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Cologne: Honza Zamojski
February 16, 2019 - March 13, 2019
‘MACKBETH: ACT I SCENE 3, ACT V SCENE 7’
In Praise of Looking
The sequence of events, as it turned out later, didn’t matter. The performance began with the murder of a traitor and ended with the same—the murder of a traitor. The act of murder, motives of crime and costumes in both scenes were almost identical. Even the curtain was raised (at the beginning) and lowered (at the end) at the same, steady pace. And only in the meantime technical staff have changed the movable elements of the stage set design, and the public got to know the names of traitors / killers / victims.
– What do you think—whose fault was it? – asks suddenly, lowering the voice.
– I do not know. How should I know? Maybe you’d better ask why you are looking at it?
– Why are you looking at it? – inquires.
– Because I want to watch the sentence being executed. Because I know how this drama ends.
Of course, it was not without spoilers. As soon as three bearded witches began to report the further events, the less patient spectators simply stood up and irritated left the room. The more observant ones noticed that the main character really lost his head much earlier than he should have been. And it was for nothing to wonder “what about the free will” and “maybe it won’t come true?” some elderly gentleman who was sitting comfortably in an armchair, commented on everything that was happening on the stage.
Of course it will come true.
– And you know – asks again and without waiting for any answer continues – that the bearded witches do not exist? These beards, in the swamp scene, are nothing but Usnea longissima—quite a rare lichen, which has the shape, colour and resilience of the lush, gray beard of a man in his prime.
– It actually explains everything.
– Not everything, but …
– But what?
– … but HE just chopped off someone’s head, so you know …
– What I know?
– Well, if someone who kills and justifies their further deeds with what he has heard from talking moss, than it must end poorly.
I have read somewhere recently that the politicians behave in a predictable way, because leaving the imposition of the role (imposed by the electorate and opponents) would involve not only betrayal of the public alter ego, but also the breaking of promises made to the most hard-headed voters. Admittedly, small lies are inscribed in every political act, but the repolarization of politicians morality is not. Such a drastic change could simply annihilate the avatar.
The same thing, in same second, took place a few meters away from me—the predictable extreme of emotions, actions and reactions. The madman melted in his own madness, the crazy girl went crazier, and the “good one” with every spoken word became better and boring. The characters were not able to oppose either the text written 400 years ago or the expectations of the public. The nuances of acting are no longer relevant. The action headed towards the inevitable—bloody end / beginning.
– What I liked the most was the moment when the actors told us to shout “Hail Macbeth” and the whole room stood up and instead of clapping, shouted “Hail Macbeth!”; it sends shivers up my spine.
– I don’t know, it was somehow staged.
– Sure—that’s what it’s all about.
– Ok, it is simply different to look at it and appreciate the art of my own will than to be an accomplice. The worst thing is that you find out about it after the show. Not cool.
– Stop complaining. It was clever.
– And that’s what I’m afraid of.
Honza Zamojski (*1981, Poland) lives and works in Poznan, Poland, where he graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in 2008. The artist has staged solo exhibitions at OSMOS; Lisa Cooley; Andrew Kreps; Cleopatra’s, all New York; New Bridge Project, Newcastle, United Kingdom; Galeria BWA, Zielona Góra, Poland; Futura, Prague; Centre of Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle; Zacheta National Gallery of Art; Foksal Gallery; Leto, all Warsaw; Cleopatra’s, Berlin; KIM?, Riga, Latvia a.o., and furthermore was part of exhibitions at GOOD PRESS, Glasgow; Kumu Art Museum, Tallinn, Estonia; Drei, Cologne; Foksal Gallery, Warsaw; Frutta, Rome; Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw; Museum Morsbroich, Leverkusen, Germany; CoCA Toruń, Poland; Arsenal Municipal Gallery, Poznan, Poland; Zacheta National Gallery, Warsaw; 15th Tallin Print Triennial, Tallin, Estonia; Czech Centre, New York; SKUC Gallery, Ljubljana, Slovenia a.o. In June 2019 Zamojski will be contributing to the 33rd Biennial of Graphic Arts in Ljubljana, curated by Slavs & Tatars.