The Polish Contemporary Art Organisation is pleased to present our annual group exhibition in 2015 — Waves. It showcases Polish artists and artists of Polish ancestry at different stages of their artistic practice working with various media — photography, written word, painting, installation, collage and film. Waves are a metaphor for constant movement and influx of Polish talent to the British shores. It is connected with, but not exclusive to, the latest wave of migration that started in 2004 when Poland joined the EU. Over the centuries the UK has experienced an inflow of distinct skill, expertise, creativity and innovation from this Central European country, which has greatly contributed to the British art and culture. Whether inherited though blood bonds or freshly from the Fatherland the new wave of Polish talent is being showcased in this exhibition in the hope of making waves in the Western art world.
Artists taking part in the exhibition: Martyna Benedyka, Jakub Ceglarz, Nadège Druzkowski, Tashi Gore, Joanna Lubońska and Karolina Szpyrko. Further information about the exhibition: facebook.com/events/1663627163886152 The Polish Contemporary Art Organisation is a platform dedicated to promoting and exhibiting works by Polish contemporary artists at various stages in their careers. The PCAO is a non-profit initiative that aims to present thought-provoking mixed-media art to the Scottish as well as international public. It is also devoted to creating a common ground for artists to develop international networking and business opportunities with other likeminded individuals and institutions. The Polish Contemporary Art Organisation believes that art should be accessible to everyone, therefore we would like to promote understanding of modern art in an environment that is always welcoming, inspiring and informative.
There are a few contributors we would like to thank for their amazing work during these past few months, without whose help this exhibition wouldn’t have taken place. First and foremost we would like to thank the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Edinburgh for invaluable advice and financial support. We would like to thank Holly Knox Yeoman, the Exhibitions Manager who saw the potential in our project and provided us with the opportunity to exhibit at Summerhall. We also want to thank all participating artists who are taking part in this exciting and inspiring project. We hope that Waves will stir people’s minds and hearts and bring awareness of the importance and uniqueness of Polish contemporary art worldwide. For creating all promotional and marketing materials we would like to acknowledge our dear friend Dawid Nabiałek. He has taken PCAO’s ideas and made them far better than we have ever imagined.
Special thanks go to our sponsor and friend Bruce Williams, the co-owner of the Williams Brothers Brewery for supplying the beverages for the Opening Night. Special thanks to our wine co-sponsor, Yellow Bench restaurant on Leith Walk. We also wish to acknowledge all organisations, which kindly supported PCAO with promoting the exhibition. And last but not least, we would like to express our gratitude to Lilias Thain, our volunteers and the Summerhall staff for their commitment and hard work. Thank you all for coming to the exhibition. iGa BOzYK PaTrYCJa GODULa CUraTOrS
Martyna Anna Benedyka was born in 1991 in Gdańsk, Poland. She lives and creates between the UK and Poland. She has acquired a First Class BA in Painting from the Gray’s School of Art, The Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen. Martyna has exhibited in Poland, France and the UK and her works were featured in several publications. The fact that no two photographic prints are ever exactly the same is a perfect analogy of how Martyna also views painting. Photography taught her that memory is fragile and uncertain and through the painted surfaces, memories are recorded and transformed. Slowly created paintings allow her to surpass her limits — the memories are combined with what is here and now. Each step is taken with its own logic — there’s a lot of intuition and very little planning. Martyna’s paintings and photographs contain a poetic stillness as she encourages the viewer to pause through the act of looking. Transient moments are recorded and transformed into objects of beauty. It may happen that viewers will find themselves staring for what may seem to be hours at a possible wheel of cheese or a speculative bridge. Through her brush and lens, the everyday becomes more alluring and more beautiful.
