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Promoting Polish Contemporary Art around the World




I also think that art is about posing questions, not voicing the only truth ex cathedra. It is about initiating a conversation, provoking critical thinking, breaking schemes. We are not able to control spectators. Reception of art is random Agnieszka Kulazińska


Editors Graphic design Contributors

Front/End cover photo

Sylwia Krasoń, Dobromiła Błaszczyk Marzena Wilk Karolina Jasińska, Dr. Suzanne Mackenzie, Joanna Pietrak, Urszula Płoch-Syhłowyj, Miseongoa Shin, Anna Tomczak, Ewa Tomankiewicz, Monika Waraxa Jakub Julian Ziółkowski

Advertisements: contact us on brand@contemporarylynx.co.uk 4

editors letter Dear Readers! It is a great pleasure for us to present you the second issue of our Contemporary Lynx Magazine. It provides a summary of the most important events in contemporary art with the participation of Polish artists, that took place in the first half of 2014. You can find in it a whole range of different materials: both direct reports on the exciting exhibitions, the interviews with interesting artists and art fairs’ summaries. In many of those places we were trying to be in person to pass you a direct report. The second number of magazine we decided to focus slightly on the subject of curators. Therefore you can find in our pages the conversations with experienced curators working throughout the world, who decided to share with us their reflections on the subject of Polish art. The second issue is also an opportunity for us to say thank you, dear readers, for your presence and favor during the past year of our existence. Without your suggestions and support we wouldn’t be here. It is also a great merit of the whole group of people cooperating with us at Contemporary Lynx. Your knowledge, skills and professionalism are invaluable for us.

Enjoy reading and we hope, that in the third edition of the New Year’s issue we will

be able to meet in the pages of completely new – also as for the formula - Contemporary Lynx Magazine! Contemporary Lynx Team


















in brIef

T imothy Persons Monika K rumięga Daniel Bird

p. 8 p. 12 p. 18

Polish art in their own words...





Marek Piasecki Angelika Markul Miroslaw Balka

p. 26 p. 30 p. 34

Daria Witkowska





Agnieszka Kurant Kama Sokolnicka Radek Szlaga

p. 42 p. 48 p. 56

Art Basel

p. 41

p. 62




mind the map

Surreal Journey

Contemporary Lynx / traveller

p. 66

09 lynx-eyed

p. 23-25

p. 74-77

10 p. 22, 78-91


p. 92-93





About Presentation of Kulczyk Collection in Madrid.

Timothy Persons born 19.8.1954 in Narvik, Norway. Lives and works in Berlin and Helsinki. Timothy is the curator of Gallery Taik Persons and Adjunct Professor at the Aalto University School of Art and Design in Helsinki, Finland. Moreover, he is the principle architect and leader of tthe Helsinki School, a senior curator for Kulturhuset in Stockholm and has been Senior Curatorial Advisor to the Danish National Museum of Photography in Copenhagen as well as KIASMA Museum of Modern Art in Helsinki.

Annette Messager, Three Guns, 2007, fabric, pin badges (with black and white photos) and black strings, 180 x 160 cm, Madrid 2014. Š Fundacion Banco Santander, photo Oscar H Espinosa



ontemporary Lynx had the pleasure to talk to Timothy Persons – the curator of the exhibition entitled Everybody is Nobody for Somebody. It opened on February 14 in Madrid at the art gallery of the Santander Foundation and run until 15 June. The exhibition showcases over 100 works by 57 Polish and international artists from Grażyna Kulczyk Collection. Each year, the Santander Art Gallery organises temporary exhibitions of works from private collections of the world’s most important art collectors. Grażyna Kulczyk is the first such individual from this part of Europe to be invited by the Foundation. Contemporary Lynx: Everybody is Nobody for Somebody– how should we interpret the title? Timothy Persons: Everybody is Nobody for Somebody embodies the concept that all individuals are entitled to their own perspective regardless of their notoriety. It opens up a mental space where ideas can be shared, rather than judged. Artists in particular, whether known or not, measure their concepts in a mutual dialogue with other artists. This conversation forms its own language, which transcends politics, religion and the passage of time. CL: How did you collaborate

with Grażyna Kulczyk in creating the exhibition? How did you decide which works to present?

What I Truly Appreciate in Grażyna is Her Mixture of Head and Heart in Realizing the Works She Has Chosen to Surround Herself with TP: Grażyna from the beginning gave me free hand to create the title, choose the works and design the layout of the exhibition. We mutually discussed what she was hoping to see from her collection and how it would eventually unfold into the dialogues we created. CL: You teach at Aalto University in Helsinki and you are one of the founders of the legendary Helsinki School. You brought a new way of thinking into the school. Students and artists associated with Helsinki School have an intense and precise aesthetic awareness in common. They work with thoroughly planned concepts and whole thematic series. Has the same idea motivated you to execute this exhibition? TP: What I´ve learned from my Helsinki School experience is to be flexible when curating

any type of exhibition. Use the title as a means to usher in the concept of what you wish to say and utilize the space with the works to find a mutual balance. It’s all about opening your mind to find it. CL: You suggests two possible paths for exploring the exhibition. The first one, connected with gender, with a clear dominance of the women’s art. The other part of the exhibition primarily highlights minimalist and conceptual art. Why these two paths? TP: These two paths of thought were selected as they best describe how Grażyna Kulczyk began her collection and how it has diversified and evolved into what is has become today. Any collection of contemporary art, especially one of this scale, moves and bends like a large river flows. It collects new histories as it expands as well as opening different channels of thought for fresh interpretations. What I truly appreciate in Grażyna is her mixture of head and heart in realizing the works she has chosen to surround herself with. CL: Everybody is Nobody for Somebody present a dialogue between Polish artists and key artistic movements of the XX and XXI century. The exhibition shows that works created



in Poland where on par with those in main artistic centres. At times, the Polish artists were contributing their own important interpretation of these key movements. Could you tell us more about this dialogue? TP: One of the central aims of this exhibition was to present to the public that Poland’s most relevant contemporary artists were in fact not only in dialogue with their western contemporaries but also leading the conversation. Alina Szapocznikow, Natalia LL and Zofia Kulik are good examples of how these gender-orientated artists not only challenged the “norms” of their generation but of the whole political system. These collective works are life statements that evolved out of a flawed political system. On the other end of the Polish spectrum we have Roman Opałka, Stanislaw Dróżdż, Jan Berdyszak and Edward Krasiński. Not unlike their more noted western contemporaries as Donald Judd, Dan Flavin and Sol Lewitt, these artists helped set the framework by which we today measure minimal and conceptual art. This exhibition was curated to be a bridge using the collection as its platform to introduce the public to artists from dissimilar political situations in an arena where original ideas have no borders and the


creative spirit in its own language. CL: When did you first come across Polish art? Is there something special about it? TP: My first real taste of Polish art came in 1988-89 in a solo show of Teresa Pągowska I curated in my gallery in Helsinki, Finland. It was through this encounter and my travels to Warsaw that I first stumbled upon the names of Zofia Kulik and Roman Opałka. However, my real education in Polish art began with one small step at a time and a lot of patience from the ŻAK/Branicka gallery in Berlin. Their program has opened me to new names and ideas I hadn’t known before. CL: In your opinion, what can Polish art contribute to the international art scene? TP: The question shouldn’t be whether Polish art can contribute to the international scene as it already has. Grażyna Kulczyk is the most important leader in promoting Polish art from the private sector internationally. The question now should be where is the vision from the Polish State in sustaining what Grażyna has already done and expanding it from a national cultural view. Interviewed by Sylwia Krasoń

Grażyna Kulczyk, photo Z. Krajewska, P. Wieczorek. © Art Stations Foundation

Edward Krasiński’s works, Everybody is Nobody for Somebody, Madrid 2014. © Art Stations Foundation, photo Bartek Buśko

Günther Uecker, Spiral, 2000, nails and plaster on canvas laid on panel board, 200 x 180 x 16 cm, Madrid 2014. © Art Stations Foundation, photo Bartek Buśko





Ideally Balanced, Organically Abstract. The Polish Avant-garde in Düsseldorf

Monika Kumięga (born in 1968) graduated in Cultural Studies at the University of Silesia with specialization in film studies. She has been working at Polish Institute in Düsseldorf since 1993, initially as an expert in the movie and then since 2003 she has been carrying out and coordinating a program of this Institute concerning contemporary art and visual arts. As a curator she carried out among others the following exhibitions: „Düsseldorf im Dialog mit Solidarnosc – Fotografien von Erika Kiffl“ , „Teresa Murak. Zu wem gehst Du“ and “Ideally balanced, organically abstract. The Polish avant-garde”.



ntil 23rd May, The Gallery of Polish Institute in Düsseldorf holds an exhibition of works by prominent Polish avant-garde artists. The works by Henryk Berlewi, Karol Hiller, Marek Piasecki, Henryk Stażewski, Władysław Strzemiński, Alina Szapocznikow, Wacław Karol Szpakowski, Andrzej Wróblewski, Teresa Żarnowerówna and other artists have been gathered in one place. What is interesting is that they have all been gathered by the private collector Werner Jerke, who puts in great effort into promoting Polish art in Germany. While visiting the exhibition we had an opportunity to have a short conversation with its curator Ms Monika Kumięga. She explained us the underlying concept of the whole event and the goals which she and the owner of these precious works of art attempt to achieve. Contemporary Lynx: Werner Jerke’s collection is rich in breadth and diversity. It includes works created in the 20s, all the way through to contemporary works of young Polish artists. However, the phenomenal collection of Mr Jerke does not constitute the focal point of your exhibition. Instead, there is a clear guiding principle, defined by the exhibition curators. Could you briefly describe this underlying idea of the exhibition?

Monika Kumięga: One year ago I curated the first exhibition of the works from a private Polish art collection. The title of that exhibition was “Teresa Murak. Do kogo idziesz” [Teresa Murak. Who are you going to]. Both a year ago and now, I strived to find within private collections works of art and the creators or the, so-called, “it factor”. This factor can also be called a fascination, that actually became an impulse or made these collectors collect Polish contemporary art works and follow this interest for the rest of their lives. In case of Dr Osman Djajadisastra, the focus was on the works and artistic personality of Teresa Murak. For Mr Jerke the “it factor” proved to be his own discovery of the Polish art of the interwar period and the followers of this artistic style. CL: Why have you chosen this topic? Do you think that Polish avant-garde art is something special within the overall picture of the Polish art of the 20th century? MK: Making decision to present Polish avant-garde in this particular period of time was not accidental at all. I was aware that Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen prepared the exhibition entitled “Kandinsky, Malewitsch Mondrian – Der weiße Abgrund Unendlichkeit“

and that Bonn’s Budeskunsthalle worked on “Kasimir Malewitsch und die Russische Avantgarde”. Since we are presenting our exhibition alongside these two exhibitions, we became a part of the European avant-garde. Also, we have enriched the avant-garde concept with Polish themes, which are probably not familiar to art lovers and experts in North RhineWestphalia. Therefore, we have enabled them to discover these themes by showing to what extent Polish art of the time was related to the post- 1917 German, Dutch, Russian and French art. CL: What is the way to explain this phenomenon to the foreign audience, in this case the audience from Germany, who may not know much about Polish art in general. What should we start with? Should we focus exclusively on the names of artists who are already known? Is there an educational programme accompanying this exhibition (as well as other exhibitions organized in your gallery)? MK: The exhibition is being presented during Quadriennale Düsseldorf festival, therefore there are some chances it will be noticed by a wider audience. While preparing this exhibition I concentrated on the topic of avant-garde and the popularity


Karol Hiller, exhibition view, photo Adam Grabolus. © Dr Werner Jerke and Polnishes Institut in Dusseldorf

of this notion, since the concept of the avant-garde directly evokes certain associations. At the same time, it was really important for me to find a key, that would allow me to create a narration within the exhibition. This narration came into being thanks to two motives which I discovered in the works from Werner Jerke’s collection – the organic and geometric (constructivist) motives. I have selected specific works keeping these two motives in mind. The title of the exhibition: “Ideally balanced, organically abstract. The Polish avant-garde” [Idealnie zrównoważone, organicznie abstrakcyjne. Polska awangarda] was also chosen taking


these motives into account. This title does not directly indicate any names of artists. Instead, it implies a creative dialogue between two currents: the organic and flowing (works by Maria Jarema, Alina Szapocznikow, Zdzisław Stanek) and the second one, which concentrates on geometric composition, devoid of non-artistic content (works by Samuel Szczekacz, Henryk Stażewski). However, one has to admit that many of those artists experimented with both currents. CL: So this is not a concise presentation of the Polish avant-garde, even from the perspective of abstraction.

From time to time you seem to wink to visitors, for example by presenting a chair made on the basis of Strzemiński’s project which dates back to about 1948. This is abstraction in a much broader sense of the word… MK: Abstraction itself is neither a subject nor an object of our exhibition. The crucial thing is the composition, which can be based on geometric figures that cannot be found in natural environment, or on the lines and shapes which reflect what we observe in nature. The chair is a kind of reminder or, as you have nicely put it “a wink to our visitor”, which indicates that we,

Alina Sz

zapocznikow, Untitled, c. 1960, monotype and ink on paper. © Dr Werner Jerke and Polnisches Institut in Dusseldorf

Maria Jarema, Gestalten, 1952. © Dr Werner Jerke and Polnisches Institut in Dusseldorf

CL: This exhibition does not consist only of works of art, in the basic sense of this word. There are books presented in the exhibition, where front covers and graphic layout was prepared by the best artists related to well-known contemporary groups, e.g. the famous a.r. group. Why

We have enriched the avant-garde concept with Polish themes, which are probably not familiar to art lovers and experts in North Rhine-Westphalia

MK: These publications are already unique. However, it is important for the seasoned art observer to have a quick look at these books in order to immediately notice references and parallels to Bauhaus typography. This in turn presents to the audience an important aspect of creative lives of artists of those times, namely the fact that almost all of them were involved in architectural planning, book and press graphics, photomontage or poster design.

have you decided to widen the scope of the exhibition so much? What is the role of these artifacts in Mr Jerke’s collection?

