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An interesting exhibition “Withered” opened recently at Kisterem Gallery in Budapest. This show presents four Polish artists: Agnieszka Kalinowska, Kama Sokolnicka and Małgorzata Szymankiewicz and Ewa Axelrad & Steve Press. In their works, they address a problem, which has been attracting artists, curators and scholars’ attention over the last few years – modernism, its gradual withering and changes to its relics in our nearest surroundings. The exhibition addresses the permanently current need of responding to the complexity of this phenomenon. The theme of modernism fading away intrigues young artists permanently. The source of such interest may partly lie in sentimental feelings and partly in direct contact with the remains of the modernist period. These artists’ childhood and youth coincided with the transformation period in Poland. Their generation experienced a moment of great change; the fall of communism and sudden birth of the new democratic system. In front of their eyes, tremendous changes happened to both the everyday reality as well as symbols of modernism’s great aspirations – the grand and once glorious architecture.

Urban tissue, like the animated matter or the human body, is subject to an inexorable law of nature. Concrete is crumbling, the walls are overgrowing and neon lights are going off. All of this disappears in the new upcoming reality. The artists taking part in this exhibition have been dealing with those issues in their work for quite some time. They want to define them better, to capture the slow, seemingly invisible, changes. They want to bring out the cracks. They want to show the decaying past before it irreversibly gives way to the green shoots – symbols of new life.

In the context of this exhibition, Contemporary Lynx had the opportunity to talk with Michał Suchora from BWA Warszawa. In Michał’s words, “The exhibition “Withered” is the result of the cooperation between BWA Warszawa and Kisterem Gallery. Recently, in Warsaw we hosted works by Little Warsaw collective, known from the Venice Biennale, represented by Kisterem Gallery. Now it was time for a return visit to Budapest. “Withered” is also a continuation of our curatorial interest in methods in which the artists relate to the legacy of modernist utopias. This time we decided to use the metaphor of a living organism to describe its slow withering away.”

Below you can find pictures of the artworks courtesy of BWA Warszawa.

 

Agnieszka Kalinowska, Extinguished Neon Sign 2 (Atlantic), 2011, straw, linen string, silver silicone print, 50 x 127 cm, photo courtesy BWA Warszawa

Agnieszka Kalinowska, Extinguished Neon Sign 2 (Atlantic), 2011, straw, linen string, silver silicone print, 50 x 127 cm, photo courtesy BWA Warszawa

 

Agnieszka Kalinowska, Extinguished Neon Sign 2 (Atlantic), 2011, straw, linen string, silver silicone print, 50 x 127 cm, photo courtesy BWA Warszawa

Agnieszka Kalinowska, Extinguished Neon Sign 2 (Atlantic), 2011, straw, linen string, silver silicone print, 50 x 127 cm, photo courtesy BWA Warszawa

 

Agnieszka Kalinowska, Extinguished Neon Sign 4, 2011, straw, linen string, silver silicone print, 132 x 107 cm, photo courtesy BWA Warszawa

 

Kama Sokolnicka, Gratingm, 2012, steel, courtesy BWA Warszawa

Kama Sokolnicka, Locus Solus 1 – 3, 2012, collages on gray paper in author's, gardening frames, 56 x 38 cm, courtesy BWA Warszawa

Kama Sokolnicka, Locus Solus 1 – 3, 2012, collages on gray paper in author’s, gardening frames, 56 x 38 cm, courtesy BWA Warszawa

Małgorzata Szymankiewicz , Untitled 82, 2008, acrylic on canvas, 135 x 145 cm, photo courtesy BWA Warszawa

 

Agnieszka Kalinowska, Extinguished Neon Sign 3 (Cinema), 2011, straw, linen string, silver silicone print, 88 x 88 cm, photo courtesy BWA Warszawa

 

Barnabas Bencik, former Director of Ludwig Museum in Budapest, Justyna Kowalska from BWA Warszawa, Agnieszka Kalinowska and Małgorzata Szymankiewicz, photo courtesy BWA Warszawa

Barnabas Bencik, former Director of Ludwig Museum in Budapest, Justyna Kowalska from BWA Warszawa, Agnieszka Kalinowska and Małgorzata Szymankiewicz, photo courtesy BWA Warszawa

 

Michał Suchora from BWA Warszawa, Zolt Petranyi, curator of contemporary art department in National Gallery in Budapest, Margit Valko, the owner of Kisterem Gallery, photo courtesy BWA Warszawa

Dora Hegyi from Tranzit Foundation and Michał Suchora from BWA Warszawa, photo courtesy BWA Warszawa

Dora Hegyi from Tranzit Foundation and Michał Suchora from BWA Warszawa, photo courtesy BWA Warszawa

words: Dobromila Blaszczyk
 

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