Painting out of ordinary is quite fascinating to Martyna — it makes one piece grow out from the other. The same object can be depicted several times but painted from different angles, in close-ups or bird’s-eye view. Each paint-surface is a tiny fleeting moment transformed into poetic picture with its own past and is not always easily recognizable on a first view. She made an abstraction founded in reality — through a process of cumulative observation — the chief subject of her art. Martyna’s early oils showcased at the exhibition are titled Pseudologia Fantastica. It is a disorder whose sufferers create an alternative life for themselves based on a structure of compulsive lying that becomes increasingly blurred with reality. The shapes represented in the paintings are heavily inspired by several art exhibitions she went to whilst living in Paris and Vienna and monuments of Anish Kapoor. email@example.com martynabenedyka.com grayspainters.tumblr.com/ post/75919937505/artist-statements
BUST WiTH SPOONS / BUST WiTH BOOK / BUST WiTH NiPPLES / NOT aLL OF ME / H/S CONVERSATIONS
Jakub Jan Filip Ceglarz was born in 1986 in Nowy Targ, Poland, and now he lives and creates in Birmingham. In 2011 he received a BA in Fine Art from Middlesex University in London. After finishing his MA at Birmingham Institute of Art and Design, he is pursuing his PhD research in ideas of the Palimpsest, Queer Enactments and Translation at the same institute. He has exhibited in Belgium, Poland and in various cities in the UK. Jakub has written articles regarding his field of expertise, participated in academic conferences and undertook teaching MA Fine Art and MA Queer Strategies in Art and Culture at Birmingham Art School. He is also a winner of several awards. Jakub is interested in sensual and visceral understanding of the ‘making’ in artistic practice. His work deals with the illegibility and embodiment of forms by articulation of the text, and by means of translation. He looks at the text and its influence in art as the connection between image and body. The artist works in performance, video, photography, writing and installation, which allow him to explore the possibilities of queering. Jakub’s current PhD research project deals with the concept of palimpsest by looking at it from the perspective of Queer Theory and the ‘making’ of the artwork.
The project presented at the exhibition is an amalgamation of several art pieces in different mediums, which revolve around the subjects of his interest, as outlined above. Queer Theory is a set of ideas based around the thought that identities are not fixed and do not determine who we are. It suggests that it is meaningless to talk in general about ‘women’ for example or any other group, as identities consist of a number of elements. According to this philosophy, it is wrong to perceive people collectively on the basis of one shared characteristic. In general, queer focuses on ‘mismatches’ between sex, gender and desire. The theory has been mostly associated with bisexual, lesbian and gay subjects, but its analytic framework also includes such topics as cross-dressing, intersex, gender ambiguity, and gendercorrective surgery. firstname.lastname@example.org kubaceglarz.blogspot.co.uk www.theory.org.uk/ctr-que1.htm
FLiMSY rEaLiTiES / ELUSiVE MEMOriES
Nadège Druzkowski was born in Montbrison, France in 1979. Primarily a painter, the artist also works with video. Nadège lives and works in Lyon and Glasgow. She has attained an MA in Media & Journalism from the Paris Institute for Political Studies (Sciences-Po Paris), MA in Fine Arts from the Byam Shaw School of Art, Central Saint Martins, London and MLitt (Master of Letters) in Fine Art Practice from the Glasgow School of Art. Nadège has exhibited in Iceland, Ireland, Finland, Belgium, and in numerous cities in France and Great Britain. She has been awarded many residencies and grants, acquired teaching and curatorial experience working on various projects. The artist contributes to several publications on a regular basis.
According to Nadège, our memories are nothing but reconstructions. Beneath a genuine representation, they are just sophisticated fabrications of the mind, past episodes constantly reshaped in the shadow of present events. The reality we acknowledge as fixed becomes something more complex, multi-facetted. It morphs into fiction. Her work embarks on an exploration of that fine line between the real and the illusory, a world where time itself dissolves in a dream-like state. The presented paintings are from the Flimsy Realities and Elusive Memories series, which are freely inspired by Marcel Proust’s novel In search for the lost time. The famous novel’s initial title was The intermittences of the Heart but it was changed to the one we all know today. Nadège’s paintings reflect a distorted memory, where fiction and reality intertwine in a labyrinth neither linear nor continuous. email@example.com www.ndart.fr carnetsndart.blogspot.co.uk
MY GRaNDMOTHEr’S CHair
Tashi Gore was born in 1981 in London but lives and creates in Glasgow. She has acquired a BA in Contemporary Theatre Practice and a Post Graduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Arts Education from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Tashi is a producer and performance maker who works predominately within a socially engaged context. She makes performance and artwork inspired by people and places and has been involved in a wide variety of creative projects and collaborations in her career both in the UK and abroad. As an artist, she believes in using creative actions to offer a place for conversations, meeting points, and as a catalyst towards conviviality. For the past ten years Tashi has been engaged as Artistic Co-director and Producer of Glas(s) Performance, an organization she co-founded with longterm collaborator Jess Thorpe. She has also worked as a freelance theatre Director, Producer and Consultant and as a Visiting Lecturer at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. There, she continues to deliver creative projects and mentors students. Her work in higher education has led her to develop an interest in the process of supporting emerging artists and creating a critical framework for the creation of new work.
