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DWELLING // exhibition 2019-11-06


Zamieszkiwanie / Dwelling





“Every two minutes, Americans alone take more photographs than were printed in the entire nineteenth century,” Nicolas Mirzoeff informs us in his How to See the World, one among many textbooks of perception in our era of visual extasy. An availability of the world flattened to two dimensions makes a flight from physical shackles towards bodies devoid of density, light and fast, as easy as it has never been. Transcending confining conditionings of biology and geography, we break free from our own weight by breaking off every bond connecting us to any concrete place. Even using the phrase, ‘That’s what living here has taught me…’, seems groundless today. For, indeed, which place is being referred to here, as we incessantly sweep through fertile areas of immateriality unfounded in the physical world? An intimacy with successive screens generating alluring spectres we enter into engenders a yearning for a rootedness in materiality. It produces a need to challenge the resistant world, in which distance and time can be determined by human measures, removed from precision of the machine.


Following the Heideggerian trope, built from load-bearing spatial metaphors and providing a stimulus for a new way of thinking about the world, the titular dwellingis aware being. It may be understood as a state of sensitisation to permeation of the virtual and the physical, a caring study of transformations of perception, playing out right before our eyes. Perhaps, as Jorge Luis Borges claims, a true way of being in a place is being far away and longing for it? Perhaps, therefore, in times of our travelling in virtual reality, disconnected from our physical shells, we find it easier to speak about materiality, studying it from a distance.

Each of the artists taking part in the exhibition, in spite of their permanent immersion in the lucidity of screens, prefers analogue solutions in their art and, in their very own manner, attempts to speak about a flight from the Fata Morgana, mirage and beautifying filter. Employing sculpture, photography, object, each proposes a different form of sobering out of the visual delirium and digital overstimulation. These gestures of resistance against the uprooting from the place, traditionally understood, as a localisation of a defined latitude and longitude, translate into five therapeutic exercises in vigilance about the image. Five tasks for the imagination which, in the laboratory conditions of the gallery, make possible an appreciation of materiality, with its dynamics of mixing, diffusion, condensation, sedimentation, decay and regeneration.

Thus, Barbara Gryka inspects the termitarium of an estate. Unannounced, she intrudes into successive flats, photographing their interiors. Thanks to her visual inquests, a shade of the Hansens’ utopia discloses claustrophobic spaces and their sombre residents. The artists notes down details of her visits, takes pictures. A vulnerability of residents unprepared for her camera flash, unaware of the future addressees of their likenesses’ intentions, reveals a naked truth of the body resistant to the obsession of aesthetisation: old, flushed, glistening with sweat.

Wiktoria Walendzik translates digital images found on-line into sculptures formed from iron rods. She is interested in contemporary multi-tasking, resulting in superimposition of images originating in various registers, which leads to their unforeseen crossings and hybridisations. Walendzik tracks and captures those bizarre critters, reducing them subsequently to three-dimensionality and endowing with a wholly real weight.

Renata Motyka’s work refers to the common ailment of the FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). It is a neurotic syndrome occurring in social media users, remaining in a permanent state of stand-by and a sense of overlooking something momentous. In Motyka, the phone as a portal into non-materiality and, thereby, a source of suffering and anxiety, goes into retirement. Long-serving devices without internet access project a soothing view of an endless grassland.

Filip Rybkowski prepares memory exercises for his audience. He builds a set reminiscent of an archaeologist’s cabinet, tenderly touching objects under his reconstruction. Fascinated with the crack, imperfection and detriment, he reaches out to props from a hypnotist’s repertory, intended to produce specific recollections. In this case, they are a dream of solids with determined weight and consistency, a fantasy of a soothing smoothing out of their surface. 

Emilia Kina closes the set, showcasing an object from a village photographer’s atelier. She makes use of gently undulating photographic background depicting a fragment of a desert landscape. The dust-filled air there trembles in the heat, inducing a state of blissful indolence in the viewer. The landscape seems to break in two, to redouble and slide down. Fortunately, a while after a picture is taken, the desert-view background can be safely rolled back. The place is no longer a bond, it turns out to be light and portable, easily packed up and taken elsewhere.


Curator: Marta Lisok




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