Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

Bialystok: “Sour cherries” exhibition

September 18, 2020 - November 12, 2020

Sour cherries (Wiśnie)

18.09.2020 – 12.11.2020

Artist:  Ketuta Alexi-Meskhishvilli, Nairy Baghramian, Wojciech Bąkowski, Carla Black, Agata Bogacka, Kerstin Brätsch, Rafał Bujnowski, Marek Chlanda, Isabelle Cornaro, Andrzej Czarnacki, Wanda Czełkowska, Oskar Dawicki, Thea Djordjadze, Veaceslav Druta, Aleana Egan, Zofia Gramz, Ryszard Grzyb, Susanna Harwood Rubin, Piotr Janas, Nikita Kadan, Zhanna Kadyrova, Jarosław Kozakiewcz, Jarbas Lopez, Goshka Macuga, Jadwiga Maziarska, Małgorzata Niedzielko, Paulina Ołowska, Witek Orski, Włodzimierz Pawlak, Jacques Pierre, Erna Rosenstein, Teresa Rudowicz, Anri Sala, Jacek Sempoliński, Jan Smaga, Mikołaj Smoczyński, Mikołaj Sobczak, Monika Sosnowska, Irmina Staś, Iza Tarasewicz, Leon Tarasewicz, Armando Tudela, Waldemar Umiastowski, Aleksandra Waliszewska, Mark van Yetter. 

Works from the Prokesz Family Collection and the Arsenal Gallery in Białystok Collection II

Curator:  Ewa Tatar

Production: Zbigniew Świdziński

collaboration in the preparation of the exhibition: Andrzej Prokesz, Ula Kusz

Sour cherry fruit. Glistening. Ripe. Brimming with juice. Its skin taut and brilliant. Bright red. Thick brown. Unsettling reflexes of black. … To communicate with a cherry fruit, we need not look at it. Touching is enough. … Of course, touching a sour cherry with our lips and tongue is the most vital. Only then does it reveal all its gentleness and the elasticity of the filling of a living sphere it is. … Already the first trickle of juice sprouting from a teeth-pressed cherry reveals all of its taste. It is so complex that to determine its qualities with one word poses a challenge. Above all unsettling, perhaps. … The taste of sour cherry is sharp, piercing, and we feel it not only in our mouth, but it overwhelms us completely. It seems that the cherry tastes of cherry and, at the same time, of some other taste, which is most familiar. A fascination we experience may came from the fact that it seems to have a certain connection with being or that it may precisely be its taste.
… A sour cherry fruit turns towards the sensual side of life and invokes it as a value. … When we nibble on the fruit, we are struck by a contrast between the gentleness of its pulp and the hardness of its pip. A confounding of softness and hardness is familiar to us from our own behaviours and we need not to look for it in a cherry, but of course the sudden unveiling of a mirror we can see ourselves in gives us pleasure. … Existential objects do not contradict individual vision.
… An encounter with bits of being, however consisting in offering them attention, concerns our own existence. As if the direction of the gaze was reversed … ultimately, we arrive at self-understanding. … The point is that looking at a stone, a shoe or a cockroach, we understand what connects us and what separates. How do we exist? Towards what? What values do we embody? The point is we understand ourselves betters thanks to sour cherry fruit. … a encounter of the existing, in which a common sense is revealed.
… when we notice ‘something’ and, moreover, we are able to notice that it is some thing, and not just a thing, … when we consent to the thing gaining all of our attention, we occupy a humbler position, but one allowing to discern the thing that surrounds us and is independent of our will. … This very ‘something’ may be an object for one, but not for another. I can pass a stone without noticing it. … Objects are beings that have lost their anonymity. … From a handful of senses, we choose some. 
… Communicating with the object and oneself through an encountered existential object requires particular conditions to be fulfilled. … Those are encounters of undeniable power; to their tenor, about which we cannot but think, we are willing to subordinate broader regions of our lives. … If we are deaf to this kind of speech, resounding within being, we can pass by even the most clamorous, drastic events indifferently, learning nothing and receiving no clues. …  the condition for understanding messages of being is our readiness to hear them. Concentration. Assiduous attention. … All this requires rigour, sobriety and a combination of a willingness to submit to radiation of meanings and criticism. …  After all, we are those who are reading, but only what is given to us to be read. … Existential facts contain an infinite potential of meaning to be received and engaged. Since in the order of existence, meaning is not only what can be deciphered, but also personally engaged. … If a mobilisation of our attention towards an existential concrete bears the fruits of understanding and communication, if we get to hear even a partial answer to the question ‘who we are’, and if we achieve it in such a non-egocentric way as is the turning towards what is next to us – our effort will likely not fail.
… There is no other pip that is as spitable as a cherry pip. Tiny, round and hard, it resembles a stone thrown with a sling. It lets us enclose in a brief arch between our mouth and the ground all the aggression we are filled with, which we are now able to sever from its true causes and transfer onto the pip. … A gesture of spitting spells out the death of a sour cherry. But a cherry grows from a pip and perdition can bear the fruit of revival.
The cut-up of Jolanta Brach-Czaina’s essay, Wiśnia i rozumienie [Sour Cherry and Understanding], presents the viewer with a way of encountering art (and reflects the author’s intention) at the qualitatively juxtaposed exhibition. Objects co-exists here less with regards to representation (which is often lacking) or a story conveyed (which is sometimes absent) than their visual plasticity. From which the viewer’s attention turns. For a slight unlearning of our clinging onto the safe and recognisable, the objects put our habits of taste and perception to a cognitive rasp; they trip us over. Significantly, the quoted essay was written when its author had a connection to Białystok as a university lecturer. Brach-Czaina’s way of thinking and her language, slightly marginal to her academic contemporaneity, stems from phenomenology (experiencing and the perspective of the experiencing subject), and enters into the purview of ontology (being, essence, existence), and/or metaphysics (why it is and what it is) – depending on a reader. The most important questions posed by the (she) philosopher concern ways in which we really exist when the everyday becomes the very centre of our being and when we make bits and pieces, usually excluded from existential significance, the fact of such being. The quoted essay opens the philosopher’s arguably greatest contribution to Polish humanities, Szczeliny istnienia [Fissures of Being]. Published in 1992, it electrified Polish critical thought and revolutionised the practice of theory in Poland. It came twenty years ahead of the reception and work of new materialisms, forming in practices of thought as well as in practices of art – precisely through matter and working with matter – the question of being, but one involving its social, linguistic and political agency. Around that time starts the history of the Arsenal Gallery Collection II, still without its most currently recognisable Eastern course, closely attending to ontological problems posed by artists at the turn of 1980s. Around the time begins the Prokesz Family Collection, whose least obvious choices come from the iconoclastic revolution of New Materialism in global art.
… For is it possible to be more powerfully than being?



September 18, 2020
November 12, 2020
Event Category:


Arsenal Gallery in Bialystok
ul. Mickiewicza 2
+ Google Map
View Venue Website