copy. The 1990s have meant for Sigut giving up the negative and camera - undoubtedly caused by the character of the artist's activities. First of all it has been a period of fascination by natural processes shaped by nature and natural light sources (moon and daylight, fire, glow-worms, or plants' radiance), their traces recorded directly on the photo-sensitive paper. A sheet of paper left at some particular places shows us the course of these processes, it is an indefatigable observer of natural phenomenons. It is recording Snow melting, where the grass, soil, leaves and snow leave traces. Actually there is no distance between the paper and the ground, it is a unique contact print. No matter if falling leaves or river sediments (befween the shores) have been recorded, one cannot help the feeling of facing something ultimate, that this is a question of passing away, death and rebirth - of the true, normal course of nature. Equally important for the artist is the very night way to the place, where he will leave the paper to be gradually exposed in the course of twilight, when the new day comes. In the darkness the nature is perceived more intensively, one must rety more upon the hearing, touch and instinct. The silence, interrupted only by a rustle of leaves, murmur of a brook, and the own breath, makes us more humble. It is easier then to gain the essential balance and concentration. The works showing traces left by a naked body, e.g. Trying fo sleep are not only a recording of a bodily contact with the earth. At the same time they are a trial of finding identity, a challenge of finding an own place in the Universe. Owing to the works of Jirí Sigut we may follow some phenomenons, completely invisible for us, though in fact even we are directly involved in them.
transl. Andrzej Szmal
Copyright ©2000 Jiri Sigut, Ireneusz Zjeżdżałka, Galeria FF ŁDK