CL: Mr Jerke’s collection is one of the biggest collections of Polish art in Germany. Therefore, it is not surprising that you decided to show a part of

the visitors, as well as artists who are equipped with all kinds of theoretical knowledge, nevertheless refer every abstraction to the real world. We look for a shape and an association with the familiar reality in every abstraction. Artists sometimes suggest answers to us, e.g. Kazimierz Malewicz wants us to

notice “A boy with a school bag” in two squares – black and red, or Władysław Strzemiński who called one of his abstractions “A lady behind a window”.



it to the public. Could you tell me how your cooperation with Mr Jerke started and where the idea of this exhibition came from? MK: The mission of Polish Institutes is to promote Poland in different parts of the world, which in our case is Germany. Presenting Polish art patrons from the Western countries, such as Werner Jerke and Osman Djajadisastra, as well as familiarising the audience with numerous interesting threads within the history of the Polish contemporary art in comparison with European art history, seem an opportunity which has to be seized. How did our cooperation start? We met somewhere accidentally; it was during an opening. We started talking and I realised how big of a potential Mr Jerke’s collection has. He was planning to

open the first Museum of Polish Contemporary Art in Germany, in Recklinghausen. I was invited to see his collection. After that I knew instantly what we should present to the public. My next step was to gain Mr Jerke’s trust. My experience as a curator helped me to achieve this goal. As part of previous exhibitions in the Polish Institute we presented works by Magdalena Abakanowicz, Józef Szajna, Stanisław Fijałkowski, Jan Lenica, Franciszek Starowieyski, Dominik Lejman, Zbigniew Rogalski, Teresa Murak and many others. I really hope that presenting the small but very significant part of Werner Jerke’s collection in our gallery will help him in his endeavours and will make his dream of opening the first private Museum of Polish Contemporary Art in Germany, in Recklinghausen come true. CL: What did the preparations

Samuel Szczekacz, Construction 4-11III, 1936. © Dr Werner Jerke and Polnisches Institut in Dusseldorf


for this exhibition look like? I am mostly interested in your cooperation with the collector. Did Mr Jerke’s artistic tastes and exhibition vision influence the choice of the works to be presented in Düsseldorf and, if yes, to what extent? MK: I would like to wish such a creative and inspiring cooperation to every curator. From the very beginning we knew that we wanted to present Polish avantgarde. For me personally, it was important to select the works which, on the one hand, depict the relationship between the Polish and the European avantgarde and, on the other hand, are exceptional, original and unique, for example heliographies by Karol Hiller and Marek Piasecki. Interviewed by Dobromila Blaszczyk Translated by Joanna Pietrak

Edward Krasińsi, Untitled, 60s. © Dr Werner Jerke and Polnisches Institut in Dusseldorf





Good cinema knows no borders

Daniel Bird is a writer and filmmaker based in Warsaw. He has written books on Roman Polanski, and Andrzej Żuławski, and directed films about Parajanov, Vera Chytilova, amongst others. He is the co-producer of Arrow Film’s Camera Obscura: The Walerian Borowczyk Collection (coming soon). To find out more visit: Cave Canem and Boro’s Dictionrary

Walerian Borowczyk, Le Dictionnaire de Joachim, 1965. © Arrow films and Ligia Branice



he Kinoteka 12th Polish Film Festival, organised by Polish Cultural Institute in London, has just finished. A significant part of it was the ‘Cinema of Desire: Walerian Borowczyk Retrospective’ curated by Daniel Bird. Within the scope of this event 8 feature and 25 shorts films including animations were screened. It took place at the British Film Institute and at the Institute of Contemporary Art in London. ‘Borowczyk’s Film Retorspecive’ was also accompanied by two shows: the ‘Listening Eye’ at the Institute of Contemporary Arts and ‘Walerian Borowczyk – Posters and Lithography’ at the Horse Hospital. Since 1994, when Daniel Bird came across with Borowczyk’s work he has seen greatly engaged in promoting his heritage. He has focused his efforts on restoring Borowczyk’s films, which eventually brought about the publication of the Walerian Borowczyk DVD Collection with restored output from years 1959-1984 including five feature films: ‘Theatre de M et Mme Kabal’, ‘Goto’, ‘L’ile d’Amour’, ‘Blanche’, ‘Contes Immoraux’ and ‘La Bete’, and selection of the animations. Additionally, the set includes one hour long portrait of Borowczyk. The cherry on the cake is the book edited by Daniel Bird and Michael Brooke, which includes newly commissioned essays on Borowczyk’s work and

Borowczyk’s 1992 collection of short stories, translated into English for the first time. When I asked Daniel Bird to describe his relationship with Walerian Borowczyk, he answered: “I can’t”. His fascination with Walerian Borowczyk’s work is a long term relationship. It all started at the Stoke-on-Trent Film Theatre in 1994, when Daniel Bird saw ‘Les Jeux Des Anges’, ‘Rosalie’ and ‘Le Phonographe’ for the very first time. Monika Waraxa: You have worked very intensively on restoring Borowczyk’s films. Where are you with that today? Daniel Bird: We – Arrow Films, CNC, Dominique Ségrétin and myself – have produced new transfers and restorations of three Borowczyk features and twenty shorts through a mixture of private investment and crowdsourcing. None of Borowczyk’s Polish titles have been restored. This is unfortunate as Borowczyk’s collaborations with Jan Lenica are widely regarded as seminal works, not just in Poland but abroad too. ‘Dzieje grzechu’ (The Story of Sin, 1976), Borowczyk’s only Polish feature, is, for me, one of the best Polish films ever. MW: ‘Listening Eye’ is the title

of Borowczyk’s show at the Institute of Contemporary Art. Can images be symbiotic with music? DB: We have eyes as well as ears. Borowczyk understood how sound can transform an image, and how an image can transform a sound. He collaborated with the French composer Bernard Parmegiani, who was a disciple of Pierre Schaeffer, the founder of Musique concrète. Two of Borowczyk’s films with Parmegiani, ‘Les Jeux des Anges’ (The game of Angels, 1964) and ‘Le Dictionnaire de Joachim’ (Joachim’s Dictionary, 1972) are the focus of the exhibition. There are also three of Borowczyk’s sound sculptures. This audiovisual relationship is the focus of the show – in graphics, film and sculpture. MW: You assembled ICA show with Borowczyk’s drawings and storyboards for his animations. What was your biggest concern in doing that? DB: Space, cost and red tape. However, we turned these limitations to our advantage. I think the show is more focused as a result. Funnily enough, the oblong box shape of the room is perfect for a Borowczyk exhibition – it even



Walerian Borowczyk, Les Jeux des Anges, 1964. Š Arrow films and Ligia Branice-Borowczyk


looks like one of the chambers in ‘Les Jeux des Anges’! MW: Who else has worked with you on this show? DB: Juliette Desorgues, my co-curator at the ICA, Paulina Latham from the Polish Cultural Institute, and Maurice Corbet from the Annecy Museum in France. MW: Walerian Borowczyk met his wife, Ligia Branice, at the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow. She was an actress in many of his films. Was she only his muse or rather a partner in the creative process?

DB: Borowczyk without Ligia is like Josef von Sternberg without Marlene Dietrich – she made him and he made her. MW: How would you describe Borowczyk’s method of working? DB: He thought with his hands. He had to do everything, including the sets and the props. You can see this in the three sound sculptures which are part of the exhibition. MW: Do you like Polish filmmakers in particular or is it just that Walerian Borowczyk is your favourite one?

DB: Borowczyk was born in Poland, but from 1959 he was a naturalised French citizen. Good cinema knows no borders. MW: What is your number one Borowczyk’s film or animation? DB: ‘Les Jeux des Anges’. It is a short animated film. The imagery, which is often quite surreal, evokes the concentration camps. However, it is never explicit. On the one hand, it is an extremely cold and savage film, but on the other it is extremely beautiful. The exhibition features a selection of the original gouache paintings that make up the film, as well as Borowczyk’s storyboards. These, in particular, are fascinating – they reveal a lot about Borowczyk’s thought process. MW: Would you describe his films as a soft porno? DB: No. Why not explore sexuality in films? MW: What did annihilation mean to Borowczyk and how did it influence his work? DB: Time destroys everything, especially cinema. Interviewed by Monika Waraxa Proofreading Dr. Suzanne Mackenzie

Walerian Borowczyk: The Listening Eye, display view, Institute of Contemporary Arts. © Mark Blow, London 2014



Michał Budny, Ashamed and Shameless. © Markus Wörgötter, courtesy Galerie nächst St. Stephan Rosemarie Schwarzwälder


01/ 02/ 03/ 04/ 05/

T imo t hy Pe rs o n s Agn ie s zk a Ku la ziń s k a Ma gd a le n a An n a Z ię b a Mo n ik a Ku mię ga Aga t a Pyzik

IN BRIEF Polish art in their own words...


Timo thy Perso n s / t h e c u ra to r o f t h e ex h i b i ti on Everyb o d y is N o b o d y f o r S o m e b o dy When did you first come across Polish art? Is there something special about it? My first real taste of Polish art came in 1988-89 in a solo show of Teresa Pągowska I curated in my gallery in Helsinki, Finland. It was through this encounter and my travels to Warsaw that I first stumbled upon the names of Zofia Kulik and Roman Opałka. However, my real education in Polish art began with one small step at a time and a lot of patience from the ŻAK/Branicka gallery in Berlin. Their program has opened me to new names and ideas I hadn’t known before.the future when new generations mature with a different art education.



Ag nieszk a K u laziń s ka / t h e c u ra to r o f t h e C e n t re f or Conte mp o rar y A r t L a ź ni a i n G da ńs k Are you sometimes surprised with artists’ requests when producing art show? The work of the curator is a surrealistic routine…I could mention here many juicy examples like searching for an old concrete mixer in England or for a circus trampoline in Poland. The production of art in public space is a process filled with various adventures. For instance our ‘headquarters’ for the project “Under the bridge” was a hairdressing salon in Liverpool. The owner was a very nice man who allowed us to use the electricity there so we could proceed on the montage of a sound installation when the salon was closed up for the night. Cables, loudspeakers and amplifiers were mixed with the hairdresser’s tools. After that we took bold action and climbed on the wall to find the right spot for a work by Dorota Buczkowska.


Mag dal e n a An n a Zi ęb a / a rt h i s t o ri a n , a rt c ri t i c a n d curat o r Magdalena Anna Zięba (1985) art historian, art critic and curator. A doctoral student at the University of Wrocław, she currently divides her time between Oxford and Wrocław. Editor of Label Magazine, she also contributes to Szum Magazine. She was the curator of the exhibition “Piotr Skiba: Man, That Negro Stole My Show!” London’s audience is unusually cultured and rather immune to all kinds of scandal. People are curious about novelty in art, especially if it comes from the East which still remains an interesting area to explore. The public often asked about the context of Piotr’s works and their meaning. All in all, contact with a completely new audience has been an incredibly invigorating experience. […] The exhibition in London was a peculiar provocation – the video screening was a one-day event, an intrusion into local art world, and at the same time it took place outside the “mainstream of events” . Transition into another “world”, which you have mentioned, took place on different levels.



Monika K u mię ga / t h e c u ra to r o f t h e ex h i b i ti o n Ideally B al an ced , O r g a n i c a l l y A b s tra c t. T h e Po l i s h Avant-g ard e at t h e G al l e ry o f Po l i s h I ns t i tu te i n Düsseldo r f What is the way to explain this phenomenon to the foreign audience, in this case the audience from Germany, who may not know much about Polish art in general. What should we start with? Should we focus exclusively on the names of artists who are already known? Is there an educational programme accompanying this exhibition (as well as other exhibitions organized in your gallery)? The exhibition is being presented during Quadriennale Düsseldorf festival, therefore there are some chances it will be noticed by a wider audience. While preparing this exhibition I concentrated on the topic of avant-garde and the popularity of this notion, since the concept of the avant-garde directly evokes certain associations. At the same time, it was really important for me to find a key, that would allow me to create a narration within the exhibition. This narration came into being thanks to two motives which I discovered in the works from Werner Jerke’s collection – the organic and geometric (constructivist) motives. I have selected specific works keeping these two motives in mind. The title of the exhibition: Ideally balanced, organically abstract. The Polish avant-garde” was also chosen taking these motives into account. This title does not directly indicate any names of artists. Instead, it implies a creative dialogue between two currents: the organic and flowing (works by Maria Jarema, Alina Szapocznikow, Zdzisław Stanek) and the second one, which concentrates on geometric composition, devoid of non-artistic content (works by Samuel Szczekacz, Henryk Stażewski). However, one has to admit that many of those artists experimented with both currents.


Ag at a P yzik / t h e a u th o r o f “ Po o r B u t S ex y : C u l ture Clashes i n E u ro p e E ast a nd We s t” From Poor But Sexy: “Interestingly, whenever the topic of nostalgia after the aesthetic of Soviet times comes up, commentators and theorists rush immediately to assure us it has nothing to do with the politics… We’ll never get an honest reassessment of the past if we keep denying that this nostalgia at play is also political.”



Marek Piasecki An Eccentric and Visionary Artistic Phenomenon

Perhaps Marek Piasecki (1935-2011) is one of the most eccentric and visionary artistic phenomena in post-war Polish culture. During his lifetime, Piasecki worked as a professional photojournalist as well as an artist who worked across an extensive range of artistic media, including graphic arts and sculpture. As an independent art photographer, he was notably characterised with his extraordinary studio in Cracow which was described as a source of curiosities and an isolated fantasy world filled with a substantial collection of objects and pictures. Eventually, this place was a peculiarly inspirational environment to create his idiosyncratic photographs.

