The exhibition consists of three video installations. The first one is a three channel projection realised at the site of the archaeological excavations at Karahan Tepe, Turkey, where the oldest site of worship – dating back to 10 thousand years BC and believed to be a cradle of civilisation –  was discovered.

It was even before the neolithic revolution, before the beginning of agriculture and animal breeding, that the oval structures made of adhering megalithic pillars had been created there. What civilisation managed to accomplish this, who were the people who buried the sanctuary 1500 years later and why –  remains a mystery.

The artist analyses various theories concerning the origins of this extraordinary place, comparing the expedition to such distant past to a travel to Mars, and referring to Andrei Tarkovsky’s film Stalker. In this film, the narrative is led by three characters: the Writer (man of arts), the Professor (man of science) and the Stalker symbolising spirituality. In Hubert Czerepok’s work, these three perspectives are embodied by three robots — Mars rovers.

Another part of the project is a three-channel video Continuation –  a visual story of an old, post-industrial cable car network in the Georgian city of Chiatura, which has been operating almost continuously since 1953. It was built to transport miners working in nearby mines. Although 60 years has passed, it was still the most convenient and fastest way to move people around the city. The artist managed to complete his work just before the tram was modernised in the autumn 2016.

The title of the exhibition was taken from another video work –  a documentary film showing the DNA research of the first Piasts and the hypothesis about their foreign origin, which was created in the 19th century. One of its first supporters was Karol Szajnoch. In 1858, he presented the thesis that in the 6th century Scandinavian immigrants called Lachs came to the Polish land. Another version of this theory was presented in 1918 by two German historians Lambert Schulte and Robert Holtzmann. They referred to a document called Dagome Iudex, in which Mieszko I (called Dagome) places his land under the protection of the pope. Based on this, the German scholars deducted that this was probably a Danish leader named Dago who, around 960, conquered the land around the Warta River. For two years, the Institute of Organic Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Poznań has been carrying out a research project which is supposed to finally solve the mystery of the origin of Mieszko I and the Piast dynasty.

In the works presented at the exhibition, fiction is mixed with science, many hypotheses and theories broaden our view of the complex and ambiguous reality and cause the question of the origin to remain open.

This interview was originally published in: Zachęta lipiec, sierpień, wrzesień, październik 2017, Zachęta – National Gallery of Art, Warsaw 2017.

Hubert Czerepok

(b. 1973, Słubice) — visual artist, author of installations, photographs, objects and films. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznań, where in 1999 he made his diploma in Izabella Gustowska’s and Jan Berdyszak’s studios. Between 2002 and 2003, he completed postgraduate studies at the Jan van Eyck Academie in Maastricht, and in 2004–2005 at the Higher Institute for Fine Arts in Antwerp. Assistant and then assistant professor at the Studio of Video at the Poznań University of Art. Currently associate professor at the Department of Painting and New Media of the Academy of Art in Szczecin, director of the Experimental Film Laboratory. He examines anomalies, strange and uncontrolled things, analyses constructs that determine human behaviour, tracks conspiracy theories and paranormal phenomena, looks for the rules of the Great Conspiracy, and mixes history with utopia. With exceptional erudition and sense of humour, he balances on the edge of ironic distance and authentic engagement.

Selected individual and collective exhibitions: History and Utopia, Arsenał Gallery in Białystok, 2013; Lux Aeterna, Żak/Branicka gallery, Berlin, 2012; Devil’s Island, La Criée Centre d’art contemporain, Rennes, 2009; Cultural Transference, EFA Project Space, The Elizabeth Foundation for The Art, New York, 2012; Houses as Silver as Tents, Zachęta — National Gallery of Arts, Warsaw, 2013; Regress/Progress, Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw, 2012.