- This event has passed.
Cracow:Michalina Bigaj, Bartek Buczek, Maciej Cholewa, Kamil Kukla, Ewa Sadowska.
December 3, 2016 @ 7:00 pm - January 4, 2017 @ 12:00 pm
The Art That Can’t Be Seen/CA-MOU-FLAGE
The Grey House Foundation Competition Finalist Exhibition
Artists: Michalina Bigaj, Bartek Buczek, Maciej Cholewa, Kamil Kukla, Ewa Sadowska
Opening and prize winner announcement: 3 December 2016, 7 p.m.
The art that can’t be seen. Obviously, it doesn’t mean it does not exist! A technique of mimicry or, as in this case, of camouflage is effective insofar as it allows infiltrating multifarious spaces, niches and circumstances. After all, art, hybrid in its nature, should stand above divisions, milieus, fields and regimes. It should appear and disappear, while maintaining a distance from the story of the infamous emperor’s clothes. The key figure is in this case the figure of the author, who might be helpful in the process of interpretation, or with childlike glee throw cold water on the crowd: Is this art? I can’t see it.
This year’s Grey House Foundation Prize finalist exhibition extends along the axes of two concepts: the artist vs. society and nature vs. culture. Their composition in antagonistic juxtaposition will assist not only an analysis of the art presented at the exhibition, but, first of all, of the figure of the artist behind it: a staffage, a villain, a real and surreal observer, a trickster. Here’s the artist – what about society? Well, everyone knows – society is unkind.
Let us play a shrink then, deciphering who and what hides behind the ‘camouflage’ in the title? The very arrangement of the exhibition, exceptionally dense this year, will not make our task easier. One would look in vain for image captions and clear limits between works of individual authors. The works organically react to one another, naturally blending into one whole and creating an ideal camouflage for the concept of the competition behind them.
The artists on show employ various strategies of mimicry: accommodation, blending into the environment (both natural and social), or an indifferent standing-aside, only to momentarily join into the game at the first opportunity. The need for camouflage makes visible their incompatibility, or a hostility of clashing worlds.
The case of Bartek Buczek’s works suggests the adage that the best defence is a good offence. However, the artist does not charge himself, but leaves the dirty job to a villain – the role is played by his black- -metal alter ego. In Michalina Bugaj’s, camouflage surfaces in a more literal assimilation into nature. A gentle, pacified nature leaves a mark on the artist which sometimes is painful. The mark makes visible the primal tension between a natural beauty and an ornamental aesthetisation. The theme of mimicry is developed in the work of Maciej Cholewa by allowing a viewer’s sight to wander in search of a human figure skilfully camouflaged by thickets. His work has the greatest relevance to the theme of masking and the figure of an observer investigating the language of documentary narrative.
In viewing Ewa Sadowska’s pieces, we spy on the artist in a network of interpersonal relations – on a micro-scale of a family, in her case. We are not far from the macro scale and the question: how do the contemporary young artists function in a wider spectrum of social relations; are they noticed, or, indeed, appreciated? Kamil Kukla begins his paintings with organic forms, transforming them to the point of their erasure in compliance with an abstract painter’s stroke. Art takes revenge and starts to dictate its terms to nature.