Marek Piasecki, Untitled, heliograph 1957, Ferrotyped gelatin silver print, 24.3 x 15.9 cm, courtesy of Mummery + Schnelle, London 201


This small scale of Piasecki’s retrospective exhibition at Mummery + Schnelle Gallery in London selectively collects his critical photographic practice throughout the 1950s until 60s, during the period of his most vigorous artistic activity. This showcase consists of three distinctive parts, which present a series of heliographs and miniatures that are technical experiments devoid of lens-based media, accompanied by photographs about a central motif of dolls in his studio in Cracow. Piasecki’s work in this show reminisces about popular artistic trends in the 20th century including Surrealism in 1920s and 30s and Nouveau réalisme (New realism) in 1960s in terms of exploring the artist’s experimental manipulation in a photographic material and technique. The subject matter reflecting on the resulting work manifests his dark and enigmatic imagination often inspired by devastating influence and great depression of the Warsaw uprising which was a major World War II struggle by the Polish resistance Home Army to liberate Warsaw from Nazi Germany. In relation to this, the ongoing fundamental subject on distorted perception of a human body, particularly an objectified female body, incurs the reflection of loss of moral value and ethics which are investigated through the artist’s own tragic experience of the war. The dominant characteristic of his photograph on display is captured at first glance with a physically fragmented personality of various kinds of found objects and images. However these tangible partial objects are conjoined in a physical set in a photographic installation and they are rediscovered as a fresh insight into an abstract or figurative composition in a two-dimensional camera angle. Distinctively his photographs of dolls

Marek Piasecki, Untitled, heliograph, 1955-67, unique gelatin silver print, 12.8 x 17.9 cm. © Mummery + Schnelle, London 2014

in this exhibition present mainly a minimalist fea That being so, what stands for the subject ture of an infantile female doll. It appears mostly matter of his focused interest in fragmented fedismantled; its isolated face focuses us on its male dolls in his photographic scene? They evoke empty eyes. It is illuminated by using contrast of the paradoxical nature of certain coziness with light and shade. The atmosphere of the doll phofeminine texture as if he treated carefully the tographs summons a haunted quality yet overlapcareless dolls, which are signified as materialised ping bizarrely with an enchanted spirit. bodies that should not be obtained, and he gave It is inevitable to ask a sense of their own imwhat might constitute the portance and value to The atmosphere of the doll photounderlying significance of the wounded bodies by graphs summons a haunted quality his performance of fracturdecorating, posing and yet overlapping bizarrely with an ing its body to make injured highlighting them in or anonymous objects and his photographic stage. enchanted spirit. assemble them again. It is But also, concurrently probably a source of the artist’s deconstructive it seemed to be uncannily mirrored in the artist perspective, which is the beginning of a process himself performed as being a little child to see a to shape an uncanny way of seeing reality in his neglected infantile universe in the war-torn life. imagination. Then the perspective seems to ironiThis probably embodies Piasecki’s aesthetic on cally lead to reconstruct an improvised perfection the female figure, rather than differentiating it by recollecting, rearranging and piling up the fragfrom the associations it may have with voyeuristic ments to capture a snapshot of a surreal cinematfantasy of femininity through an enigmatic male ic status, which articulates the homeless and the gaze. hopeless mess, with reflecting his traumatic ex Apart from the above lens-based phoperience of World War II and its aftermath in his tographic work, Piasecki exploited unorthodox childhood. His act of posing them alongside varistyles and approaches in photographic practice ous discarded things might serve a free-floating without using a camera. Hence, this exhibition mindset of looking at the ruined world in a playful, features a series of heliographs which explores curious and creative way. the artist’s experimentation with many different


media and a variety of techniques to produce a photographic print.¹ Piasecki’s heliographs recall the “Rayographs” developed by Man Ray in the 1920s, who produced his own variant of the photogram to create unusual juxtapositions of every day objects. These included unanticipated effects of negative images by variations in the exposure time, depending on the type of a medium used, such as a single and moving object and a fine textured material.² Regarding process, Piasecki’s heliographs are not so different from “Rayographs” as it is essentially a photogram. However, his further experiments with heliography is an arbitrary transformation in terms of discovering and applying a diverse range of methods such as using spilled liquids, drawing with chemical agents and

Marek Piasecki, Untitled, heliograph, 1955-67, unique gelatin silver print, 23.8 x 34.4 cm. © Mummery + Schnelle, London 2014

scratching directly onto photosensitive base like glass plate negatives. A composed image is subsequently transferred onto a photographic paper by exposure to light. The resulting picture appears that the areas covered by a material or substance remained white, but the surrounding part of the

paper that is illuminated to light is total shadow. The variations in tone like grey and hazy effect can be created depending on the transparency of a medium and areas that are fully exposed to the light or not. The first impression on the heliographs on display illustrates something between the feature of unrecognisable objects or elaborate abstract forms that are often associated with magnified images of micro-creatures. Without aid of the camera lens, there is no sense of spatial impression. Instead they are characteristically overwhelmed with trapped flat images in darkness with sharp illumination and brightness. It is perhaps that nobody can make a duplicate of the final outcome, since they are infinitely variable depending on different duration of exposing to light and skills in controlling effects of the various natures of materials. Thus the quality of each piece of the heliographs in the show is emphasised uniquely original and imaginative. In comparison with the heliographic practice, the miniatures series features more pictorial representation such as various alien lookalike animals and the organs of the female body. The series was produced by partly employing the heliography but also combining with drawing with ink and chemicals onto a light-sensitive paper. The quality of the series seemed to be done intentionally by painting and treated as a piece of a mix media by adding some collage elements. He is drawing a distinction between the automatic impression of light in a photogram with the organic manipulation of the image through post-exposure modification. The Piasecki showcase appreciates not only how the use of light, texture and material can effect the outcome of a photograph transforming ordinary objects into something completely different and unique. This also shows that film photography is not a mechanical copy but more than being able to take a picture, which emphasises its widely extended possibility to discover an unpredictable pictorial exploration. Written by Miseongoa Shin


Marek Piasecki, Authoportrait. © Mummery + Schnelle, London 2014

Marek Piasecki was born in Warsaw in 1935. His family house was burned down by the Germans during the Warsaw Uprising and in 1945 his family moved to Cracow. He was arrested in 1952 for political reasons and sentenced to six years in prison. He was released early for health reasons and started to experiment with photography. From the mid 1950s he was working as a professional photojournalist. From 1957 he moved in the artistic and theatrical circles of Cracow and Warsaw and belonged to the 2nd Cracow Group together with such important artists like Tadeusz Kantor, Jonasz Stern and Erna Rosenstein. His experimental work began to be exhibited regularly – notably in 1959 at Galeria Krzysztofory together with the surrealist group Phases – and was written about by Polish critics. In 1960 his work came to the attention of American critic Dore Ashton at an exhibition in Cracow. In 1967 Piasecki went to Sweden at the invitation of the Lunds Konsthall and decided to settle there.

¹Piasecki referred to his photograms of heliographs. They make use of a method made popular by a number of the avant-garde photographers such as Man Ray in the Surrealist and Dadaist era. ²The term “Rayographs” was made by Man Ray and he fused his surname with the idea of a ray of light and photograph.



Angelika Markul In Crisis Between Past and Present The newest exhibition season inaugurated in midFebruary at Palais de Tokyo, will present ten exhibitions in three guises under the common title L’Etat du ciel. Artists, curators, writers, philosophers will demonstrate their critical point of view on the contemporary condition of the human being and the world they inhabit, as well as the form employed to describe it. One of the responses to the presented themes is offered by an exhibition by Angelika Markul, a young Polish artist, who has been living in Paris since 1997. Her artistic sensitivity, which was discovered at Christian Boltański’s studio, is also focused around themes close to him: time, remembranceand the human being. Her newest exhibition at Palais de Tokyo is the first large exhibition of Polish art organised at this venue. Markul’s exhibition has, quite untypically for Palais de Tokyo, a closed form. It is more like

a one syncretic installation in which the key role is played by the scenography and the choreography enforced on the viewer. Markul’s exhibition can be found on the lowest level of the gallery and the very process of descending the spiralling stairs and walking through a labyrinth of corridors contributes to an atmosphere of disquiet. To get to the exhibition and enter the world of the artist, you have to push sizable doors. The five rooms tell us a story of the world as told by Markul. It represents an aesthetic essence of her minimalistic style. The Bambi at Chernobyl installation, which opens the voyage, may be described as a total work. The showing of a short film recorded by the artist during the three days she spent on the scene of the 1986 catastrophe is arranged in a white room with a low ceiling. The screen, placed on a platform, has been supported with a white structure made of metal rods, some of them

Angelika Markul, 400 milliards de planètes, 2104, video, color, sound, 4’27” loop. © Galerie Suzanne Tarasieve, Paris and Leto Gallery, Varsovie, photo Marc Domage


Angelika Markul, Pièce du silence, 2013-2014, installation felt, wax, steel plates, fluorescent tubes. © Galerie Suzanne Tarasieve, Paris and Leto Gallery, Warsaw, photo Marc Domage

laying in shapeless forms, which seem to have been squashed under falling beams. The apparent chaos of white lines reconstructs geometric forms, which were filmed by Markul: spiky rooftops, falling trees in the forests in the vicinity of Chernobyl and the expanses of white snow covering the scenery. The camera shows the viewer the endless landscape of a deserted city and a virgin forest. The shots are fractured with shots of bright light. It alarms and irritates. The impact is reinforced with a symphony by Franck Krawczyk, inspired by music from the Disney film Bambi. A solidly framed radioactive plant brought from the set hangs on the wall. All this contributes to a futuristic post-catastrophic imagery, it is a depressing vision of all-encompassing nature and fate, to which the human being is totally subjected. Piece du Silence (Room of silence or The silent room) which follows is just a temporary stopover or maybe a voyage in time. Markul is receding, going deep into the ground like an archaeologist. For that reason Gorge du Diable a video of Iguazu Falls is played backwards, it is a leap into the past. The artist turns back the tons of water which have been flowing through the waterfall for thousands of years, to find the remnants of the past world – shapeless forms, half animal half plant remains of fallen worlds. Markul creates

them from her own imagination and places them on the platform next to the screen, because the film for her is also a sculpture. And where is the human being? You can’t see them. Will they too soon become another layer of soil? Will nature conquer? What home may they find in that? Markul seems to be a stoic wise man observing the lost viewer with her finger pointing to the sky. It is where the past civilisations looked to . And it is where people still look to, armed with increasingly powerful machines allowing us to see your past in the stars and to build a future. The biggest observatories of the sky are built in Chile. It is where it is the clearest and it is where a long tradition of native mythologies comes from, for whom the cosmos, the sky or simply speaking “that which is up there” is another stage of the journey of the human being, who stays on earth but for a moment. It is their Terre de depart (Land of Departure). The 400 miliardes de planetes video is a short recording of a Chilean telescope preparing for the observation of the sky, which the viewer does not get to see. A feeling of want, frustration and curiosity emerges. Foil, animal and plant remains, darkness, fluorescent lamps barely shedding light on elements chosen by the artist create an otherworldly landscape, inhospitable, inhuman. Dominated by


Angelika Markul, Bambi à Tchernobyl, 2013-2014, a video installation with music by Franck Krawczyk, film, color, sound, 13’26” loop, sculptures (felt, wax, metal). © Galerie Suzanne Tarasieve, Paris and Leto Gallery, Warsaw, photo Marc Domage.

powers stronger than us. These are the forces to the speed of light. And paradoxically it becomes which the artist succumbs when making her films. the hope of the human being. History turns a full Subjected to radiation in Chernobyl or Fukushicircle. ma, pushed by the crowds by Iguazu waterfall or Bambi in Chernobyl or Gorge du Diable, in Bagdad, she records everything she manages to the whiteness of the Chernobyl snow and the perceive. Physical sacrifice or harm to her health blackness of the dug out remains which are thouare not relevant for the end result of her work. But sands of years old, remind the viewer about their she does not expose heritage. People in their herself to danger. The Human fear is the lifeblood of Markul’s existential loneliness, look transgressive experito the past. While the fuworks, as it is the lifeblood of a man ence is with her and ture, seen in the stars is unin constant crisis. Fear of the forces of it is projected by her known, so the artist limits nature, fear of being forgotten, fear of onto her installations. only to showing it only as a oneself, fear of auto-destruction, and The space created by video recording. Markul’s Markul is disquieting. l’etat du ciel is depressing, finally fear of the future. It does not leave the marked by evolution and viewer in meditative peace. Human fear is the natural selection. The cyclical concept of time lifeblood of Markul’s works, as it is the lifeblood of which may be appreciated in her works presents a man in constant crisis. Fear of the forces of naus with hope, but also with a vision of future cature, fear of being forgotten, fear of oneself, fear tastrophes. Hundreds of years of history of huof auto-destruction, and finally fear of the future. man civilisation steeped in incessant conflicts In the end human beings are alone in the face of aiming to strengthen the areas of influence (of their fate and in the face of nature. And nature all kinds: cultural, religious, economic…) are but a in Markul’s works is very powerful, it becomes moment, a minute on Markul’s clock. It is not what the horror of humanity. It covers the impenetracounts, it is not what will decide our fate. ble forest of Chernobyl with snow, it thrives over the houses in the town of Prypeć, covers the past Written by Anna Tomczak with masses of water and then it vanishes with Translated by Ewa Tomankiewicz


Angelika Markul was born in Szczecin, she lives and works in Paris, where she graduated from Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux Arts at Christiana Boltański multimedia studio. She concentrates on the human being and their condition “here and now” in relation to nature and time. By the media of sculpture and film, she recreates the structures of memory. Her obsession with death and the past may be traced back to the tragic story of her family and it pushes the artist towards catastrophic outlook. When asked about artists who influenced her, she lists Mirosław Bałka, Tadeusz Kantor, Joseph Beuys or Tatiana Trouvé. She cooperates with Leto Gallery in Warsaw and Galerie Suzanne Tarasieve in Paris and Kewing Galerie (Cologne). She took part in many individual and group exhibitions such as: Fondation Cartier (Paris), Museum d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Museum Luxemburg, Grand Palais du Louvre, Chatelet Theatre (Paris), Castello di Rivoli, Museo d’Arte Contemporanea (Turin), Spazio Culturale La Rada (Locarno), Trondelag Senter for Samitidskunst (Trondheim), Substitut (Berlin), ART BRUSSELS 2007, Musee BankART (Yokohama), Galeria Foksal (Warsaw), Galeria Miejska Arsenał (Poznan), CSW Zamek Ujazdowski (Warsaw), CoCA Znaki Czasu (Torun), Muzeum Sztuki (Łódź)



Miroslaw Balka Journey into the Infinite Melancholy of Being

When one encounters the works of Polish artist, Miroslaw Balka, one almost certainly feels perplexed by his highly minimalist-looking and individuated forms. Apparently, his body of work is a metaphorical language that correlates his art and sensibility with works by the hugely influential precedent set by the late German artist, Joseph Beuys in terms of using simple and specific materials with transcendental and metaphysical properties. In this regard, he fuses his work with personal memories of growing up in post-war Warsaw. He allusively suggests a vision of hell and humanity on Polish land in the past. Hence, Balka’s work is probably not art that holds one’s attention through visual impact but rather art that murmurs his story. Since his critically acclaimed commission, How It Is, which was one of The Unilever Series at Tate Modern Turbine Hall in 2009, his first solo show in the United Kingdom was featured at the Freud Museum and opened concurrently at White Cube Mason’s Yard in London.1 It is called Die Traumdeutung in reference to the original German title, The Interpretation of Dreams, by Sigmund Freud, and is an audacious masterpiece that creates an entirely new approach to understanding the aspects of human psychological problems by interpreting the symbolic meaning of dreams in terms of unconscious desires and experiences.2 However, the German title for Balka’s exhibition delivers utterly anagrammatic words with meanings borrowed from other languages by parsing the name of the show into English, ‘Die’ and ‘Trauma’, Latin, ‘Deu’ meaning ‘God’, and ‘Tung’, which means

Miroslaw Balka, 100 x 100 x 20, TTT (Left to right), concrete and LED, dimensions variable DIE TRAUMDEUTUNG 25,31m AMSL, White Cube Mason’s Yard London 2014. © Miroslaw Balka. Photograph: Miseongoa Shin


‘bye’ in Albanian.3 It seems that the title has made much of a nonsensical aim. However, more than the witticism, an elicited aura of mystery about the show is embedded in viewers’ minds with the remembrance of the monumental tragedy of the Holocaust in the Polish national struggle. There is yet impenetrable obscurity, which lies deep beneath the value of the idea and beyond the visual superficiality of Balka’s minimalist sculpture. It seems to allow one to intrude on a certain sense of unresolved grief over the tragedy. It represents, perhaps, the unbearable melancholy of being in another reality. The reality may appear to be perceived as a fundamental form of suffering from an abstruse sense of loss of self—how one can see the irrational fear of abandonment of the vulnerable self and its narcissistic continuum. It is closely associated with the Freudian grief work, ‘Melancholia’, descended as an endless and unexplainable nature of mourning.

