Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost

Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost
14.01.2022 – 14.02.2022

Paweł Olszewski / Justyna Smoleń

Piana Gallery
Retoryka 24, Kraków

Opening: 14.01.2022 godz. 18.00-20.00

Opening hours: Thursday – Saturday 16.00-18.00

Treat what you see as an exercise. You will ask: an exercise in what? We will answer: an exercise in remembering and forgetting. Of repeating and destroying. There are several tools at your disposal. Some of them are fragments of the distant and the near past, which have formed a new whole in which nothing is as it once was. Some make you look at yourself for a long time, but give little in return. Some repeat the same or almost the same thing over and over again. Some should be discarded, but are still here and won’t let you forget. Some try to perpetuate what you want to remember, but end up writing it off.

Justyna Smoleń and Paweł Olszewski deal with processing – they change the focus of objects and thoughts, and thus our ideas about the world that surrounds us. They reach for the elements of everyday life that we would like to get rid of, giving them another chance – a chance to tell us something, to mean something to us again. They nurture history, yet they are far from being academic historians. They conserve what would sooner or later end up in the dustbin: the meagre remains of porcelain dandelions that have long since lost their seductive charm, flowers that, withering, are about to lose their miraculous form, saliva that moistened our mouths a moment ago, and now dries on the wall. They reverse the order of things – what is repulsive begins to attract again, and what we would like to keep suddenly becomes something we reject.

In one of the Slavic tales about the creation of the world, a god moulded a man from clay, and a malicious devil spat on his body, condemning it to illness, urges and death. Justyna and Paweł have prepared for us something like a modern golem stuck out of clay, saliva and plastic, a mixture of the dry and the wet, the analogue and the digital, the inanimate and the organic. The world they create is haunted by memories and their degenerate spectres. It is a world condemned to recycling. It is difficult to think of something completely new, because the past, the greatest burden, cannot simply be swept under the carpet.

Michał Zawada

without lashes

without lashes

Nina Paszkowski / Olga Holzschuh / Justyna Smoleń

13.06 – 20.06.2021

CracowArtWeek KRAKERS
Dietla 7 Street, Krakow

 

The lifespan of human eyelashes is less than half a year. Thus, the fortification of our eye is in constant construction and reconstruction. Unlike teeth, lashes are not given to us once in a lifetime and unlike the hair on our head their length remains the same. This defence mechanism, fragile as it is, cannot cope with everything – it will catch dust but is powerless against the scalpel and will only respond to a well-known (and tame) threat. Yet what if Gregor Samsa, getting out of bed in the morning, saw not a cockroach in the mirror but a face without lashes?

This fantasy, an alternative to Kafka’s short story, offers a metaphorical take on the story of the virus that began in late 2019. Transformation, a key word, is here understood on a microscale. Because despite the global nature of the phenomenon, it is ordinary gestures and relationships that have changed: shopping is no longer a careless act while shaking hands on the street or picking up a parcel poses a threat. On the other hand, it is the global aspect of the phenomenon, its universality and totality that make us think of the liminal, or that which is central to ritual as anthropologist Victor Turner describes. Characterised by a state of suspension, the liminal is a mode in which we reject the old in order to prepare for the arrival of the new. Isolation is a prerequisite in preparing for this transition. Forced quarantines and restrictions somehow caused a shared liminal state, the consequences of which are not yet known. The future, in terms of Derrida’s différance, is not futur, something that can be planned, but l’avenir: that, for which one cannot prepare – as Olga Tokarczuk puts it – a black swan.

Liminality is the starting point for the exhibition of Nina Paszkowski, Olga Holzschuh and Justyna Smoleń, who use their artistic practices to set the scene for acts of change.

Nina Paszkowski’s monumental cut-out visually evokes underwater flora and fauna that adjusts its movement to the rhythm of flowing water, while creating a closed circuit of energy – a form that devours itself and in doing so renews and transforms itself. Left to itself, monstrous, it undergoes its own intimate ritual. The element of water has been tamed by the form of a folk cut-out, as if in preservation. The paradox of this juxtaposition is evident in the way the work is presented: there are gaps between the wall and the paper, the planes do not match, the tamed monster rebels spectacularly, conjuring wildlife.

