In the previous part of our account of the trip to the Czech Republic we have described only a part of events in which Polish artists participated.
For in the same place where last year Kama Sokolnicka presented her neon prepared for the Prostor Zlin exhibition, another artist from Poland has been invited to participate in 7th New Zlin Salon 2014 this year. This festival takes place in Zlin every three years. It is dedicated to Czech and Slovak visual arts and its main aim is to present the latest and the most up-to-date phenomena in visual arts. The highlights of this year’s programme were two exhibitions by acclaimed Czech artists – Jana Želibská and Miloš Šejn, whose art refers to landscape and human body. In this very context, third individual exhibition accompanying the festival was dedicated to one of the most well-known artists taking up the topic of feminist art which is focused on the role, reception and functioning of women as well as female body in a masculine society.
The works of Natalia LL – as she is the one referred to here, were presented by the Regional Gallery of Fine Arts in Zlin. The exhibition I am has been composed of the artist’s oeuvre from the seventies. Along with the works coming from the best-known cycles such as Consumer Art and Post-consumer Art, from 1972 and 1975 respectively, a video, Consumer Art from 1972, 1974 and 1975, was screened. For a more detailed description of these works, click here.
These works were accompanied by a little less known collection of photographs, also from mid-seventies, entitled Natalia ist sex. The collection includes very intimate photos showing a sexual intercourse between two anonymous people. The privacy of this subject matter has been additionally highlighted by a small size of the prints. In my opinion, however, the way of presentation also posed the question about the necessity of the presence of a viewer in such a private moment, about thing that are for show/ for sale. Where is the boundary where this extremely intimate situation between two people is transformed into something public and virtually losing all human qualities – the body becomes an object.
It is worth noting that on the occasion we had the opportunity to acquaint ourselves with the most recent publication on the artist, which will be published in Poland by the end of July. We recommend it to everyone wishing to learn more about her art, especially as Contemporary Lynx had taken patronage over it.
A bit further – in Brno there was a small group exhibition entitled Box: Krakow at Industra, yet worth mentioning, presenting the works of a group of young artists from Krakow – recent graduates of Krakow’s Academy of Fine Arts. Among the works of Sebastian Bożek, Mateusz Hajdo, Aleksandra Idasiak, Ewelina Kaliszczuk, Adrian Kolerski, Krzysztof Marchlak, Anna Pichura, Zuzanna Rokita and Olga Ząbroń, unsettling mechanical sculpture-dolls by Mateusz Hajdo definitely attracted our attention. They invoke the spirit of Bellmer’s experiments or dolls in Marek Piasecki’s pictures. However, they go beyond mere surrealist transformation of the motif of puppet or toy. They are provocative, tempting and on the other hand repulsive through their reconstruction, depriving of their “entrails” and violent transformation into robots, mechanical-futuristic visions of a female body. I associated these installations (as there is no connection of ideas or intentions between the artists or curators) with the works of Natalia LL I had just watched. Objectifying female body, bringing it down to the role of an object, puppet has been brought to extremes in Brno.
Adrian Kolerski’s work is completely different, as far as aesthetics and way of expression are concerned (interview with him has been recently published on the website). His black and white painting, like a wrinkled sheet of paper with signs of wearing in the places where the paper was wrinkled, is the artist’s elaborate and laborious play on chosen technique and texture. It is most of all an attempt to capture the process of creation itself, the gesture of emergence of picture/ image, or on the other hand its disintegration or virtually its destruction (like these wrinkles, scratches of the plane of painted canvas, and sometimes even literally burnt). The final effect, though, is always very well-though-out and resulting from hard work, and at the same time aesthetic. His painting opens up its depth to the viewer like gate to a different world or a starry sky at night – it engrosses us into its infinity.
Last but not least, it is worth mentioning that individual exhibition by Michał Budny finished at the beginning of June in the SVIT Gallery in Prague. It was the second exhibition by a Polish artist in the place where the works of Polish artists are shown from time to time (Marek Meduna, Mateusz Sadowski, Wilhelm Sasnal, Monika Zawadzki). Unlike previous exhibitions and paintings/ objects which Budny is associated with, and which we had the opportunity to write about in December 2013 on the occasion of his exhibition in Vienna, the artist entered into the space of the gallery this time. His minimalist objects organized the space. Using play on textures, materials, sizes as well as experiments between things that are hidden and things that are visible, the artist highlights the temporariness and transitory nature of works. As usual, the artist explored such notions as silence, air, light. While watching these works we get the impression that he attempts to provide them with a shape, to make them visible and this way more comprehensible for us. They finally become geometrical, minimalistic in form equivalents of phenomena – touchable and easy to describe. This exhibition constituted an extraordinarily poetic point of our Czech journey following the tracks of Polish artists.
And in the meantime, only a couple of hundred kilometres East, in Slovakian Košice, there was a series of performances in public sphere by the Academy of Movement, and an exhibition of the collection of The Lesser Poland Foundation of the Museum of Contemporary Art has been opened a couple of days ago in Kunsthalle Košice. But this is a completely different story…
Words: Dobromila Blaszczyk
Translated by: Monika Mokrosz