Miroslaw Balka, Above your head, steel mesh canopy, dimensions variable DIE TRAUMDEUTUNG 25,31m AMSL, White Cube Mason’s Yard London 2014. © Miroslaw Balka. Photograph: Jack Hems

The journey of Balka’s site-specific exhibition at the Freud Museum, Die Traumdeutung 75,32m AMSL, was launched with the erection of an eightmetre-high tubing installation called Y-Chromosomal Adam.4 The black fabric sculpture inflates vertically through attachment to a high pressure air blower; it waves uncontrollably in the air in the arable garden at Freud’s last home in London when he was in exile from Nazi-occupied Vienna. The sculpture is bizarrely and unavoidably associated with the phallic symbolism of Freudian dream interpretation. It conjures up a snake, an essential phallic image in Freud’s dream theory, raising its head before striking its prey. Simultaneously, the irresistible nature of the sculpture installation evokes the scene of the long and dark tunnel through which Freud desperately escaped to nowhere from the traumatic persecution of those of Jewish origin by the Nazis in Germany.5 It seems to convey an air of foreboding, leading into Balka’s exhibition in the perpetual quality of Freud’s home, which possesses the trailblazing psychologist’s own rich museological collection of artefacts and his theories on free association and unconscious desire. The fertile atmosphere is soon pervaded grievously with a copy of a letter from Irmfried Eberl, who was a commandant at the Treblinka extermination camp, revealed on

a table in the reception area of the house. It was sent on 20 June in 1942 to the commissioner of the Jewish quarter in Warsaw requesting materials for the construction of the camp. The list was a mundane message requesting the delivery of pipes and light bulbs to the camp. However, there is a dark underbelly which produces a surrogate to the straightforward immorality of deporting anyone into such horrendous conditions, notably since a number of Freud’s sisters perished there months later. This list carries with it a historical and penetrating grounding. Inside the entrance hall, there is a video installation titled Nacht und Nebel (German for Night and Fog) screening footage of a foggy night in a forest near the artist’s studio in January 2014. According to the supplemental literature, the name is a direct reference to ‘Tarnhelm’, which is the magic helmet from Richard Wagner‘s opera, Das Rheingold (1876). In this opera, the dwarf Alberich renounces his passion for the pursuit of infinite power and becomes invisible when he wears the helmet and utters ‘Nacht und Nebel, niemand gleich. Siehst du mich, Bruder?’ (Night and fog, like to no one. Can you see me brother?). The work, in turn, exposes the true cruelty of the Nazi regime, bringing to mind its secret action called Nachtund-Ne¬bel-Ak¬ti¬on, issued by Adolf Hitler in


Miroslaw Balka, We still need, DIE TRAUMDEUTUNG 75,32m AMSL, Freud Museum London 2014. © Miroslaw Balka. Photograph: Jack Hems

1941. Its procedure dictated that all arrests of individuals who had been involved in anti-German activities in occupied countries were made to disappear into the Nazi’s murderous concentration camp system. Thus, the imagery of disappearance featured in this abstract scene makes for a complex and interconnected idea that metaphorically addresses the equal narratives of violence and historical memories in relation to Nazi hegemony. There is a sudden, yet uneasy, wave of relief from the emotional force of the video work upon hearing a lone man whistling the theme of the film The Great Escape (1963). The sound installation seems to keep turning in an endless loop from a source concealed somewhere deep within the house. It imbues the visitor with an unnerving feeling that is engendered by the encounter with the letter from the SS officer. The whistling is desultorily carried through the heavy silence of the house and fills the space around us. It wanders along the way to the main exhibition in an upstairs room and eventually admits the visitor to Balka’s sculpture installation titled We still need. The visual aspect of the installation comprises a careful arrangement of unfinished, pale blonde plywood boxes, which seem to still be in the process of becoming. It includes a piece of truncated triangular trapezohedron, which is open on one side and at


the bottom, so that it draws viewers to put their heads inside and smell the wood. According to a conversation with the artist regarding the purpose of producing this work on private view at the museum, he calculated the number and volume of empty crates specified in the officer’s letter. Their capacity reflects the artist’s measured guess as to what quantity would have been sufficient to contain and transport the requested materials. Nevertheless, the underwhelming aesthetic appeal of the sculpture installation may lie in its superficial emptiness. It is heavily connected to extreme human situations absorbed in inherently sorrowful mysteries, which constitute that the raw materials of the sculpture are the incarnation of death to desperate victims and the boxes are building blocks representing the unfinished, and in progress, mass genocide. His creation of the work, based on factual accounts and the hypothetical condition, resonates with an unveiled allusion to the message that they still needed the materials for the construction of the camp. At the same time, the chilling aesthetic of Balka’s sculpture is ironically coupled with the successful packing of art objects and publications, as if Freud had brought them from Vienna, which is rather intensely apposite to the theme of the melody piece with resounding triumph of Freud’s great escape

from the unethical sacrifice of the Nazi authority’s experiments. It is nuanced, unlike the dispirited sensation of the whistled tune at the beginning of the show. Hence, the work embodies the ultimate form of collision between inevitable melancholy and optimistic escapism, stimulated by viewing the sculpture. Accompanied with an art historical reference, the wooden trapezohedron in Balka’s installation is apparently reminiscent of one that appeared in a well-known German Renaissance engraving, Melancholia 1 (1514) by Albrecht Dürer. The artist revives the same geometric form Dürer depicted five hundred years ago. Its close identity to Dürer’s trapezohedron is a manifestation of the parallel reality of our tortured psyches toward the shape environed by the recurrently intrusive interrogation of the enigmatic signifiers of the holocaustic presence at the epicentre of Balka’s work. It is as if the agonising personification of Melancholia in Dürer‘s engraving faces the curious piece surrounded by the complex symbolism of the mysterious psychic energy existing in totally insoluble realms. It is then that we become aware of the underlying uncanniness of Balka’s trapezohedron, which comes from a certain irrational fear associated with the invisibility and obscurity of ‘Tarnhelm’; the artist himself also sees that the forms of the two objects bear a strong analogy, eventually making us indulge in esoteric pathos by encountering the mysterious trapezohedron. This encounter summons an atmosphere of profound terror entwined with the fact that Nacht und Nebel prisoners vanished without a trace into the night and fog and were left to fates completely unknown. The showcase for Die Traumdeutung 25,31m AMSL at White Cube Mason’s Yard explores a different physical experience but appears to present a theme united with the coherent context on view at the Freud Museum. In contrast to the atmospheric sense and weight of history of the museum, the unfilled impression of the white cube

space suggests a static and confrontational style without any obstructed views in terms of featuring work. Two concrete sculptures occupy the ground floor; they intensify the tension between the tranquillity of the space and their functionless property, and to that extent, they fulfil a useful function that could serve as a refuge for some kind of living presence or an unexpected exit to another dimension. The first sculpture, titled TTT, is visually synonymous with Dürer’s shape and echoes the similar wooden version of the sculpture at the museum. Here, the marble-effect of the crafted concrete trapezohedron signifies a conduit of relief from any anxieties and fears as opposed to the portentous object featured at the museum. Thus, the form provokes an impulse of curiosity, perhaps enticing someone to attempt to hide in it. The other sculpture is a square concrete piece titled 100 x 100 x 20. It is attached firmly to the floor as if it has endured the long passage of time there. It conjures the dual association of a grave plinth and a sealed tunnel entrance to a space below. Two small holes on the sculpture induce an

Miroslaw Balka, Y-Chromosomal Adam, DIE TRAUMDEUTUNG 75,32m AMSL, Freud Museum London, 2014. © Miseongoa Shin


ephemeral sensation of being drawn into it as if ry. Its semiotic sense throughout the showcases is by a dark gaze narrowed into an unknown place. quintessentially about trauma and dying, reflectThe floor-based sculpture might be positioned as ing the artist’s own meaning of Die Traumdeutung. a point of dead end, or a doorway to the underIt is underpinned by artistic manipulation that world that leads to perhaps the final departure embraces a recurring tension around the boundaplace for the journey to the exhibition in the lower ries of historical fact related to Freud’s personal ground floor. tragedy and the Holocaust. It is saturated with the The end of the show’s journey is at a site-spepsychological perception of the rawness of Balka’s cific installation titled Above your head, situated in aesthetic and his minimalist gesture to represent the lower ground floor of the gallery. The proporhow history can leave traces in the form of abtions and volume of the gallery space are redefined stract artefacts. through the construction of a steel mesh canopy The corresponding context of the visual symthat has been created out of chain-link fencing. bolism and theme of the works exhibited in the The dark space is bisected horizontally by an imostensibly different atmospheres in the separate mense fence strung from wall to wall so that it covlocations should be considered. The uncanny ers the entire ceiling blank space of White Cube at about two metres emphasises the distinction The journey through Balka’s exhibitions above the floor. A between the boldness of creates an interpretation of a dream few spotlights placed the physical presence of the about one of the worst historical above the false ceilwork, evocative of nostaling cast a shadow of gia and a loss of being, and memories in the twentieth century. the mesh on the floor is filled by the voluminous below one’s feet and block the view above one’s scale of the installation and the gravity of the head. Thus, the individual viewer feels oppressed sculpture. On the other hand, the subtle impact by being confined from below and above. The back of the invisibility of the art installation in the rich of the space is extremely dark and has an intimiatmosphere of the Freud Museum renders a condating air. The ominous position of the resulting siderate attitude bearing the point of strong invisspace underscores the claustrophobia of imprisible intervention involved in Freud’s surroundings onment and a self-conscious experience. It is like in terms of exploring the implication of intense being in another reality. Here, the fear that comes inspiration that occurred as a result of the tragic from being by oneself in seemingly endless isolalegacy of Hitler’s era. The distinction is influenced tion and abandonment is created by a conflicted in equal measure by the weight of the subject. It psychological landscape within the physical conis interwoven with an individual’s experience with fines of the space. Any sense of melancholy in the his or her encounter with Balka’s mythical and mework is something more than sadness and other morial works brought about by the psychological than depression. Undoubtedly, this sense perand physical depths of the gallery and the musevades almost all of the artist’s presentation. The um. one contrasting element is the monotonous whis The Polish artist’s two interconnected exhibitling tune at White Cube that follows from the tions, in which he situates himself within the conFreud Museum, evoking the aspiration for freetext of his homeland’s past, must be the illumina6 dom by reinforcing the notion of imprisonment. It tion of art, ideology and introspection in response provides a reassuring escape from Above your head to the melancholic markers of people and places back to the real world. now lost. They act, in some ways, as infinite re The journey through Balka’s exhibitions creminders of what should still exist. ates an interpretation of a dream about one of the worst historical memories in the twentieth centuWritten by Miseongoa Shin


Miroslaw Balka was born in 1958 in Warsaw, Poland. Sculptor also active on the field of experimental video and drawing. In 1985 he graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, where he runs Studio of Spatial Activities at Department of Media from 2011. Received the Mies van der Rohe Stipend in Krefeld. The member of Akademie Der Kunste, Berlin. His works were exhibited on numerous international shows such as: Documenta, Kassel (1992), Venice Biennale (1990, 1993, 2003, 2005, 2013), The Carnegie International, Pittsburgh (1995), Sao Paulo Biennale (1998), Sydney Biennale (1992, 2006), Santa Fe Biennale (2006). In 2009 he presented special project “How It Is” at Unilever Series, Turbine Hall, Tate Modern, London.

The 10th annual commission in The Unilever Series, How It Is, is a giant grey steel structure with a vast dark chamber, which reflects the surrounding architecture in construction. Blurring boundaries between sculpture and architecture, it stands 13 metres high and 30 metres long on 2-metre stilts. Visitors can walk underneath it, listen to the echoing sound of footsteps on steel, or enter through a ramp into a pitch black interior, creating a sense of unease.Underlying this chamber is a number of allusions to recent Polish history—the ramp at the entrance to the Ghetto in Warsaw, or the trucks which took Jews away to the camps of Treblinka or Auschwitz. By inviting visitors into the dark space, Balka intends to provide an experience that is both personal and collective, creating a range of sensory and emotional experiences through sound, contrasting light and shade, and individual experience and awareness of others, perhaps provoking feelings of apprehension, excitement or intrigue. 2 Freud (1856-1939) was an Austrian neurologist and the founder of psychoanalysis. He is regarded as one of the most controversial and influential minds of the twentieth century. One of his key works, The Interpretation of Dreams, was first published in 1899.. 3 This exhibition is the latest in an ongoing series at the Freud Museum curated by James Putnam, which has included the following projects: Appointment by Sophie Calle in 1999; Beyond the Pleasure Principle by Sarah Lucas in 2000;Icthyosaurus by Ellen Gallagher in 2005; Polymorphous Perverse by Tim Noble and Sue Webster from November 2006 to January 2007; Nights Move by Oliver Clegg in 2008 and Hysteria by Mat Collishaw from October 2009 to January 2010. The projects are mainly concerned with interweaving the art of the past and present through collaborations with artists to create dialogues between their ideas and Freud’s artefacts. 4 Both measurements referred to in the title DIE TRAUMDEUTUNG 75,32m AMSL at the Freud Museum in Maresfield Gardens, Northwest London, running parallel with DIE TRAUMDEUTUNG 25,31m AMSL at White Cube Mason’s Yard in central London suggest the geographical height above mean sea level of each location, respectively. 5 Adam has been removed from the Freud Museum due to neighbours’ complaints about its noise. 6 The Great Escape 2014 Audio Duration: 6: 48 (looped) The sound is whistled by male gallery staff members and is installed in the smaller space adjacent to the main gallery space of the lower ground floor. 1




Contemporary Lynx invites curators, collectors, gallery owners, and people from the art world to share with us the most interesting, important or intriguing artworks by Polish artists. Each of our guests will select one piece of art and present it to us in the form of a postcard. This bite-size selection chosen by top experts and art aficionados aims to show the vibrancy and quality of contemporary Polish art.