Olga Holzschuh refers to her latest project with the evocative title “Things are insecure, but solid”. The works on display, however, are made of materials commonly not associated with durability: soap, aluminium, human eyelashes. The title rather suggests a sensitivity towards delicate matter and faith in its potential – just like a single hair has surprising mechanical strength. The intimacy of the works also seems to reflect the limitation of physical encounters during the pandemic, the alternative to which are online meetings that only fleetingly grasp human presence. Modern technology comes with drawbacks, for example when on the screen of a laptop or smartphone a speaker’s face is deformed by a glitch – an enlarged eyelash that then settles on the cheek. It is impossible to touch the cheek and look at the dead lash.

Justyna Smoleń uses porcelain in her practice. At first, the sculptures made of figurines seem to be part of a museum exhibition. Only after a while does one notice the hybridity of the porcelain creations – surreal, decapitated, with heads and limbs swapped, combining human, animal and plant elements. The strategy of using destructed porcelain is further transformed in the way the totem is displayed in the show – not only a significant change in scale but also – and above all – a step towards folk decorativeness. It recalls the secondary use of ceramics rejected from factories to decorate objects in public space. For example, in the Małopolska region one can often find flower pots made of concrete and decorated with ceramic remnants from Kamionka in Łysa Góra. The economy of material recycling becomes enchanted with a magical function. Objects that inhabit domestic spaces, dusting on shelves, are involuntary spectators and companions of forced isolation, which – thinking in terms of the ritual – is a necessary stage for transformation.

Viewed from a distance, a year and a half of our new reality has seemingly not changed much – the virus has not left the scene as if after a fire. Humanity has not turned into cockroaches, but rather lost eyelashes – an elementary, though underestimated, imperceptible sense of security. Yet this state of suspension comes with its own potential, just like a dead lash falling on a cheek can be an invitation to wish.

 Katarzyna Nalezińska

 

 

 

UTOPIA. Spaces of closure

Home, collage, porcelain, 2020

I see the work House as a subconscious attempt to capture the state of reality in recent months – marked by the COVID-19 pandemic and socio-political tensions.

The woman’s body merged with the snail shell is not dismembered as it might seem – it is rather fragmented and assembled into a new whole – a new normality(?).  The shell is a quasi home which becomes a symbol of restriction rather than a soothing, private retreat – our dwellings are so different now, so discouraging. This quasi-home, treating it as a more general metaphor, can even be taken as a symbol of the current reality – so different, so overwhelming – which has become a steamroller rolling through our lives, massacring everyone and everything without exception, egalitarian.

 

UTOPIA. Space of Closure

15.12.2020 – 7.03.2021

The Transporter Kultury Foundation

UTOPIA. Spaces of Closure refers to the title of the previous Krakow edition of the “UTOPIA. Non – Place” project carried out in 2018. This reference is not accidental, we invite artists to see how they reacted creatively to the pandemic. We are curious how they relate to the situation of restriction of freedom, social distance, uncertain future?

The pandemic has frozen cultural activities. Closed cultural institutions, galleries, and art spaces made a large part of artistic activity move online. Artists locked in the privacy of their own flats and ateliers face their own “utopias”. They shape and define the world “around them” every day and “within”.

Another important trope of the exhibition concept, derived from UTOPIA, is the concept of Retrotopia.

RETROTOPY is a concept (which is a combination of the words: retro – ‘old, concerning the past’ and utopia) created at the end of his life by the sociologist Zygmunt Bauman, describing a social phenomenon that arose in Europe and spreading all over the world, constituting a modern variety of nostalgia, a derivative of second degree negation, i.e. a negation of negation made by utopia of the possibility of a quasi-return to a wonderful, safe past.

