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- Author Maciej Chorąży
- Date of production 2014
- Dimensions height: 50 cm, width: 54 cm, depth: 12.8 cm
- Author's designation none
- ID no. BS/1066
- Availability in stock
- Acquired date 2014
- Object copyright Bunkier Sztuki Gallery of Contemporary Art
- Digital images copyright © all rights reserved, Bunkier Sztuki Gallery of Contemporary Art
- Digitalisation RDW MIC, Virtual Małopolska project
Maciej Chorąży’s work, Flashback Smurfs, contains an attempt to mirror perceiving the world from a child’s perspective and light criticism of consumer culture, which gives mass production objects symbolic meaning – sometimes even magical – always according to the standard algorithm of promoted values (such as beauty, youth, attractiveness, usefulness, and effectiveness). In realizing both these artistic assumptions, the ordinary object acquired from everyday surroundings play a central role.more
Maciej Chorąży’s work, Flashback Smurfs, contains an attempt to mirror perceiving the world from a child’s perspective and light criticism of consumer culture, which gives mass production objects symbolic meaning – sometimes even magical – always according to the standard algorithm of promoted values (such as beauty, youth, attractiveness, usefulness, and effectiveness). In realizing both these artistic assumptions, the ordinary object acquired from everyday surroundings play a central role. When commenting on his work, Chorąży explains: “Objects are very important to me, probably too important. In fact, I try, struggle with myself and teach them to fall into a hierarchy of importance! […] Each item deserves a cabinet with a commentary, even a very long one. Each thing has the right to apply for the best airtime, be it a shoe sole or champagne cork. I have safe boxes for things from this world.”
The artist creates makeshift, impermanent installations from picked up objects, referring to the aesthetics of pop-art and the idea of ready-made. Like Andy Warhol, who displayed Campbell soup cans, Chorąży makes use of his own attitude to the objects he uses, returning to memories and associations from his childhood to give them personal meaning. His actions are distinguished by the tendency to keep the secret of every single object: as in children’s fantasies, they are dressed in individual stories based on loose associations. When composing installations, the artist uses the method he calls flashbacks: by juxtaposing objects, it reproduces images recorded in his visual memory.
In the work, Flashback Smurfs, the characteristic feature is the white and blue colouring of the composition, which is the key to the selection of the objects it is composed of. These criteria are met by, among others, a jar of the popular Nivea cream, a container for lenses, a tube of Meridol toothpaste, and several other everyday objects that we see in the typical surroundings, put on a bathroom shelf. Among these, there is a plastic statue with the title, Smurf. The toy version of the fairy-tale character with blue skin, dressed in a white outfit and hat, makes the presence of all other elements suddenly mysterious and ambiguous, as if they had also come from the land of the popular cartoon. When juxtaposed, they form a fragment of a separate world, in which rules and values promoted by the producers of collectibles and the advertising industry do not apply. This simple procedure allows the artist to draw a small fragment of reality away from the logic of consumer culture, and to become the “ruler” of the world of imagination he had created, in which the logotypes of popular brands become unimportant, governed by completely different mechanisms than those related to the analysis of markets.
Elaborated by Vera Zalutskaya (Bunkier Sztuki Gallery of Contemporary Art),
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Poland License.
Maciej Chorąży (born 1982) is a visual artist and the creator of ready-made objects, spatial forms, and installations. The areas in which he has developed his practice also include graphics, drawing, and design, especially at the junction of performance, theatre, and opera. He is a graduate of the Faculty of Art at the Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin. His interests include criticism of popular culture and institutions. He draws inspiration from the surrounding reality, the aesthetics of cheap glitz, and ridiculous everyday situations. Together with Agnieszka Klepacka, he founded a duo called Bracia [Brothers], which designs costumes and stage sets (including ones for Capella Cracoviensis, the National Stary Theatre in Kraków) and creates performances and spatial anthropological essays (exhibited in Khoj, New Delhi, 2013, and the Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw, 2014). His individual exhibitions include: Flashback back (Bunkier Sztuki Gallery of Contemporary Art, Kraków, 2014), Romantic raisins (BWA Zielona Góra, 2014), How to take a good photo using a washing machine (FWD Gallery, Poznań, 2016), Not so bad (as part of the Bracia duo, Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art, 2017). Selected group exhibitions in which he has participated include: No budget show 4 (MOCAK, Kraków, 2012), No budget show 3 (Kordegarda Gallery, Warsaw, 2011), As you can see. Polish art today (as part of the Bracia [Brothers] duo, MSN, Warsaw, 2014), Czech-Polish stars (as part of the Bracia [Brothers] duo, Galerie Miroslava Kubika, Litomysl, 2015), When will I be small again? (as part of the Bracia [Brothers] duo, Cricoteka, Kraków, 2016), What after the mistake (various locations, Warsaw, 2016), Midnight show 4 (BWA Studio Wrocław, 2016), Szalona Galeria (as part of the Bracia [Brothers] duo, MSN, Warsaw, 2016/2017 duet). He lives and works in Warsaw.