Daria Witkowska

an Executive Director and Chief Curator at Sculpture Center sent us a Postcard from New York

Miroslaw Balka was born in 1958 in Warsaw, Poland. Sculptor also active on the field of experimental video and drawing. In 1985 he graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, where he runs Studio of Spatial Activities at Department of Media from 2011. Received the Mies van der Rohe Stipend in Krefeld. The member of Akademie Der Kunste, Berlin. His works were exhibited on numerous international shows.

Daria Witkowska, born in Poland, currently lives in London. She has worked at Christie’s Auction House since 2009, where she specializes in Post-War and Contemporary Art Market Intelligence. Prior to joining Christie’s, Daria worked for eight years at Tate Galleries, where she was a Membership and Sales Executive. She holds a B.A. with Honours in History of Art and Design with Business Studies. In addition to being an art lover, she has a passion for nutrition, fitness and travel.



agnieszka kurant

“In my work, I am trying to draw attention to creativity as a product of collective intelligence and complex, nonlinear processes – says Agnieszka Kurant for Contemporary Lynx”

In November, Contemporary Lynx visited an exhibition by Agnieszka Kurant entitled Exformation. It was on at SculptureCentre in New York until end of January. The show is a worthy continuation of Kurant’s impressive ouevre. A clear narrative and thought-provoking outcome of her practice meant Contemporary Lynx chose it as one of the highlights in Polish art in 2013. In December, Mary Ceruti – Chief curator of SculptureCentre – produced another installment for our ongoing project PostcART. She selected a still from Kurant’s new film Cutaways, developed by the artists in collaboration with the renowned film editor Walter Murch (Apocalypse Now, The Godfather, The Conversation). Cutaways is based on characters that were originally scripted and shot for various films but were subsequently edited out of the final versions of these films. Kurant wrote a script and involved the three original actors who were once cut out from Vanishing Point, The Conversation, and Pulp Fiction in her film – a meeting of these phantom characters. The narrative is based on surplus content and labour. Kurant’s Exformation was also chosen by Martin Herbert from Art Review Magazine as a show one shouldn’t miss. Contemporary Lynx caught Agnieszka to ask about Exformation, editing and curating and her future plans.


Installation view, Agnieszka Kurant: Exformation, SculptureCenter, 2013. © Contemporary Lynx

Installation view, Agnieszka Kurant: Exformation, SculptureCenter, 2013. © Contemporary Lynx

Contemporary Lynx: What does the title of your exhibition mean, and what does it refer to? Agnieszka Kurant: Exformation is a term which was originally coined to refer to explicitly discarded information—immaterial data that are crucial in shaping contemporary narratives but disappear in the process of compression, editing or dispersion of memes. The unknown unknowns of knowledge. I wanted to bring up the notion of negative information, because the field of information is constituted by what is excluded from it, by deliberately discarded information. History is dependent on its cutouts. Complexity science has coined a term for this: “silent heroes.” A silent hero is someone who is integral to e.g. the discovery of some great thing but is never credited. The machine of the art world is contingent on the millions that never made it—writers with unpublished novels, failed artists with unseen work etc. These are the people who are buying magazines, museum memberships, attending screenings and openings. They are essential for the industry to exist. In Exformation I am interested in how phantoms, fictions, and magic play into economics. Exformation consists of phantoms that often haunt reality. I’m interested in the return of the exformative “real”. The project Cutaways is a certain culmination of

my research around this subject. I got interested in phantom characters—the invisible universe of characters that have been completely deleted from the final cut of feature films, leaving no apparent trace in the stories yet strangely belonging to them—a sort of no man’s land, populated by these characters and their deleted narratives. I wanted to address editing as basic common intellectual and political tool present everywhere in our lives. CL: You developed Cutaways in collaboration with the renowned film editor Walter Murch. Editor’s role resembles that of a curator’s. They both decide about the final version of the film or exhibition. In both cases, they select or excise particular elements. What did your collaboration with the editor look like and who had the last word? AK: I invited Walter Murch when the idea behind the film was already shaped. I asked him whether he had ever cut out a character or narrative from movies that he worked on. He indicated McNaught, a character (the best friend of Harry Caul) that he edited out from Coppola’s The Conversation. Then he put me in touch with Coppola and Zoetrope, and many other producers and directors. I continued



the research myself and managed to collect is in and what is out. Each artist edits his/her nearly 200 cutout characters. The final movie works too. To some extent, each artist must encompasses footage of three characters edited make curatorial decisions, e.g., which works out from three major American films. These to choose for an exhibition, how to link and characters were played (then and again, now, juxtapose them, how to place/locate them in a in my film) by Charlotte gallery or museum space. These Rampling (discarded issues are often the subject of a I am interested in the “economy from Vanishing Point), dialogue between the artist and Abe Vigoda (removed the curator; as in the case of films, of invisibility.” from Coppola’s The the most important decisions, Conversation) and Dick determining the final shape of Miller (cut out from Tarrantino’s Pulp Fiction). a film, result from discussions between the The editing was supervised by Murch and his director and the editor. Interestingly, the editors collaborator Tim Sternberg. remain half-anonymous. Most moviegoers cannot name more than one famous editor, CL: Or, maybe your artistic activity is to prove sometimes none, which leads us to think of that nowadays it is impossible to explicitly deediting as the invisible art. Many filmmakers fine who an artist, editor or curator is. Our roles believe that the best editing is that which overlap and mix, the differences are becoming viewers are not aware of and do not notice. Of more and more blurred. course, there are also more expressive schools of editing. Generally, however, editors are AK: I have always been interested in curating “invisible” while the role of curators in recent understood as working with a complex form or times has grown enormously. Walter Murch medium — curating as an art form. Editing is a treats editing exactly as I treat curating—he proto-curating. Similarly to editing, curating is perceives it as an art form. The subject of our also (among other things) about deciding what conversations was, among others, mutual

Installation view, Agnieszka Kurant: Exformation, SculptureCenter, 2013. © Contemporary Lynx


interest in creating a script for editing a movie and for an exhibition. Murch has been creating some kind of visual editing scripts for years and I have been considering the idea of creating an exhibition script making a reference to conceptual scores by British composer Cornelius Cardew for a long time, too. CL: Cutaways apart from being an element of your Sculpture Center exhibition was also one of the commissions of Performa13 biennial. Other Polish artists showcased at Performa, such as Konrad Smolenski, Radek Szlaga and Katarzyna Krakowiak utilized the theme of the use of apparently useless fragments— wastes. You are also interested in the elements rejected during the manufacturing process e.g. in Cutaways. Do you see it as a broader trend of upcycling adequate in the world flooded by products? AK: The use of leftovers and trash is the theme that art has explored for over hundred years, if not always. From Dadaism, Pop Art, Neo Dada, through Conceptual art, Appropriation art, to what Nicolas Bourriaud defined as the “postproduction.” My interests are associated not so much with the waste and trash, as with the invisible and with what I call “phantom capital” – various forms and accumulations of surplus, redundant and potential material. I am more interested in the spaces/gaps after something cut out than in the garbage. I am looking for the potential and phantom capital in places where there is seemingly nothing: e.g. fragments of too long silent pauses excised from radio broadcasts of public speeches of politicians and intellectuals. I am interested in the “economy of invisibility.” CL: You are interested in the phantom phenomena that although exist in the collective imagination, in reality are fiction (work Maps of Phantom Islands), or it is not certain whether they have ever been created (for example,

Installation view, Agnieszka Kurant: Exformation, SculptureCenter, 2013. © Contemporary Lynx

works by artists in the Phantom Estate). Why this subject? AK: For a number of years I have been interested in the paradoxical process consisting in the fact that the failed ideas of the alleged dematerialization of the art object proclaimed by Conceptual art (which in fact produced certificates of authorship and visual documentations replacing the “immaterial” works and becoming an even more fetishized objects of trade in the art market) have actually been realized by late capitalism. For example, seventy percent of money is phantom—it exists virtually, on computers—but still produces physical consequences. An important piece of “real estate” in contemporary cities such as NY are “air rights” – the air above buildings that becomes an object of trade allowing for creating “million dollar views” by shaping what is visible from a given property’s window. One of cognitive capitalism’s agents is what I call “phantom capital,” redundant and potential material that despite its immaterial status acts


Installation view, Agnieszka Kurant: Exformation, SculptureCenter, 2013. Š Contemporary Lynx


as proxy of economic value and political meaning and can have substantial effects on day-to-day life. The only economics capable of capturing the nature of contemporary capitalism is the same economics that theoreticians of culture refer to when they talk about specters, ghosts, and delusions: libidinous economics. Our entire political economy has shifted toward immaterial labor, a model no longer based on physical work in a factory but on the production of knowledge and conceptual products like copyrights, patents, and ideas. In my recent works I’m exploring that phenomena and processes and how they can be seen through the legacy of conceptual art. I am interested in the extinction of singular

Usually I have good intuition in terms of where to “dig” in search of something interesting that might prove essential for my work. But of course there is no guarantee. authorship looming over our epoch. Knowledge and labor are increasingly produced by a self-organized complex system of collective intelligence based on millions of microcontributions. Artistic creativity and value production in art undergo a mystification. They operate via one of the major common myths surrounding art: the idea of creativity as an individual process. In my work I am trying to draw attention to creativity as a product of collective intelligence and complex, nonlinear processes. I am interested in the hybrid status, aura, value, and authorship of objects. Much of my practice takes up objects and places capable of transformation and inversion—works which can always be unmade or are reversible. Works which appear or disappear. It is interesting, for example, to watch a meme circulate, change, and grow exponentially. I think of artworks as living organisms with their own agency and agenda. CL: Research that you do for the projects is tedious work, reminiscent of the work done by an archivist. You never know whether it will end

up in success or failure. What is the research process for you in the context of your artistic creativity? AK: Research is an extremely important element of my work. Most often, I collaborate with many different people that help me. In the case of Cutaways, it was Walter Murch, Peter Becker from Criterion Collection, Tom Luddy from Telluride Festival, and many other producers and directors. In the case of Phantom Estate, it was the large group of people I interviewed, i.e. Maria Glissen, Anie Dedeker, Anka Ptaszkowska— numerous partners, curators and collaborators of the artists that I researched. Usually I have good intuition in terms of where to “dig” in search of something interesting that might prove essential for my work. But of course there is no guarantee. When working on the Phantom Estate I happened to turn into many blind alleys, and only a small part of my research was used for creating the project. On the other hand, however, I met a lot of fantastic artists, academics and art lovers so time is never lost. CL: Exformation exhibition has been on show at Stroom den Haag in the Netherlands since December. What are your other artistic plans for 2014? AK: At the moment, I am working on a solo project for the Guggenheim Museum in New York City (2014/2015). In September 2014 I am having a solo exhibition at Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, NYC. In June, at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, I am showing the project that I prepared (together with Aleksandra Wasilkowska) for Venice Bienniale in 2010. In the second half of the year, I will also have my solo exhibition at Botkyrka Konsthall in Stockholm. CL: We wish you good luck. Thank you. Interviewed by Sylwia Krason Translated by Urszula Płoch-Syhłowyj Edited by Agnieszka Kurant



kama sokolnicka

Talks about Dreams, Memory and Her Fascination with Human Behavior

Kama Sokolnicka, born in Wrocław, is the artist whose collages, installations and paintings border on language and metaphysics. In an interview with Anna Tomczak, she talks about dreams, memory and her fascination with human behavior. Anna Tomczak: At the end of January, the Progress Gallery in Paris has launched the exhibition featuring some of your pieces from the series under the working title Jet Lag. What other works are included in the show? Kama Sokolnicka: I made a selection of my early works for the gallery with the view of highlighting the range of my interests. I also added two of more recent pieces in order to bring to the fore the pattern in the themes, forms, moods and materials. I’m not an advocate of linearity. I believe in the structures based upon many parallel or equivalent elements. The exhibition Sleep Disorders included my works and thoughts pertaining to the subject which is developed further in my new project. I don’t view this exhibition in terms of some kind of retrospective. AT: You created this new project during your residency in the OMI in New York and La Mal-


Kama Sokolnicka, Elfriede Jelinek with curtain (Vienna Set), 2010, c-print, foil. © the artist and BWA Warszawa

terie in Lille. Jet Lag is in fact an oxymoron since jet means fast, and lag means slow. It is also a commonplace term that stands for the physical effects of a sudden time zone change. This condition represents our civilization very well. It seems we would love to erase the lag part from the human nature because it causes, for example, sleep distortions. Are they the main subject of the series? KS: Last year, I concentrated on the usage of medical jargon about sleep to describe and /or look closer at the modern world. I dared to use the words lag and crisis quite freely and interchangeably. They both denote the potential for change and the promise they will pass someday. They both happen as a result of and before something else; they are in the present moment, time. To a large degree, time entails the compression or disappearance of some space. In a way, people lose touch with their surroundings if they change their whereabouts rapidly. You gain a wealth of experience, but you don’t feel it. It slightly resembles growing old. Many people enhance the impression of being in a permanent crisis to evolve: the crisis forces them to seek different solutions. Allegedly, capitalism demands to maintain the state of a constant crisis. I often wonder about the inconsistency, the gap and/or hollow between what we expect to see or we want others to see, and what we do actually see, what something was, is and will be. I am keen on the language of various sciences because the meanings are disjointed from the concepts. Let’s take for instance Restless Legs Syndrome. It is very difficult for me not to associate it with something more than it is supposed to stand for, although I know exactly what it means. Sleep distortions hold the idea of the psychological and cognitive dissonance. AT: The links with Freud’s theory and your interest in psychoanalysis immediately spring to mind….