Zygmunt Bauman wrote:

“[…] progress is no longer associated with the expectation of a better tomorrow, but with the expectation of even greater uncertainty, fewer and fewer jobs, the chances of success are decreasing, housing prices are rising, it is more and more difficult to settle down.” These fears are exploited by political demagogues who promise easy prescriptions, trying to “bind this liquid drug in order to give people hope in the short run.” They mislead members of society with statements such as: “as soon as we close the borders to immigrants, the nightmare will end, we will have a stable job, social position, no one will take your bread.” This is where retrotopia comes from, from endless fears for the future”

The project “UTOPIA. Closure space” is connected with the idea of ​​a creative dialogue between artistic circles from Poland, Germany and other countries. It assumes an online presentation of works in the field of painting, sculpture, photography, video and installation. The project promotes the activities of professors, doctoral students, students, as well as young, unknown artists and helps to introduce them to the space of international artistic contacts, confronting their work with the recognized artistic and didactic environment of art universities.

An important aspect of the project is also the integration of artistic communities from various Departments of the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow with the numerous participation of educators, so important for the Krakow artistic community.

 

Artists:

Andrzej Bednarczyk, Anne Berlit, Bartek Węgrzyn, Bartosz Czarnecki, Bartosz Frączek, Brigitte Dümling, Daniela Jáuregui Servin, Detlef Schweiger, Edith Oellers, Edgar Kucharzewski, Emilia Kina, Etko Tutta, Filip Rybkowski, Filip Wierzbicki Nowak, Gilberto Kupyum, Grzegorz Wnęk, István Eröss, Jakub Najbart, Jan Pamuła, Jan Tutaj, Janusz Janczy, Janusz Radtke, Jesse Magee, Jörg Eberhard, Josephine Kaiser, Juergen Rosner,  Justyna Smoleń, Justyna Warwas, Kamil Kuzko, Katarzyna Piątek,  Klemen Brun, KO Seung-hyun,  Krzysztof Tomalski, Lalo Sanchez Del Valle, Lutz Krutein, Magdalena Kulesza-Fedkowicz, Marek Sibinský, Marek Szymański, Mariola Wawrzusiak, Marlena Biczak, Mercedes Bautista, Michał Sroka, Michał Zawada, Norbert Tóth, Patrick Tagoe-Turkson, Piotr Korzeniowski, Radek Szlęzak, Rafał Borcz, Ri Eung-woo, Stano Cerny, Goran Štimac, Ubbo Kugler, Ulrike Beckmann, Verónica Ugalde Romay, Witold Stelmachniewicz, Wojciech Kopeć, Zbigniew Bajek, Zbigniew Sałaj

Curators:
Michał Sroka / Piotr Korzeniowski

 

Cooperation:
Kamil Kuzko / Jakub Najbart

 

The project is co-financed by the city of Krakow from the “Culture in the network 2020” program

 

Read the forms

 

Read the forms
18.09 – 10.10. 2020
Grey House Gallery
Main Square 6,  Krakow

 

 

The artistic deliberations undertaken in the exhibited works touch upon the problem of changing visual perception.  They analyze dynamically changing models of interpretation of the visible world, its perception and the mechanisms of change of meaning, occurring in the area of semantics of images. The works of art refer in their form to representations of natural phenomena, which are characterized by variability and fluidity. Physical phenomena, which are the inspiration for my works, are processes taking place in nature, resulting from the existence of basic forces, e.g. electric, magnetic or gravitational influence on the surface of water or air space.

The classic construction of reality based on unambiguity has long since been pushed out by an era of many meanings. This manifests itself as otherness, otherness, fluidity, ambiguity of contexts, locality of meanings, which we do not catch immediately. Thus, the fragmentarily available reality forces the artist to adopt a creative strategy, adequate to the contemporary human perception conditions. Our experience is subject to changes, which are difficult to name on an ongoing basis. The idea of a holistic perception has been questioned more than once, but it is impossible to underestimate the fact that the existence of a fragment is connected with the necessity of the notion of the whole – they are dependent on each other.

