Zbigniew Libera


Date and place of birth: 1959, Pabianice, Poland

Living place: Prague, Czech Republic

Theme: visual art

ECC Participation: panel member

Libera is considered a classic of the critical art that describes the contemporary world and reveals those of its meanings and contexts that are dangerous and, at the first glance, hidden. His best known work is „Lego. Concentration Camp” (1996) where he used popular blocks to create a model of Auschwitz (the Lego company that provided materials for the artist threatened him with a lawsuit; also the presentation of this work at the Biennale in Venice did not come off). Libera makes first of all installations and multimedia actions. His was lately connected with the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague.

„We are living in a world littered with images, including art. We doze off a bit in it so sometimes we need to be shaken awake.”

Libera studied at the Pedagogy Faculty of the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń. In 1982 he was imprisoned for the distribution of anti-state leaflets. Few years ago he co-created cultural cafés in Warsaw („Baumgart/Libera” and „Aurora”).

Libera won renown with such oeuvres as “How to Train Little Girls” (1987), a movie that shows the process of getting into social and cultural roles, a series of toys “Ken’s Aunt” (1994), “You Can Shave The Baby” (1995), “Universal Penis Expander” (1995) and “Birth Bed” (1995), the latter two being installations about sexuality and the beauty ideal that the popular culture creates. In the last decade his works were dedicated to the nature of the media and the ambiguity of images. That is when he created the renowned “Positives” (2002-2003) – Libera repeated there shots from well-known pictures that illustrate tragic events, but this time images had a perversely joyful overtone.

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