KS: I am much more interested in the mechanisms operating in humans and society, rather than the psychoanalysis itself. It is more about the reality as such, and not only psychoanalysis. I enjoy watching dogs that find a small hole and start digging deeper. Sometimes they find something, sometimes they run off suddenly to do something else. AT: The exhibit in the Progress Gallery have been displayed collages, paintings and sculptures. Jet Lag, in particular, explores “the sculpturability” of the material you work with. Was it the first time when you took this sort of approach to the project? KS: Jet Lag is the part of a new series which was made during the aforementioned residencies. Material has always been important to me and I have always used specific material for a reason, even though I don’t focus on it in the process. Every project introduces me to some new materials, some of which stick with me for longer. A while ago, I added metal to cardboard and wood. I’ve been working with textiles other than canvas. Thus, Jet Lag is both new and not new to me. It is a piece of synthetic leather from China hung distinctively over the brass bar (the so called “fake gold”): a simple and at the same time complex mixture. I always care about the ambivalence and balance. They need to coexist peacefully in one piece. Material often speaks for itself. Therefore, it is a starting point, literally and figuratively speaking. I believe in the constructive use of debris or side effects of life or civilization (e.g. disappointment and mental distress). They fuel my work. When I start working on a new project, I like to sketch the main premise. For instance, I restrict gradually the tools and materials to those that seem absolutely essential to a given subject or a group of concepts. It is like some traces of feelings and premonitions were condensed to form a matter. Afterwards, the premise is intuitively modified. I add something


here, I remove something there. There is no rigid agenda to follow. AT: The statement about your work, which gives us some idea about the Paris exhibition, reads as follows: “In her works, she concentrates mainly on the picture perceived as memory, phenomenon known as horror vacui, the construct of a modern subject in relation to biography, space and the variety of stories distorted by emotions. She is deals with the concepts of ambivalence and disappointment, often connected with the peculiarity of a given place or territory.” Paradoxically, I’ve noticed amor vacui in your artwork. You do not shy away from reducing your works to single gestures and signs, leaving emptiness. KS: The signs of horror vacui in people are both fascinating and frightening. Personally, I relate much stronger to amor vacui although horror also wields an unquestionable and unexpected power. Against all logic, the fear of emptiness can spawn the urge to make my own art in spite of my awareness of the fact that nowadays the art is famously


overproduced. Anyway, I feel the need to react to the intensity of the world. I choose to deconstruct a picture, instead of fully constructing it, which is still a lot of fun. It may stem from my questioning of only seemingly solid pictures conjured up by people that range from political visions, through memory and PR strategies, to individual stories. AT: Does horror vacui equal a constant need to lead chaotic day-to-day lives and to surround oneself with objects and other people (even outwardly)? KS: There is also the need to gather things regardless of trends, one’s social status and wealth. My attention is caught, for example, by the surroundings of houses and balconies, by the piles of objects and sheds of various kind situated on allotments (also abroad). Yet another need of humanity is to be etched in someone’s memory (family member’s or wider audience’s) after their death, which has upsetting and moving ties with people wanting to mark somehow their presence on earth.

that it is stronger than tradition and shapes the identities of next generations. Its task is to create the identity of a community in the future. Do you bear upon the idea of the individual vs. cultural memory?

Kama Sokolnicka, Jet Lag, 2013, synthetic leather made in China, brass. © Progress Gallery

AT: Some of your pieces were influenced in a way by your childhood and personal life. You glue together “found pictures” and hence recreate the fragmented nature of memory. Is this the reason why you opted for collage as one of your means of expression? KS: In principle, the starting point is – a recognized – experience. Everything I see, hear, read etc. gets filtered through this experience. In my opinion, any sort of montage seems adequate to represent the structure of memory at all levels (and I mean here memory in general). Montage has become the scaffolding of my projects, which use the past, not only deal with it. For instance, as a daughter of a gardener I can make use of experience and materials found in my home archive. However, the potential narration composed on the basis of my works touching upon a garden (or a montage of these works) doesn’t refer directly to me, nor a garden itself. AT: According to Jan Assmann, cultural memory overpowers the individual memory. He claims

KS: Of course, I do. That’s why I try not to think about the future. That’s why the series such as We Came From Beyond or Untitled were made. (“I am tired of the fight between skepticism and trust,” Mrożek once said). Recently, I asked my friend from Montreal (another Canadian who emigrates to Europe) why she decided to leave her beautiful and wide country ideal for people worn out by the skeletons endlessly falling out of their closets. She said she was fascinated with the world in which every brick, gun, book, custom and behavior has its long cause-and-effect history. When it comes to the individual memory, one of Sharon Hayes’ placards has just popped into my head: “My memory translates everything into something else.” AT: Do you think collage and memory are alike? They are both created by means of “montage” of the pictures deeply rooted in the culture. KS: Like I said, the resemblance clearly exists. What is interesting is not what we remember, but how we do it. Collage, as montage’s component and classic representation, came naturally to me. I like this technique. I completely dive in. Nevertheless, I display my collages as the part of a larger whole, a broader context of a project and among formally distinct works. At the times of the boom in collages, which everyone is now fed up with, even professionals hit the wall when they saw them on the exhibit; and this wall prevented them from seeing the complexity of an entire project, other works and techniques. I find it quite funny AT: You own past issues of magazines collected by your family. They provide material for your collages. How do you work with these visuals? Is archiving an important part of your artistic process?


KS: I add specific elements to my archive, such as things and materials that I notice while working on a given subject. I don’t pay a lot of attention to archiving. It just happens on its own. My collages are composed of the materials taken from magazines that were sent from West Germany to my grandmother and my father from the end of 1950s until the second half of 1980s. Surely, many people have similar collections in their homes. These magazines formed a mythical image of the West, which is typical for our kind of capitalism, in the minds of a few generations living in the Eastern Bloc. Even 30 year-old German magazines about interior design abound in political incorrectness, sexism, racism etc. These are obviously presented in the form of immaculate advertising photography, high-quality print and graphic design. Therefore, an appeal overrules the content (all about PR and illusion). Anyway, I own these

magazines; and people haven’t changed so much since back then. Although the magazines are supposedly visually limited, I am still able to use them for various projects immersed in the presence. AT: You use your own visual and esthetic “data base,” in the sense of memories or the Polish visual reality. Are your works determined by your origins? Or do you think that the East-West relation is no longer valid in the artistic landscape? KS: I come from the society, in which failures and unsuccessful experiments prevail over other transformations. In my opinion, the artistic landscape is spacious enough to accommodate varied relations. If at one particular time the art word revolves around the universal language of art, it doesn’t mean that later on it can’t concentrate

Kama Sokolnicka: Troubles du sommeil, Progress Gallery, Paris 2014. © Prograss Gallery, photo: Woytek Konarzewski


Kama Sokolnicka: Troubles du sommeil, Progress Gallery, Paris 2014. © Prograss Gallery, photo: Woytek Konarzewski

on the local shades and influences, or the other way around. It’s just that I feel bored with people blatantly treating identity as a product. Moreover, it seems to me that if the East-West relation is, sometimes painfully, palpable in the real life, then it would also have to be evident in art. There are different ways of coping with one’s origins. I really look forward to Agata Pyzik’s book Poor but Sexy. She probably makes some great points over there. AT: You also make site-specific installations preceded by research and study. They remind us of a place’s history. Can we view territorialism mentioned above as rediscovery of some unique “territory,” as the appropriation of it for your own semantic field? KS: Site-specific installations tend to resemble visible tips of the icebergs (they split, break off and float) whose bottom part is like the times which

are already gone and permeated with past events attached to a place. If the project is designed for a concrete place, this place also carries my work, e.g. in case of the ted’ (now) project in Zlin, and a couple more works strongly embedded in local contexts. Initially, I appropriated this semantic field, in a way. But I returned it as soon as possible highlighting some part of it which was worth considering. I signal something; interpretation of a signal is a prerequisite for its power and redirecting one’s attention towards reception and a quality of a receiver. The motif of territorialism runs through my different works, e.g. Quest or Different View, where I tackle the issues of human impulse’s consequences, understood as cognition and the expansion of knowledge (e.g. in the world or in the process of intellectual and media colonization). AT: In January 2014 has been opened your exhibition in Poznań. It was previewed by your piece


under the title Confusional Arousals, a collage on the box of unused photo paper. When the paper makes contact with the light and reagents, it reveals the invisible. Similarly, you make meanings rise to the surface. What is this surface exactly? Is it our culture, our Freudian Ego? Do you perceive yourself as a trickster who links the two worlds? Or is the romantic notion of an artist closer to you? KS: No, I don’t believe in one all-encompassing role of an artist. I don’t have the faintest idea about an artist’s duties, nor do I play the role imposed on me. Nothing is definite nowadays. It is hard to keep one’s head above surface water without being surface oneself. I don’t like thinking about it this way. You can call it whatever you want. For as long as I can remember, I’ve enjoyed toying with showcasing and spreading the doubt and uncertainty. I explore the possibility of drawing strength from them. Psychological and esthetic helplessness filled the 90’s, the time of transformation I grew up in. So what about this surface? The surface stands for the multitude of things: you can throw in some more concepts and the dots (artwork) could still somehow be joined. I discussed the idea of a surface in photography and optics with Dorota Walentynowicz, a curator of the exhibit in Poznań. The surface here is something that has no other side at all or, in other words, has yet another surface on its other side. The surface covers nothing. It only reflects or transmits things. You can place something behind it, but not beneath it. By the way, I am not sure whether you can actually “look beneath the surface,” as the words suggest.


surface differs from, for instance, a transparent screen that makes things behind it partially visible. Despite what has already been said about a surface, mirror and screen, about the lines, about the visibility and invisibility (and I can only suspect what it is due to my own laziness, inability, unavailability and so on), I do find the pondering on the topic fascinating. Yet, I am not a philosopher. I prefer showing you my work connected with this subject to engaging in the “what if” blabber. AT: Why don’t we talk about your paintings now? They often depict architecture, the traces of people’s activity, such as houses, factories and interiors. But there is no sign of people. KS: My paintings do portray gardeners, corpses even. Sometimes I only hint at the presence itself. However, if I have obstruction or clarity in mind, I want to paint radio station’s studio or a ship (with or without people on board) or an ice sheet, which reflects the light amid being colonized. The way I see it, paintings are also the elements of a montage. These elements are unique and distinct from the features of objects, drawings and collages. My work is invariably driven by looking and actually seeing; by the ambivalent foundations of Western capitalism, its products and consequences. AT: So it is all about silence and amor vacui after all… KS: But silence and emptiness have this tension based on the mind scrambling to fill in the gaps in the pieces you have at your disposal. There is lots of space between the gaps and discrepancies.

AT: Still a surface seems to draw the line between two different states….

AT: Thank you.

KS: Or it may encompass both before and after, the inside and the outside. It may refute dualism; and be like the present, like here and now. A

Interviewed by Anna Tomczak Translated by Karolina Jasińska Edited by Contemporary Lynx

Kama Sokolnicka, Victory Garden, 2012, acrylic on canvas. © the artist and BWA Warszawa, photo Lores

Kama Sokolnicka, ted’, illuminated letters * on the roof of Bat’uv Institut, 2013. © the artist and BWA Warszawa *logo was built on the model of the first logo of Bata



radek szlaga

Constantly in Motion

We have been thinking about this interview for a long time. Radek Szlaga is one of the most interesting and independent artists of the young generation who surprises viewers with his art and energy. He creates while constantly traveling between Poland and the United States. A painter, sculptor and a creator of artistic objects. Only a few months before this interview, Szlaga’s exhibition Limited Dictionary was held at Detroit’s Trinosophes gallery and a month later, in December, he and Konrad Smoleński showcased their project/ performance Tribute to Errors at Performa 13 biennial — Polish Pavilion Without Walls in New York. A few weeks ago, Szlaga opened his latest exhibition at Czytelnia Sztuki in Gliwice (Poland) where he comes from. In the meantime, we would like to invite you to read our interview with Radek. Contemporary Lynx: A picture of you is for me a picture of an artist on a constant journey, an artist hovering between various places but also between various ways of artistic expression. You were born in Silesia but your family originally comes from the mountains. You studied in Poznan but you live in Warsaw now. Your family immigrated to the United States. Your works are in a constant motion, change. They are paintings but also objects. Your characters


Radek Szlaga. © the artist, photo Marek Wysoczynski

are “walking out” of the canvasses. They are installations, performative actions. How is this connected to your search for your own place in the world, your roots? Radek Szlaga: Yes. “Constantly in motion” like in the song by Kosmetyki Mrs Pinki. The 80s are about Gliwice, lack of everything, memories of lines to buy some coffee or toilet paper, permanent crisis, my father in the United States — staying two years on a tourist visa, adventure. Then everything is falling apart event more. Free elections, Teletombola lottery, Stan Tyminski etc. My father comes back, we buy a house in the countryside, move out from Silesia in a gray Polonez car. Then Opole, Zielona Góra, and Poznan for a little longer. After studies: generational experience, ethos of emigration, London, Berlin, and every now and then Detroit in the United States where my family emigrated in the meantime. That is true, I think I do run all the time. Even my dreams often look like platform games with a moving target. What is more, I see reality from many different perspectives and consequently I find it difficult to identify with one greater idea or environment. I believe in nothing. I am a loner (I think about myself this way) though quite likeable one and, as for a loner, having quite many friends. However, I believe there is a part of me that cannot be understood by others and I cannot talk about with anyone. My art is about this fraction of “my extremely complex personality.” (What is missing here is a punctuation mark suggesting an ironic tone, and this is not an emoticon ;)) This art is about a place or rather its lack and about the necessity of finding this place and putting it on a map together with all other important information extracted from the depths. It is a history and geography of lack and excess. Creole myths of identity written in mixed dialects. The map and beautifully even segments where I note what just seems to me and what I

know for sure. The next day I feel embarrassed by my own naivety. I am still painting the same picture. It is unfinished, unclosed, in an endless update. And even when I go beyond the traditional medium, it is still thinking through painting. I remain faithful to painting — we are still together but we live in an open relationship. I think of the world as a picture in paint and this way of thinking defines everything I do.