My Grandmother’s Chair installation, presented at the exhibition, is a part of a project (awarded Artist Bursary from Creative Scotland) which attempts to explore her own family’s autobiography through practice. One of the stories frequently told by Tashi’s grandmother, a Polish Jew, was of the day her family had to escape Poland in the wake of Nazi invasion. She and her parents left Warsaw in the middle of the night on the 3rd of September 1939. Tashi’s grandfather siphoned the petrol from his car to theirs, and told them he would meet them in a small town on the Polish border. Having this and other stories in mind, on the 3rd of September 2014, exactly 75 years after her grandmother left Poland, Tashi decided to retrace her journey back to Warsaw from London. The artist carried her grandmother’s armchair, a witness of all the Tashi’s family stories, as a tribute to them as well as an attempt to understand their story in a contemporary context. Working with the documentation from her journey from London to Warsaw — which includes her grandmother’s armchair, photographs and written texts — the artist has developed an installation that explores ideas of identity, migration and home. firstname.lastname@example.org mygrandmotherschair.wordpress.com www.glassperformance.co.uk www.junction-25.com www.albertdrive.com
THE PLaSTiC VOrTEX
Joanna Lubońska was born in 1981 in Limanowa, Poland. She has obtained an MA degree in Artistic Education in the Field of Fine Arts, Graphic Design at the University of Silesia in Cieszyn, Poland. Joanna has exhibited in Edinburgh, and she is the author of a series of illustrations in a book of poetry, commissioned in 2013 by the Falkirk District Women’s Aid. Her specialities are fine art and tapestry, as well as creative design, advertising, video, graphic design, packaging and textiles. Joanna is a young artist, living and working in Scotland. Since 2012, she has been working as a freelancer for one of the graphic design companies based in Edinburgh. Last year she founded her very own Curiosum Design studio, which is based in Leith. Joanna’s project titled The Plastic Vortex emerges as an immersive environment consisting of over 200 semi spheres made up from over 20,000 plastic cups. Through her project, the artist brings our attention to the fact that we live in the age of mass production. The throwaway society we belong to produces an ever-increasing, uncontrollable amount of plastic waste that piles up in our landfills and seas. By the means of her artwork, Joanna outlines the necessity to recycle more and use less.
The path going through the installation represents the cycle of the great rubbish vortex, which is now accumulating in the Pacific Ocean. The amount of plastic cups creates a carefully arranged geometric shape. The structures, multiplied several times create an even larger hemisphere/biomorphic form. The shape of the hemispheres is a result of the shape of the cups, and the method of attaching them together. Also their arrangement — attached side by side to the walls, ceiling and floor, creates a huge, dense structure. The homogeneous colour (white or transparent) and multiplication of shapes aim to give an impression of order and aesthetic harmony. email@example.com www.curiosumdesign.com society6.com/curiosumdesign www.unstablecreations.com
LGBT FiLM FESTiVaL DiGiTaL COLLaGES
Karolina Szpyrko was born in 1989 in Wrocław, Poland. She currently lives and creates in Oxford. Karolina is an artist, curator and theorist specialising in queer theory, gender studies and feminism with a particular interest in queer and avant-garde cinema. She has performed and exhibited across the UK and in 2013 completed a dissertation on Jack Smith with the University of Warwick’s Department of Film & Television Studies. Throughout her academic career she has been passionate about combining her sociological insights with both her artistic interests (film, art performance) and current politics. Her dedication to the study of feminists and queer theories and methodologies has fuelled both her Undergraduate (BA Honours in Applied Social Sciences), and her Master’s (MA in Film and Television Studies) essays and dissertations. As an art performance practitioner she has always used her academic work as an inspiration for her performances in which she typically expresses uncertainties of sexual identity and boundaries of gender normality. Apart from this, her great inspirations are memory and dreams.
Karolina always seeks to bring academic skills and knowledge to the art and film projects she has undertaken, working for a number of cultural institutions (the Limousine Bull, Aberdeen; the Roots Gallery, Coventry). She has organized a number of film projection events at the Film and Television Department at University of Warwick, and many art performance exhibitions both in Aberdeen and Coventry. She was the main organiser at the Art Performance Mini Festival in Aberdeen 2012. As an intern she has helped to organise two major queer film festivals: Queer Lisboa in Portugal and Mezipatra Queer Film Festival in Prague, Czech Republic. For most of the last year she has been a curator/programmer and an event coordinator at the film distribution company Imago Film/LGBTQ Film Festival Poland, and she has also organised a beach festival of performing arts ‘Da Dee A(r)t’ in Aberdeen. Works presented at this exhibition are a set of collages created for the LGBT Film Festival 2014, Warsaw, Poland. firstname.lastname@example.org karolina-szpyrko.tumblr.com
DESiGNED BY DaWiD NaBiaﾅ・K / NaBiaLEK.NET
'Waves' – exhibition guide