At the moment of a subconscious attempt to recreate the whole of the phenomenon, the viewer, on the basis of the analysis of his own experience and knowledge as well as the power of imagination, refers to the selected fragment, searching for fragments that could have their continuation in the imaginary space. Thus, he or she is an active participant in the production of a work of art thanks to his or her intellectual but also physical activity towards the works. Writing “physical” I mean the physical movement of the viewer’s body around the work. He enables the viewer to get to know the multiplied imagery contained in the work. The legibility of the form is revealed only when the subject moves towards the object. The works presented at the exhibition are realizations developing the thread of pictorial multiplicity in one area marked by the limits of the work and an attempt to study the relationship between the painting and sculpture.

 

Justyna Smoleń

 

The exhibition is a public presentation of the doctoral dissertation in the field of visual arts in the discipline of fine arts realized at the Faculty of Art of the Pedagogical University in Krakow.

 

Nature in Art

Nature in Art
26.04 – 29.09.2019

MOCAK Museum of Contemporary Art in Krakow

Opening date: 25.4.2019 at 6 pm

Mankind is the only species on Earth to have mastered nature. For thousands of years, this was a domination of the predators rejoicing in their power. Fortunately, human beings began to develop empathy in relation to nature; they recognised its pain, sensitivity and beauty. Some hundred years ago the reflection came that the existence of the human species depends closely on the state of the natural environment. Exploitation of nature gradually shifted towards seeking a balance. This slow process says a lot about our species. No wonder that it has also become an important forum of artistic commentary.

At the exhibition “Nature in Art” we show contemporary works of more than 70 artists from many countries, in techniques ranging from painting, photography and video to object and installation. The exhibition has been divided into five parts: beauty, ecology, confrontation, matter and symbol.

In works related to beauty artists eternalise picturesque views, imitate processes that take place in nature, evoke the sensation of being in the presence of nature and provide scope for the contemplation of its perfection. Ecology focuses on concern for the predicament of the natural environment, and action on behalf of the preservation of nature but also apocalyptic vis. Confrontation revolves around the clash – or integration – of the artist with the forces of nature, human endeavours to face up to its challenge and comparing their respective strengths as well as making nature part of the creative process. Matter relies on the artists employing organic elements and creating representations that rely on accurate rendition of the structure and expression of the given surface. Symbol predominantly refers to representations of animals that illustrate human stances and characteristics.

Artists:

Basia Bańda, Kuba Bąkowski, Krzysztof M. Bednarski, Vaughn Bell, Michalina Bigaj, Julius von Bismarck, Blue Republic, Rafał Borcz, Guido Casaretto, Maurizio Cattelan, Julian Charrière, Tatiana Czekalska / Leszek Golec, Dawid Czycz, Oskar Dawicki, Wim Delvoye, Elmas Deniz, Jan Fabre, Julian Fałat, Lauren Fensterstock, Vibha Galhotra, Isa Genzken, Maya Gold, Trevor Gould, Nicolas Grospierre / Olga Mokrzycka-Grospierre, Nilbar Güreş, Tomohiro Higashikage, Weronika Izdebska, Rolf Julius, Ewa Juszkiewicz, Ania Kanicka, Felix Kiessling, Fabian Knecht, Azade Köker, Bartosz Kokosiński, Wojciech Kopczyński, Juliusz Kosin, Grzegorz Kozera, Agata Kus, Rebecca Louise Law, Sarah Lucas, Piotr Lutyński, Krzysztof Maniak, Małgorzata Markiewicz, Teresa Murak, Julian Opie, Meret Oppenheim, Witek Orski, Javier Perez, Dorota Podlaska, Henri Rousseau, Deborah Sengl, Luzia Simons, Robert Smithson, Justyna Smoleń, Wojciech Ireneusz Sobczyk, Daniel Spoerri, Jonasz Stern, Beat Streuli, Yoshihiro Suda, Leon Tarasewicz, Tomasz Tatarczyk, Toni R. Toivonen, Arie van ’t Riet, Kathleen Vance, Anna VanMatre, Willy Verginer, Zbigniew Warpechowski, Marek Wasilewski, Sinta Werner

Curators: Delfina Jałowik, Maria Anna Potocka, Martyna Sobczyk

Co-ordinator: Agnieszka Sachar

Weltschmerz

Weltschmerz
14.06–24.07.2019

BWA Wrocław Główny Gallery
105 Piłsudskiego Street

Opening: 14.06.2019, 6 p.m.