This art is about a place or rather its lack and about the necessity of finding this place and putting it on a map together with all other important information extracted from the depths. CL: What does Detroit mean to you? Is it your home, a place you sentimentally return to, Little Poland? Or is it more universally a symbol of change, of demythologization of America as a country of success? RS: It is a bit of everything you mentioned. It is a fallen city, post-apocalyptic behemoth. A monster embracing our small Polish ghetto from all sides. It is my mom, dad, brother, Midwest, “insiura”, a store with Polish “kielbasa” (‘ponglish’ for insurance and sasage – CL) arguments with family, all these beautiful traditions brought to America from the Old Country and pretended so well that they become more real than the originals. It is the imperfection of the new language, racism and reverse racism (Detroit is a black city), private stories of alienation, post-colonialism, etc. that become part of a larger narrative. They turn out to be surprisingly versatile. This city is a left side of my body and of majority of my works. It is an inseparable part of my cosmos. Visually, it resembles Warsaw: not extensively beautiful and to a large extent ruined, although they are at two totally different points in history.


CL: Recently, your work has been referring more and more to private subjects, to the notion of being torn between Poland and America where your family lives. What is so appealing in a vision of combining these two seemingly distinct worlds? RS: Postmodernism accustomed us to combining everything with everything. It is confusion cuisine (a reference to the fusion cuisine but also to the word “confusing” – CL). Finally, however, everything tastes very similar. In the long run, the total freedom seems to me quite tiresome and unbearable. I am very suspicious of big words, narratives imposed by some people on others or of finished scenarios. I appreciate small and simple things. That is why I paint food, fauna, flora, portraits, landscapes

and colors. I allow myself to have a ludic sense of humor — something basic you cannot argue with, a type of unsophisticated wisdom or rural philosophy which serves as an antidote to the complexity of the world. A single run or a simple mistake may turn into a center around which I create new paintings, echoes, repetitions. It is me who formulates the rules and it is the area where I feel completely free and have much to say. It is why I create my own worlds, even if the process resembles extraction rather than fusion. I’m trying to organize these various threads into systems, dictionaries, lexicons. It is a kind of obsession, but it is does not harm anyone… but me. CL: Exactly, at first glance your works seem very light and full of humor, as if you looked

Radek Szlaga, Heart of darkness / Jądro ciemności, 2014, oil on canvas, 50 x 53 cm. © the artist and LETO Gallery


at things through rose-tinted glasses or took them with a pinch of salt. However, when we go deeper, the humor gives way to a kind of bitterness and harsh criticism. RS: I paint every day. Painting is my language, though by the lack of written rules I should rather say—my dialect. Most of what I think about is then being reflected in my works. I read too much but what I read is certainly not what I should read. A have a serious problem with that. Generally, I represent the worldview of the last wiser person I talked to. I cannot help it. I know nothing, and life punishes and scourges for that. From this impotence of learning stems bitterness, but also great, so to say, sophisticated humor. I really like what Oskar Dawicki or Cezary Bodzianowski do. The irony is able to pierce this affectation balloon I associate with the art created in Poland, this Great Sadness which is the experience of this nation and the history of this place. But I do not calculate that, it depends on which side of the bed I wake up on. CL: In your work, you combine two worlds: the old one — Poland and the new one — Detroit. You create a hybrid, merged image of the two, where old women with scarfs on their heads and Polish villagers exist next to Afro-Americans, Neanderthals, mammoths and hens. You create some kind of a cocktail/shake, where all ingredients intertwine. What kind of world do you want to show us? RS: I guess, the term ‘Afro-Americans’ is no longer correct. Mammoths reflect old times, fascination with simulacra, and all that nonsense. It is my way of dealing with postmodernism. It is going beyond its unrestricted and unlimited freedom. I try to give meaning and content to all the things I do, e.g. through everyday realization of my failure. “The underworld of a small narrative.” Cut n’ Paste, or rather “Chop n’ Screw,

Radek Szlaga, Eat Me, 2009, mixed media on canvas, 50 x 50 cm. © the artist, photo Contemporary Lynx

where irony does not preclude involvement, but it probably stems from the type of sensibility shaped by black culture (of which I am a devoted fan) and confronted with the brownness of paneling, with elastane socks and the mindset with still reverberating Soviets. CL: Your two exhibitions opened in New York and Detroit a few months ago. Could you tell us how this collaboration started? Did your last year’s participation at the Frieze art fair in NY contributed to this? If so, how? RS: To be honest, I do not think so. Frieze was a great adventure. We sailed with Honza (Honza Zamojski, artist and designer born in 1981 – CL) and the Filipino crew for many days and when on this rickety container ship, we did create all the artifacts, which we later traded at the fair. It swayed terribly. But frankly I do not know what impact it had on our subsequent participation in New York’s PERFORMA. I do not want to analyze it. Despite the fact that we were together in Penerstwo, my present collaboration with Konrad Smoleński has been our first such close cooperation. He is a titan. I have great respect for him. My Detroit exhibition started somewhat differently. It was proposed to me by Rebecca Mazzei — responsible for MOCAD’s


Radek Szlaga, M (Limited Dictionary), 2013, 42,5 x 62,5 cm, mixed media on paper. © the artist

“special projects”— after her visit to Warsaw. At the time she was in Warsaw I was showcasing my “Freedom Club” at the Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle. It was probably this exhibition that had impressed her (irony, again) .. CL: What does painting mean to you? How do you perceive it? RS: I appreciate its primal simplicity, its limitations. They determine the topics and the way of working. I grew up more with newer media, my sensitivity developed thanks to music rather than albums by surrealists or Arcimboldo. I am aware of the limits of painting but I like it, I respect it. CL: What does the process of your work look like? How do you to collect materials for your projects? RS: I am loyal to painting, but the way I work is constantly changing; I do not allow myself any


routine. Recently I washed a few works, which unfortunately turned out to be a complete disaster. I sew a lot. I use old, never finished paintings, choose their worst parts and sew them with a sewing machine I got from my father. I call this method “chop n’ sew,” in reference to the type of music of the black ghettos in southern States: very original, so as not to use the word primitive; something impossible to talk about. CL: I remember that when I first looked at your works I thought about an American painter Richard Prince who utilizes quite similar mode of expression and composition. Are there any artists that have a particularly strong impact on you, or whose works move you more than others’? RS: Yes, but they twinkle in the firmament of my fascination and then disappear. Richard Prince – true, I like him. In the past it was Nikifor, Basquiat, Wróblewski, Sasnal, Peter Doig (or rather his lifestyle) and today it is Christopher

Wool, Mike Kelley, Chris Burden, trash, dirt and darkness, with a hint of sensitivity in the moments of weakness so it does not look this bad. I appreciate people devoted to what they do, regardless of the medium or aesthetics. I do not believe the kids who use the language of the older artists from previous generations. I think that honesty and authenticity without calculating or following the trends and “good advice” are the greatest values in today’s art.

I think that honesty and authenticity without calculating or following the trends and “good advice” are the greatest values in today’s art.

CL: For some time, you have been cooperating with BNNT over some of your projects. How does their sound complete your work? RS: Sometimes I think they are musical equivalent of my painting – some aspects of

it. If I had a talent for music (although I lack the charisma and courage to appear in public) I would be probably doing something similar to what they do, though something even more idiomatic; it would be difficult to talk about. CL: Whenever we talk, you are always working on something new, planning new projects. Do you have any new finished projects? RS: I have a few. In a few days we are opening an exhibition in Gliwice. I have not been there for 25 years. I’ll be showing you things that during this time I have created in different places I was associated with. We will take a look at it all and try to arrange it in a meaningful whole; a map of the world. CL: Thank you for this conversation and we will keep our fingers crossed for your projects. Interviewed by Dobromila Blaszczyk Translated by Urszula Płoch-Syhłowyj

Radek Szlaga, Colonies / Kolonie, 2013, oil on canvas. © the artist


Polish Artists at Art|45|Basel

Every single year, a small Swiss city, located where the German and French borders meet, attracts the leading gallerists, collectors, art enthusiasts and representatives of both public and private artistic organizations. The 45th Art Basel Show, deemed to be one of the most prominent art platforms in the world, takes place mid-June in Basel. Traditionally, two Polish galleries were put on the list of this year’s exhibitors. The Foksal Gallery Foundation and the Starmach Gallery could easily be dubbed as the regulars. The Foundation from Warsaw participated in the Art Galleries 11 times (plus one time at Art Statements), whereas the Starmach Gallery contributed its pieces to the exhibition for the 12th time. Before we go to the heart of the matter, it seems worth mentioning that an even stronger juxtaposition of the contemporary and modern art on this year’s show was particularly striking and characteristic of it. A number of galleries decided to put on display the classic pieces next to the works of younger – and thus less known and cheaper – artists. According to some commentators, this form of presentation is rooted in the need to justify and further stabilize the prices; to


validate the class and quality of some works by means of contrast and consequently to steer the visitors towards a more valuable investment. It seems, that the Foksal Gallery Foundation takes a similar business approach. Although conventionally the sector 2.0, situated on the ground floor, exhibits the classics only and the sector 2.1 is available for the galleries which represent newly emerging artists, the stand of the Foksal Gallery Foundation featured the early works of Edward Krasiński side by side with the ones created by artists of a next generation who have already established their strong position on the market, such as Monika Sosnowska and Paweł Althamer. Nevertheless, this year the gallery focused on the undoubtedly traditional medium, namely the painting. The series of Wilhelm Sasnal’s paintings, whose works are exhibited by the galleries at nearly all the fairs, immediately caught one’s attention. The pieces by Paulina Ołowska, Piotr Janas and surrealist-like paintings by Julian Ziółkowski were exhibited by Foksal Gallery Foundation as well. Like always, the Cracow Starmach Gallery presented its works in the Art Galleries section on the ground floor. Adhering to its profile, the

Goshka Macuga, Untitled (in progress), 2014, tapestry, 260 x 300 cm, Galerie Rüdiger Schöttle. © Andrzej Szczepaniak for Contemporary Lynx

gallery featured the classic works of Polish artists whose names are very well-known both in Poland and abroad. This year, however, the gallery provided the viewers with an opportunity to explore them from a slightly altered perspective. The gallery usually opts for the abstract geometry and its main exponent Henryk Stażewski, whose works were also displayed on this show. This year however the pieces by Edward Krasiński (interestingly enough, a friend of Stażewski, who shared the studio with him for years) were the most preeminent. His artworks certainly scored a bull’s-eye. An anonymous collector from the US purchased the work entitled “What For?” from 1964 within the first hour of this show and even prior to its official opening. The next minute a subtle and ingenious “Intervention I” was acquired to a private collection in Germany. These were not the only sales done by the gallery. The abstract reliefs by Henryk Stażewski, including his early museum quality Relief from 1958 enjoyed big popularity.

On the other hand, a certain rawness reigned on the gallery’s stand alongside the extremely aesthetic works. The subject of the organicity and transitoriness was explored in the jute sculptures of Magdalena Abakanowicz, the objects/cans by Tadeusz Kantor and the paintings by Roman Opałka derived from the series “Numerical Alphabet” created before the artist’s signature canvas with the rows of numbers. What is more, two objects by Alina Szapocznikow were also shown by the gallery: “Ventre-coussin” and “Sculpture-Lamp”. Especially the latter created a considerable stir amongst visitors, since most of typical and simple elements of the lamps designed by the artist were served in this case in a remarkably attractive form. Furthermore, it is worth highlighting the fact, that Alexander S. C. Rower, the Director of the Calder Foundation based in New York (and a grandchild of Alexander Calder) listed Alina Szapocznikow’s pieces among the Top Five of


Monika Sosnowska, Untitled, 2012, sculpture artwork at The Modern Institute, Halle 2.1 P3 P3. © Andrzej Szczepaniak for Contemporary Lynx

the Best Works exhibited on this year’s show. “The Lampe-buche” from 1966, presented by the Andrea Rosen Gallery in New York, received the most accolades. The gallery’s stand featured multiple works of Alina Szapocznikow. Additionally, two more objects from the same series were on display during the Art Basel Show, namely the early polyester lamps with the ruby glowing lips, two drawings and so called “The Photosculpture”, a series of photographs from 1971 rarely associated with the creative style represented by Szapocznikow. The vivid interest in her works and, let’s be honest, the galleries themselves which profess an immense commercial and artistic potential lying in these works, contribute to the exponential growth in a number of galleries willing to exhibit Alina Szapocznikow’s artwork. The Berinson Gallery from Berlin exemplifies the trend perfectly, since it displayed, for the very first time, two drawings by the artist, one of which is worth 60,000€. Moreover, Hendrik Berinson, the gallery’s owner well-known for his keen interest in the avant-garde artists (Roman Opałka, Samuel Szczekacz, Franciszek & Stefan Themerson and


Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz) showed the works of Wacław Szpakowski. Furthermore, the gallery sprung a surprise by presenting two works on paper by Andrzej Wróblewski whose pieces hadn’t been exhibited by this gallery before. In spite of being considered a classic Polish artist and one of the leading representatives of the Polish avantgarde movement, his works are yet to be fully appreciated by the public. His “status” let alone his artistic achievements have only recently gathered momentum in his homeland. Hardly has he marked his presence on the international artistic arena. His last solo exhibition outside the Polish borders was held four years ago, in 2010, by the Van Abbemmuseum in Eindhoven (after quite a long absence of an important artist capable of creating such poignant works)! The Nordenhake Gallery didn’t deliver any surprises by presenting the works of Mirosław Bałka. The artist uses raw materials and incredibly minimalistic forms to design delicate objects that set audience members on the trail of the issues connected with memory, body and its dimensions, the private and public history. One could also stumble upon his works on the stand of the Juana de Aizpuru Gallery.

