|April 5, 2007|
From Poland? is an attempt to answer questions about the sources of contemporary Polish art’s identity by presenting various artistic methods which define it. Focused on young Polish artists and on the ways of perceiving “Polishness” in the context of ongoing globalization, place, and space in which it is created, the exhibition will also address the questions to what degree the consciousness of the authors and recipients of the visual arts changes the ethnic narration and what delineates the borders of its territorial identity.
Jaroslaw Fliciński is a painter of large-scale canvases with repeated motifs of lines, circles, and stripes or stenciled patterns, which are usually applied as simple geometrical forms. Formal limits imposed by the medium itself have never been a real hindrance for him, often he will exceed the frame of the canvas towards space and paint directly on walls or specially constructed elements which compose the architecture of the exhibition, or he will use light, sound, photography or video. His thinking in the categories of a given site and its spatial and architectural conditions disrupts the neutrality of exhibition space and encourages our perception to go beyond a Minimalist lesson of sensitivity.
Robert Maciejuk belongs to a group of the most outstanding Polish painters. In his latest work he borrows images from books, postcards, and old music postcards. His method of almost literal transposition to canvas is connected with the question of the rhetoric of representation. In the early 1990s his painting was determined by set systems of geometric forms. Later the sign - an ideogram borrowed from the world of contemporary civilization -was central to his work. Impersonal and neutral, painted signs were juxtaposed and accumulated in cycles, as in his paintings of aircraft signs series displayed as large panels.
Tomasz Partyka is the youngest artist in the “From Poland?” group. For him painting is a kind of notation, a way of recording observations in a short and often very playful manner. His canvasses are covered with inscriptions that sometimes are impossible to read and force the reading into a visual experience. In the series of his paintings presented in the exhibition, Partyka’s sources of inspiration are linguistic paradoxes, famous couples of twins; he compares the surnames carried by popular figures with their true surnames that sound quite impersonal and calls attention to the phenomenon of the popularity of comics and film characters.
Although trained as a painter, Dominika Skutnik has mostly been creating installations. She has been interested in structures which consist of equally important visible and invisible parts. ReConstruction consists of several individual old and broken collectable porcelain figurines. Missing parts have been re-constructed from polymer clay and added to each sculpture so they no longer create any logical whole, instead each reconstruction is abstract, bad form, as if the work was unskilled. In her ORWO series, she uses a popular brand of photographic negatives and transparencies from Eastern-German, ORWO brand, which was the favorite medium for educational reproductions, specifically for art history. For Skutnik the aged and discolored slides have a special "childhood" feel, a sensation when one tries (mentally) to peel off the discolored layer and guess what the real colours, real size, and real impact were.
Alicja Karska and Aleksandra Went belong to a group of emerging Polish artists. They work together as authors of videos and films which combine real scenes with hallucinatory narrative. Working around the urban context the artists enter suburban areas and transform them into a dream-like mental space in an uncertain time frame . Their film Spatial Planning and Organisation was titled after the name of their studies faculty at Academy of Fine Arts, where they graduated in 2003. Making reference to modern ideology they comment on its persistence in contemporary life. Their vision of functionality approaches the absurd and resides within utopia. The idea of functionality inherent in contemporary thought also appears to be a psychological pressure.