Weltschmerz is the motto of this year’s edition of the Open Call organized as part of Wrocław Drawing Triennial 2019 and it is also the title of the exhibition featuring the best submissions.

The term was coined at end of Romanticism and its relevance is confirmed by thousands of instances it is referred to in contemporary culture. Over the ages, a lot has changed, yet the vast majority of those who benefit from the clash of the prosocial projects advocating freedom with the ruthless reality is still political and financial elites.

The artists who show their artworks in the halls of BWA Wrocław Główny Gallery explore various themes and contexts, examining their relationships with the world and losing once again their fragile stability. It is going to be interesting to see how they describe and revise the focal term. Will they manifest their lack of faith in their ability to influence the contemporary world and their own lot, their feeling of alienation and endless sadness? Or will they distance themselves from sentimental visions, which are so alien to the current generation? What idea to overcome hopelessness and dissatisfaction will they find?

At the exhibition we will see almost sixty artworks representing various artistic strategies in the field of the broadly-understood definition of drawing. Some of them are classical drawings on paper, others exemplify the thinking through drawing idea realised in digital media. We will also see art objects and performances. The goal of the Triennial organizers is to show the audience the widest possible overview of the most interesting drawing practices and strategies and the current trends in contemporary drawing and modern art.

Artists:

Paweł Baśnik, Marta Bełkot, Lasma Bringina, Piotr Bzdęga, Czesław Chwiszczuk, Tomasz Dobiszewski, Monika Drożyńska, Łukasz Gierlak, Dejan Grba, Grupa Amen, Marek Grzyb, Jerzy Hejnowicz, Michał Jakubowicz, Živilė Jasutytė, Anna Juszczak, Bartłomiej Kociemba, Mateusz Kokot, Piotr Kopik, Jerzy Kosałka, Julia Królikowska, Ewa Kulesza, Dominik Litwin, Izabela Łęska, Weronika Michalska, Anita Mikas, Jan Mioduszewski, Daisuke Nishijima, not a Number, Adam Nowaczyk, Anna Orbaczewska-Niedzielska, Magdalena Parfieniuk, Mariya Pavlenko, Katarzyna Piątek, Michał Pietrzak, Paulina Poczęta, Dominik Podsiadły, Hanna Rozpara, Irmina Rusicka & Kasper Lecnim, Magdalena Sadłowska, Jędrzej Sierpiński, Piotr Skowron, Jakub Słomkowski, Jarosław Słomski, Justyna Smoleń, Aleksandra Sojak-Borodo, Radosław Szlęzak, Olga Śliwa, Iga Świeściak, Artur Tajber, Bogdan Topor, Sebastian Trzoska, Michalina Wawrzyczek-Klasik, Andrzej Wieteszka, Jack Williams, Katarzyna Wójcicka, Martyna Zaradkiewicz, Olga Ząbroń, Piotr Żaczek

Curator: Patrycja Sap

Changing Views

Changing  Views

23.06 – 14.07. 2019

Halle WERFT 77, Kunstverein Kunst im Hafen e.V.,
Reisholzer Werftstraße 77, Düsseldorf

Opening date: 22.6.2019, 7 p.m.

The exhibition concept is based on the question of the rapidly changing, technical-media world events and the resulting political worldviews. At the same speed, there is a change of attitude and values within our private, social and cultural life.

These changed or changing perspectives should be explored in the possibilities of artistic positions. The dialogue between Düsseldorf and Krakow serves as a basis for identifying interfaces and differences.

The exhibition concept will focus on the perception of a historical “change”, concerning the question what has changed and what is changing. On the one hand, this is an everyday process, intoxicating with regard to technical, medical, scientific and multimedia inventions and developments, but it also shows itself on the other hand through individual or worldwide acting, abuse of power, which contributes to the global political imbalance and diffuse uncertainty among the population.

