Poland /// Polen
This is a bold book. What a joy to browse through this “orgy” of images. The publication “Historie naturalne”, published by the Polish Dance Theatre in Poznan, tells – in words and images – about the organic relationship between man and nature. Artists from the Polish Theatre and animals – residents of Poznan Zoo – posed for those photographs.
Iwona Pasińska, director of the Polish Dance Theatre, theatre photographer Andrzej Grabowski, and graphic designer Ryszard Bienert successfully teamed up for this great publication project, which came to life in context of the 2021 Dance Theatre´s motto “Man – Plant”, which was intended to direct the audience’s attention to the relationship between nature and culture.
Photographs which juxtapose images of animal and humans, as well as texts by renowned experts, are united by a common message. There must be longing for positive space in the coexistence of animals and humans. Paws and hands, hooves and feet, faces and mouths, hair and fur – coexist. The boundaries are more fluid than some people would like to admit. And a dose of humour can’t hurt anyone. The black- and-white, excellently printed photographic combinations, or rather compositions, invite the viewer to take a voluntarily very long walk through the zoo.
A very strong graphic cover – not to mention the equally strong design of the spine, striking structuring numbers and the characteristic typography of the accompanying essays (5 popular scientific texts in Polish and English) form a grandiose counterbalance. This book is like its own typography lesson.
“Interspecies-curiosity” could be a good description for the dancers’ experimental approach to the animal kingdom. Even among animals, humans often forget that they themselves are a part of them. And in many cases behave as such.