THE EPIC LOVE STORY OF A WARRIOR by Peter Puklus

NY在住ハンガリー人アーティスト、ピーター・プクラス(Peter Puklus)の作品集。煉瓦のように分厚い本に織り込まれる膨大な数の写真は作家により撮影されたもので、中東欧の架空の一族の視点を通して、第一次・第二次世界大戦から共産主義の盛衰まで、20世紀に起きた偉大な出来事を物語る。写真のモチーフは作家の独断で選び取られ、独自の言語で語られる。例えば、地面に突き刺さった1本のポールはルーマニア共産政権によって裁かれたイオン・アントネスクの処刑を描き、オーストリア=ハンガリー帝国の皇位継承者である、フランツ・フェルディナントの暗殺は束ねられた釘により描写される。こうした表現のなかには、バウハウス、前衛芸術、モホリ=ナジなど美術史へのリファレンスをも含む。作中に描かれる出来事は、一般に史実として集団に記憶されている一方で、個々の経験やそれらの言い伝えを介して人々の心に焼き付けられたものとしても、また存在する。作者は両者を連想ゲームのように操りながら、極めてユニークな表現を用いて20世紀に繰り広げられた出来事を描く。それは実際に東から西へと移住し、右派から左派へと政治転向を遂げた、彼自身の一族の足跡を辿る行為でもあり、史実と個人の経験の間に横たわる相関性がいかに複雑で、あてずっぽうであるかを示す。およそ全ページに亘り、一文字ずつ綴られる小さなアルファベット文字からは、ロシアの詩人であるマリーナ・ツヴェターエワによる詩が織り成される。不確かな未来を見据えながらも、20世紀初頭の悲惨な出来事に立ち向かう人々の人間性を謳うその詩には、独特の表現や言語によりぼやかされた、本作に底流にあるものが潜む。

The Epic Love Story of a Warrior forges a fragmented photographic voyage through the history of Central and Eastern Europe in the 20th Century. As told through the eyes of a fictional family, the hero of the story is an anonymous protagonist: a young European man who longs to journey from East to West. Set against the backdrop of great events that defined the era – WW1, WW2, the rise and fall of communism and sweeping political change – Puklus sets out to unravel the essence of collective memory and longing. Perhaps parts of our protagonist echo parts of Puklus himself, whose own experiences saw his family move geographically, from East to West, and politically, from right to left. Almost naturally then, The Epic Love Story of a Warrior is a story told in reverse. From back to front and right to left, it begins in the present day, and works it’s way back across a century to 1918. Puklus’ photographs are almost always inspired by an arbitrary and seemingly disparate constellation of sources. The images and sculptures in The Epic Love Story of a Warrior have been triggered by found pictures of historical events, memories, and objects. Retrieving these references, Puklus retreats into his studio, and transforms them into a visual language entirely his own. Here, he constructs a game of association for the reader. How much can he reduce the components of an image while we are still able to pinpoint the event it depicts? Iconic moments and memorable events are stripped back to a collection of still lives and small, deliberate gestures. The execution of Romania’s Antonescu is retold through a photograph of a single pole in the ground, a cluster of nails mark the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, and the looming iconographic shape of the empire state building is suggested in a bundle of wooden shards. Puklus’ references are art historical too, and as his camera moves around objects and nudes there are recurring nods towards the Bauhaus, avant-garde, Moholy-Nagy and the photographic tradition. As with all great stories, The Epic Love Story of a Warrior takes time. It is Puklus’ definitive exploration of a slower, more cerebral form of storytelling. He imagines it as a novel and suggests it should be approached as such. Read a chapter, let it sit and return again after some time. A poem, written by Marina Ivanova Tsvetaeva and translated by Ilya Shambat, punctuates the book in parts.

by Peter Puklus

REGULAR PRICE ¥6,500

hardcover
468 pages
150 x 200 mm
color, black and white
limited edition of 500 copies
2016

shortlist of the Paris Photo–Aperture Foundation PhotoBook Awards 2016 - the PhotoBook of the Year Prize

published by SPBH EDITIONS