Artist Talk: Rafal Milach
Visual artist, photographer, author of photobooks Rafal Milach for over 10 years has worked on transition issues in former Eastern Bloc countries. The Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize 2018 nominee discusses his shortlisted exhibition Refusal, an expansive portrayal of the ubiquitous tactics of government control and propaganda.
Rafal Milach’s ongoing artistic practice focuses on applied sociotechnical systems of governmental control and ideological manipulations of belief and consciousness. Focusing on post-Soviet countries such as Belarus, Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Poland, Milach traces the mechanisms of propaganda and their visual representation in architecture, urban projects and objects.
Refusal brings together different material and visual layers that ultimately represent these systems of control. Among other things, Refusal showcases photographs of handmade objects found in governmental centres and chess schools that produce optical illusions and whose innocent disposition is fundamentally changed here as they exemplify how the human mind can be influenced and controlled. Furthermore Soviet television programmes about social experiments or various state-run competitions exemplify the process of formatting and shifting meanings to serve a concrete vision of government.