Józef Robakowski is a key figure in Eastern European video art and one of the originators of the Polish avant-garde. His work nowadays is placed among the classics of structural and analytic cinema and he can be numbered among the heirs to the avant-garde artists of the 20th century, such as Władysław Strzemiński, Katarzyna Kobro, and Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz (Witkacy) and is presently himself a point of departure for a new generation of young artists. In 1962, he created his first experimental film 6,000,000 by using found footage. His works of the 1960s and 1970s (such as the non-camera film Test II, 1971) discarded narrative and film’s representational function. Remarkable for Robakowski is his neo-avant-garde and neo-Dadaist approach; his works analyze the language of media and draw from the tradition of Constructivism, recording the absurd communist reality in the 1970s and 1980s Poland with a light touch and a sense of humor (From My Window, 1978-1999). At the same time, they are profoundly political (Brezhnev’s Funeral, 1982) and very private (The Touch of Józef, 1989; Of Fingers, 1982). Robakowski is co-founder of the Film Form Workshops (1970-1977), theorist, and academic lecturer at the Łódź Film School. Since the beginning, one of the most important strands in his work has been light. Among his most interesting pieces is Attention: Light! (2004, with Wiesław Michalak), was created according to Paul Sharits’ colors that flicker to the music of Frederic Chopin.
Born in 1939 in Poznań, Poland. Lives and works in Łódź, Poland. He graduated from the Department of Fine Arts of the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń and the Camera Department of the Film, Television and Theatre State Academy in Łódź. Between 1970 and 1981 he was a lecturer at the Film, Television, and Theatre State Academy in Łódź. He was a co-founder of the Avantgarde group „Zero-61” operating in Toruń from 1961 to 1969 and groups „Oko”, "STKF”, „Petla” and „Krag”. Co-organizer of Film Form Workshop and Television Creative Group Station „L” in Łódź, which undertook experimental work connecting film, picture, and sound, permanently entering the Polish arena of conceptual and post-conceptual art of the 70s. He works with films, photographic series, videotapes, installations, drawings, objects, conceptual projects and initiates many events, exhibitions, and artistic actions. He is also an editor and theoretical critic of contemporary art. He has exhibited in some of the world’s most important museums, such as Tate Modern, Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, MoMA in New York, and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris.