Gerardus Mercator, the Flemish mathematician and geographer, precursor of modern cartography, published his Atlas at the end of the 16th century. Since that time, the total of visual representations of space has functioned under the name ‘atlas’. These distant associations may come as a surprise but in fact it is the atlas that we should think of while holding the photobook entitled Bartek Warzecha / Performances – a story about the world, built upon the theatrical model and using theatrical matter. However, this atlas – arranged by Rafał Milach – consciously undermines the dominant narrations and strategies of depicting theatre, becoming an attempt to visualize and understand the universe and theatre itself. Bartek Warzecha’s story begins not only among the stars and on the moon but also among theatrical scenery and in the backstage area. There is no contradiction between one and the other. The map does not pretend to be a strictly defined territory.
Where is the border between the stage and the rest of the theatrical mechanism? Where does theatre begin and where does it end? What is essential in experiencing the theatre? What is crucial in performances and in presenting the theatre? These questions are the subject of Bartek Warzecha’s photographs and the compositional principle of the entire photobook–atlas whose ambitions are not inferior to the dreams of the world’s earliest philosophers, cosmologists, or cartographers.