Artists:

Gosia Biłunska, Emilia Kina, Kamil Kuzko, Justyna Smoleń, Michał Sroka, Bartek Węgrzyn Inken Boje, C.U. Frank, Klaus U. Hilsbecher, Hiroyuki Masuyama, Dejan Saric, Anna Tatarczyk

UTOPIA.NON-PLACES

UTOPIA.NON-PLACES
05.05 – 21.06. 2018

High5, Pawia Street 7, Krakow

Openinig: 05.05.2018

From the depths of our ignorance, imperfection, existential fear and undecidable dichotomy, we can not break away except by making a desperate leap beyond the limits of the available the universe. Not to land in Heaven; rather to find the possibility of other rules of the game in the world and existence, a different reality than the waking life of .

Stanisław Lem

In the next edition of international Polish-German projects, we would like to refer to one of the issues raised by Stanisław Lem, one of the greatest Polish writers. The leading representative of Polish science fiction, philosopher, futurologist and essayist also has realistic novels and satirical texts. His work deals with topics such as the development of science and technology, human nature, the ability to communicate intelligent beings or the place of man in the universe.

Lem’s works contain references to the state of modern society, scientific and philosophical reflections on it, as well as criticism of both the socialist system and Western capitalism.

The term “utopia” comes from the Latin title of Utopia (1516) by Tomasz Morus. The title of the work of Morus is not unambiguous, because it could be created both from the Greek outopos (Greek ou – no, topos – place, non-place, place that does not exist, non-existent), as well as from eutopia (good place). One can assume that this ambiguity was intended by Morus.

Utopia is indispensable for a man as a never-realized goal, a dream and a promise. Therefore, even in times of anti-utopian times like today, in a world that has not yet risen from the ruins of the Tower of Babel, utopia is squeezed everywhere where human fear and human hope is present, and yet this sibling is usually inseparable. As the debris grows more oblivious to the herb of oblivion, we will see a flock of false prophets carrying false answers to this true fear and this true hope.

Artist:

Zbigniew Bajek, Andrzej Bednarczyk, Ulrike Beckman, Michalina Bigaj, Inken Boje, Bartek Czarnecki, C.U.Frank, Klaus U. Hilsbecher, Artur Kapturski, Emilia Kina, Wojciech Kopeć, Piotr Korzeniowski, Lutz Krutein, Edie Kucharzewski, Kamil Kuzko, Dariusz Milczarek, Kaja Mucha, Jakub Najbart, Jan Podgórski, Janusz Radtke, Johannes Raimann, Jurgen Rosner, Filip Rybkowski, Detlef Schweiger, Justyna Smoleń, Michał Sroka, Witold Stelmachniewicz, Michał Stonawski, Radek Szlęzak, Jan Tutaj, Katharina Veerkamp, Bartosz Węgrzyn, Andrej Wilhelms, Wojtek Wasilewski, Michał Zawada

Curators: Michał Sroka, Kamil Kuzko

Wide-ranging

Wide-ranging

Running: 8.04 – 6.05.2016

BWA Sokół Gallery

Opening date: 8.04.2016 at 6pm

 

The horizon is the border of visibility in the plane of the horizon, the line of apparent contact of the sky with the surface of the Earth. In open terrain the horizon is similar in shape to the circle. The phenomenon of surface contact described above, the search for an additional dimension and the problem of space in the image are problems to which Justyna Smoleń refers in her painting. In the works presented at her first individual exhibition in Nowy Sącz, the dominant color is black. Monochrome, almost ascetic canvases thanks to the richness of gray obtained with the help of paint, which the artist imposes in almost sculptural way, gain the impression of multi-color. Smoleń rigorously defines the composition with regular brush strokes that leave rhythmic, fleshy lines behind and their logic is revealed depending on the point of view. It is not without reason that the artist intertwines with the concept of horizon, which is closely related to the observer. And so, in the work of Smoleń, paint alternately reflects and absorbs light, generating an infinite number of open, flickering compositions with a dynamic structure that, despite their abstract character, can bring to mind fragments of observed reality, curling hair, swirling waves, landscape.

 

Curator: Monika Smyła