Lego. Concentration Camp, 1996
Set of 7 boxes of LEGO bricks, different sizes
© Zbigniew Libera
Each box contains a set of bricks, that can be used to build the element of a concentration camp as shown on the box. All elements in the sets as well as those depicted on the boxes have either been taken from the mass-produced sets of LEGO bricks, or have been slightly altered by the artist. The prisoners are played by smiling skeletons from the "Pirate" set, while slightly modified figurines from the "Police Station" set appear as tormenters. We also encounter the captain of the camp and the psychopathic doctor, conducting experiments on prisoners.
Libera says: "Initially, I was considering building a Soviet gulag, but that didn't work - it failed to refer to the images I've had in my head and did not communicate my ideas. My intention was to reflect on rationalism and education". One of sets was purchased by the Jewish Museum in New York.
Zbigniew Libera is one of the most interesting and important Polish artists. His works - photographs, video films, installations, objects and drawings - piercingly and subversively (in an intellectual way) play with the stereotypes of contemporary culture. His shocking video works from the 80s preceded "body art" by 10 years. In mid-90s, Libera began to create "Correcting Devices" - objects which are modifications of already existing products - objects of mass consumption. He also designs transformed toys - works that reveal the mechanisms of upbringing, education and cultural conditioning. From that moment on, he is one of the pillar of the so-called "critical art", also in the institutional sense - despite the development of his career he is still closely connected with the independent circles. In recent years he has also been preoccupied with photography, especially the specificity of press photography and the ways in which the media shape our visual memory and manipulate the image of history.
More informations about his works, videos, bio and exhibitions:
web // youtube