Museum of Contemporary Art, purchased with funds provided by the Coe and Mordant families, 2009
single-channel digital video, black and white, silent, 1min 24s
1 min 21s
This seemingly simple video work by Dorota Mytych is compelling not only in its use of media but also in the way the subject matter is handled.
A trace of the process of drawing is discernable in the way in which Mytych has shaped her initial composition with the most everyday of materials, dry tea leaves on a white ground. They form an image based on a photograph of an armed World War II SS Trooper and a cowering adult shielding a child.
Mytych uses a video loop to animate her on-screen drawing; the image of the soldier, mother and child is formed, swept away and reformed in a mysterious and endless alternation. In one view, the soldier aims his rifle at the mother and child who huddle before him. In a sweep of wind, the leaves disperse and reorganise in an alternate image, where the soldier is aiming away from the mother and child, appearing to be protecting or defending them.
Mutatis Mutandis foregrounds not only the moral ambiguities inherent in armed conflict but also in the interpretation of historical events. Mytych subverts both the context and the reading of the image, allowing space for the viewer to question the situation.
By using video as a canvas for drawings, I subvert both the historical event and its photographic incarnation…