Monika Sosnowska’s object was displayed by the London-based Modern Institute/Toby Webster Ltd. Its form resembled a typical carpet beating stand that was uprooted from the ground together with a block of cement. The form, which a person can still remember from their childhood, was distorted by memory and passing time. The works on paper and especially a beautiful tapestry/installation by Goshka Macuga were on view on the stand of the Galerie Rüdiger Schöttle. Traditionally the artist decided to incorporate photographs and archive materials into her work. In other words, the silent bits and pieces of the past build a narrative with the history, the history of art and politics. Besides the Foksal Gallery Foundation, the works of Paulina Ołowska were exhibited also by another institution – namely the Simon Lee Gallery. A piece by Michał Budny was shown by the Galerie nächst St. Stephan Rosemarie Schwarzwälder. The artists’ line-up certainly did not come as a surprise this year. To be honest, like last year, the galleries exercised their choice to present the most profitable options. We also need to acknowledge the participation of the younger generation like Tomasz Kowalski, whose plane painted pictures with strong outlines depict themselves in the aesthetics partly surrealistic, partly evoking the spirit of German expressionism of early 20th century or even the fairy tale illustrations. His works are eclectic in terms of not only the technique and stylistics, but also the stories told by them. They recount the tales straight out of the subconsciousness whose plot reaches towards the small-town events and places in Szczebrzeszyn – the artist’s hometown. His paper drawings were exhibited by the carlier | gebauer Gallery in Berlin which represents the artist. Furthermore, the visitors could see an installation of Alicja Kwade presented by the Johann König Gallery. A painting by Anna Ostoya, whose exhibition is currently hosted by La Kunshalle Mulhouse, was featured on the stand of the

Bortolami Gallery. The object by Jan Wawrzyniak was on display thanks to the Galerie m Bochum also Andrew Kreps Gallery showed the work by Honza Zamojski. This year a team Slavs and Tatars participated in the Art Basel Show with their work “Kitab Kebab” from 2014 presented at the stand of Three Star Books. Last year their works were exhibited by Warsaw-based Gallery Raster at LISTE Fair (held at the same time as Art Basel). In 2012, the Slavs and Tatars’ artwork was featured in the Art Statements section of the Art Basel Show. Written by Dobromila Blaszczyk Translated by Karolina Jasińska Edited by Contemporary Lynx

Honza Zamojski, Andrew Kreps Gallery. © LETO Gallery


Jakub Julian Ziółkowski, Untitled, from the series Insomnia, 2012, monotype on paper. © the artist, Hauser & Wirth Foksal Gallery Foundation


Surreal Journey Photostory



Bruno Schulz, Groteska. Kataryniarz na Podworku, 1936, drawing, 16,9cm x 19,9cm, Collection of Emanuel Ringelblum, courtesy of Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw. © Contemporary Lynx, Mulhouse, March 2014

Jakub Julian Ziółkowski, Untitled, from the series Insomnia, 2012, monotype on paper. © the artist, Hauser & Wirth Foksal Gallery Foundation


Jakub Julian Ziółkowski, Untitled, from the series Insomnia, 2012, monotype on paper. © the artist, Hauser & Wirth Foksal Gallery Foundation



Alina Szapocznikow, The Night of the Great Season, exhibition curated by Martha Kirszenbaum, La Kunsthalle in Mulhouse, general view. © Contemporary Lynx

Jakub Julian Ziółkowski, Planet, 2012, 144 x 111 cm,

Tomasz Kowalski, Untitled (Teeth), The Night of the Great Season, La Kunsthalle in Mulhouse, France. © Contemporary Lynx


Erna Rosenstein, the exhibition vie

oil on canvas. © the artist, Hauser & Wirth Foksal Gallery Foundation

ew, The Night of the Great Season, La Kunsthalle in Mulhouse, France. © Contemporary Lynx, Mulhouse, March 2014

Tomasz Kowalski, Untitled (Tongue), 2012, oil on canvas. © the artist and Carlier Gebauer, Berlin

Jakub Julian Ziolkowski, exhibition The Night of the Great Season curated by Martha Kirszenbaum, La Kunsthalle in Mulhouse, general view. © Contemporary Lynx



Alina Szapocznikow, Autoportrait II, 1966, bronze. © Piotr Stanislawski Loevenbruck Gallery, Paris, photo Contemporary Lynx

Document by Andrzej Wajda, Umarla Klasa by Tadeusz Kantor, TVP, 1976. © Contemporary Lynx


Alina Szapocznikow, Autoportrait II, 1966, bronze. Š Piotr Stanislawski Loevenbruck Gallery, Paris, photo Contemporary Lynx


berlin basel london birmingham paris basel new york

czech republic venice rome

Mind the Map Contemporary

Art Basel

Switzerland 74

Jaroslaw Kozlowski “Empathy of Mr Hitler for Mr S


Natalia Lach-Lachowicz “I am”

Czech Republic

Lynx / traveller

Stalin and vice versa”

Biennale Architettura The Polish Pavilion venice


Konrad Smoleński “VOID. If The Universe Is Expanding, Are We Drifting Apart Too?”

Eustachy Kossakowski and Go Kate MacGarry Gallery





Tatiana Wolska “Les Modules”, Palais de Tokyo

Joanna Rajkowska “Soon Everything Will Change



oshka Macuga

Iza Tarasewicz Künstlerhaus Bethanien


Lynx / traveller


Piotr Skiba MAK Gallery & Whitebox Art Center New York



Dorota Buczkowska, Swing, 2011, latex, helium, h: 600 cm, Biennale of Lorne Sculprture, Australia. Š the artist


Gabriel Orlowski, from the cycle Anti-accent. Š the artist and CIRCULATION(S) Festival of Young European Photography



Karolina Jonderko, from the cycle Lost. Š the artist and CIRCULATION(S) Festival of Young European Photography


Jerzy „Jurry” Zieliński, Untitled, 1975, oil on canvas, 90 x 100 cm, Olomouc 2014. © Contemporary Lynx



Zofia Kulik, The Splendour of Myself (V)-Daughter, Mother, Partner, 2007, fifteen multiple exposure black and white photographs, silver gelatin print, 254 x 182 cm. Š the artist and Art Stations Foundation


Jan Manski, Idol III, 2010 / 100 x 70 cm, colour photograph, soil, steel. Š the artist



Radek Szlaga, People of Dark / Ciemne Ludy, 2009, mixed media on paper, 74 x 60 cm. Š the artist and LETO Gallery


Adrian Kolerski, Pulses, 2013, object (525 cartboard modules), 180 x 150 cm. Š the artist



Konrad Smoleński, VOID. If The Universe Is Expanding, Are We Drifting Apart Too?, Winterthur. © the artist


Marek Piasecki, Untitled, 1958, heliograph, ferrotyped gelatin silver print, 24.3 x 17.6 cm. Š Mummery + Schnelle, London 2014



Alina Szapocznikow, Sculpture - Lamp, 1967, colored polyester, plastic, electric light, h: 72 cm, w: 30 cm. Š Starmach Gallery


Iza Tarasewicz: Collaborating Objects Radiating Environments. Š 2014 IG Photography, photo Ivo Gretener



Krzysztof Wodiczko, Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch, Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn, New York, photograph 1984-1985, 30 x 45 cm Š Profile Foundation


Michał Budny, Ashamed and Shameless. © Markus Wörgötter, courtesy Galerie nächst St. Stephan Rosemarie Schwarzwälder


cale ndar August

Künstlerhaus Bethanien (Kottbusser


Straße 10, Berlin, 10999, Germany)

Kasia Fudakowski. Stoikerinnen


(female stoics), June 13 - August

A Children’s Kingdom – Paweł

Vanitas – Ewig ist eh nichts, group

17, 2014, Kunstverein Harburger

Althamer and Friends, June 1 -

exhibition, among the artists: Paweł

Bahnhof (im Bahnhof über Gleis 3 & 4

September 21, 2014, Ludwig Forum

Athamer and Alicja Kwade, June 14 -

Hannoversche Strasse 85, Hamburg,

Aachen (Jülicher Strasse 97-109, Aachen,

August 31, 2014, Georg Kolbe Museum

21079, Germany)

52070, Germany)

(Sensburger Allee 25, Berlin, 14055, Germany)


Lillestrøm 1814 Revisited – The Past is Still

Oskar Hansen – Open Form, July 10,

Zofia Kulik: Instead of Sculpture

Present, among the artists: Artur

2014 - January 6, 2015, MACBA (Plaça

– Sequences 1968-71, May 2 –

Żmijewski, May 10 - September 14,

dels Àngels, 1, Barcelona, 08001, Spain)

September 13, 2014, ŻAK | BRANICKA

2014, Akershus Kunstsenter (Storgt. 4,

(Lindenstr. 35, 3rd Floor, Berlin, 10969,

Lillestrøm, 2000, Norway)


Germany) Lismore

Contemporary Art from the Daimler Art Collection with Design and


Wilhelm Sasnal: Take Me To The

Architecture, among the artists:

Konrad Smoleński. EVERYTHING

Other Side, April 18 - September 21,

Alicja Kwade, April 3 - November 2,


2014, Lismore Castle Arts (Lismore, Co.

2014, Daimler Contemporary Berlin,


Waterford, Ireland)

Haus Huth (Alte Potsdamer Straße 5,

August 17, 2014, CentrePasquArt

Berlin, 10785, Germany)

(CentrePasquArt, Biel, CH-2502,



The Human Factor. Uses of the Figure

DRAWN, among the artists: Mirosław

in Contemporary Sculpture, Hayward

Bałka, June 28 - July 26, 2014, Galerie


Gallery, among the artists: Paweł

Nordenhake GmbH (Lindenstrasse 34,

ÉRZÉKENYSÉG, the exhibition of

Althamer, June 10 – September 7,

DE-10969 Berlin, Germany)

the artists from Czułość Gallery

2014, Southbank Centre (Belvedere

from Warsaw, artists: Nampei

Road, London, SE1 8XX, United Kingdom)

Michał Jankowski. Good Night, June

Akaki, Franciszek Buchner, Lena

27 - September 13, ŻAK | BRANICKA

Dobrowolska, Paweł Eibel, Stanisław

Long Island City

(Lindenstr. 35, 3rd Floor, Berlin, 10969,

Legus, Weronika Ławniczak, Witek

Rockaway!, among the artists:


Orski, Janek Zamoyski, June 11

Dominik Lejman, June 29 - September

- August 19, 2014, Platán Galéria

1, 2014, MoMA PS1 (Rockaway Beach

Schere, Stein, Papier, among the

(Andrássy út.32, Budapest, 1061,

Surf Club on Beach 87th Street in

artists: Tomasz Baran, Cezary


Rockaway Beach)

July 4 - August 29, 2014, COLLECTIVA


Los Angeles

gallery (Brunnenstraße 152, Berlin,

(Mis)Understanding Photography,

The Space Between Us, among the

10115, Germany)

among the artists: Aneta

artists: Piotr Łakomy, July 19 –

Grzeszykowska, June 14 – August 16,

September 27, 2014, Fahrenheit (2245

Trail of Jules Verne, among the

2014, Folkwang Museum, 14 JUN - 16

E. Washington Blvd., Los Angeles, CA

artists: Alicja Kwade, Künstlerhaus

AUG 2014 (Museumsplatz 1, D-45128

90021, United States)

Bethanien, June 5 - August 3, 2014,


Poniatowski, Erwina Ziomkowska,



Architecture, among the artists:

Road, London, SE1 8XX, United Kingdom)

Public Address: Goshka Macuga

Alicja Kwade, April 3 - November 2,

Los Angeles

Tapestries, July 14 - August 31, Lunds

2014, Daimler Contemporary Berlin,

The Space Between Us, among the

konsthall (Mårtenstorget 3, Lund, 223

Haus Huth (Alte Potsdamer Straße 5,

artists: Piotr Łakomy, July 19 –

51, Sweden)

Berlin, 10785, Germany)

September 27, 2014, Fahrenheit (2245 E. Washington Blvd., Los Angeles, CA


Dominik Lejman, September 19 –

Project Gallery: Monika Sosnowska,

November 8, 2014, ŻAK | BRANICKA

December. 4, 2013 – September 28,

(Lindenstr. 35, 3rd Floor, Berlin, 10969,


2014, Pérez Art Museum Miami (1103


Project Gallery: Monika Sosnowska,

Biscayne Blvd., Miami, FL 33132, United

90021, United States)

December 4, 2013 – September 28, Michał Jankowski. Good Night, June

2014, Pérez Art Museum Miami (1103

27 - September 13, ŻAK | BRANICKA

Biscayne Blvd., Miami, FL 33132, United


(Lindenstr. 35, 3rd Floor, Berlin, 10969,


Anna Ostoya. Transpositions, June




4 - August 24, 2014, La Kunsthalle Mulhouse, (16 rue de la Fonderie,

Zofia Kulik: Instead of Sculpture

The Polish Pavilion at the Biennale

Mulhouse Cedex, 68093, France)

– Sequences 1968-71, May 2 –

Architettura 2014, IMPOSSIBLE

September 13, 2014, ŻAK | BRANICKA

OBJECTS, June 6 - November 23,

New York

(Lindenstr. 35, 3rd Floor, Berlin, 10969,

2014, Giardini, Venice, Italy

The Intuitionists, among the artists:


Upcoming Art Fairs

Maess, June 11 - August 24, 2014, The Drawing Center (35 Wooster Street, New


York, 10013, United States)

Krystian Truth Czaplicki.

Artissima, Internazionale d’Arte


Contemporanea, 7 - 9 November


5 – October 10, 2014, Galerie

2014, Oval - Lingotto Fiere, parking

The Polish Pavilion at the Biennale

des Polnischen Instituts Düsseldorf

entrance Via Nizza 230, pedestrian

Architettura 2014, IMPOSSIBLE

(Citadellstraße 7, D-40213 Düsseldorf,

entrance Via Nizza 294, I - 10126

OBJECTS, June 6 - November 23,


Torino, Italy


Frieze London, 15–18 October


1814 Revisited – The Past is Still

2014, The Regent’s Park with the

Natalia LL, Jestem! (I am), 7th New

Present, among the artists: Artur

entrance off Park Square West, NW1

Zlin Salon, May 14 - August 31,

Żmijewski, May 10 - September 14,

4NR, London, United Kingdom

2014, The Regional Gallery of Fine

2014, Akershus Kunstsenter (Storgt. 4,

Arts in Zlin, (Vavrečkova 7040, Zlin, 760

Lillestrøm, 2000, Norway)

2014, Giardini, Venice, Italy

2014, The Regent’s Park with the

01, Czech Republic)


Frieze Masters, 15–19 October


entrance off Park Square West, NW1

The Human Factor. Uses of the Figure

4NR, London, United Kingdom

in Contemporary Sculpture, Hayward Berlin

Gallery, among the artists: Paweł

Vienna International Art Fair, 2–5

Contemporary Art from the Daimler

Althamer, June 10 – September 7,

October 2014, Messe Wien, Austria,

Art Collection with Design and

2014, Southbank Centre (Belvedere

Hall A



Any collection of contemporary art moves and bends like a large river flows. It collects new histories as it expands as well as opening different channels of thought for fresh interpretations.� Timothy Persons




Profile for ContemporaryLynx

Contemporary Lynx Magazine #2  

Promoting Polish Contemporary Art

Contemporary Lynx Magazine #2  

Promoting Polish Contemporary Art