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- Author Janek Simon
- Date of production 2007
- Dimensions height: 134 cm, length: 80 cm, width: 80 cm
- Author's designation none
- ID no. BS/936
- Availability in stock
- Acquired date 2007
- Object copyright Bunkier Sztuki Gallery of Contemporary Art
- Digital images copyright © all rights reserved, Bunkier Sztuki Gallery of Contemporary Art
- Digitalisation RPD MIC, Virtual Małopolska project
Janek Simon’s interests include theories and models as well as scientific disciplines, such as geography and economics, which are subject to evolution along with civilizational changes. His works have an experimental and anarchic character, reflecting the clash of scientific theories with the reality of everyday life. His works are prototypes, models, and complicated electronic systems, created according to the principle Do It Yourself by the artists himself. He incessantly seeks extra-systemic solutions, which allow him to break away from contemporary art of a capitalist character.more
Janek Simon’s interests include theories and models as well as scientific disciplines, such as geography and economics, which are subject to evolution along with civilizational changes. His works have an experimental and anarchic character, reflecting the clash of scientific theories with the reality of everyday life. His works are prototypes, models, and complicated electronic systems, created according to the principle Do It Yourself by the artists himself. He incessantly seeks extra-systemic solutions, which allow him to break away from contemporary art of a capitalist character.
The artist is also familiar with commentaries on contemporary economics and global politics and the dissonance between utopian assumptions and their brutal implementation. One of the works referring to these issues is Ryugyong Hotel, depicting the shape of a skyscraper hotel in Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea. The model, made of Plexiglas, mirrors a 105-storey building, which is a dominant visual feature of the city, and, at the same time, the largest construction in the country. The construction of this giant building began in 1987, and it was recognized as one of the flagship investments of the totalitarian regime. The finished building, consisting of 3,000 rooms and seven revolving restaurants, was supposed to have opened in June 1989, during the World Festival of Youth and Students, and to have been living proof of the power of the dictatorship. Increasing construction costs, technological and material problems as well as the growing crisis in the country generated significant delays and eventually led to the decision to suspend construction in 1992. For years, the unfinished skyscraper remained a utopian dream, considered as a visual metaphor of the Korean system. The object, created by Janek Simon, in this context has become a symbol of the triumph of aspiration over possibility, a sinister monument of a totalitarian regime, a contemporary Kafkaesque castle, which is terrifying and confusing. At the same time, through its medium, the artist shows the schizophrenia of the Korean dictatorship, which introduces capitalist luxury — officially banned by the communist ideology — into a country ravaged by hunger and poverty.
In 2008, the world was informed of the re-start of construction work and the beginning of the renovation of the top floors. By 2012, most of the windows in the upper and middle part of the skyscraper had been installed, and the first photographs documenting its interiors were also published. A year later, however, it was decided to suspend the work. Utopia has yet to become reality.
Elaborated by Anna Lebensztejn (Bunkier Sztuki Gallery of Contemporary Art),
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Poland License.
Janek Simon (born 1977) is a multimedia artist. He is the author of interactive installations, computer games, video films, objects, mock-ups, and artistic actions. He studied psychology and sociology at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków. He is the winner of the main prize of the Deutsche Bank Culture Foundation and Zachęta, the National Gallery of Art competition, Views 2007. In 2007, he was nominated for Polityka’s Passports. He is the author of one-man shows, including: Games and fun (Arsenał Gallery, Białystok, 2003), Krakowiacy lubią czystość [Cracovians like cleanliness] (Zachęta — National Gallery of Art, Warsaw, 2005), Rok Polski na Madagaskarze [Polish year in Madagascar] (Atlas Sztuki, Łódź, 2006), Gradient (Bunkier Sztuki Gallery of Contemporary Art, Kraków, 2007), A Sequence of Events in a Space (Casino Luxembourg, Luxembourg, 2008), Tristes Tropiques (Platan Gallery, Budapest, 2009). His works have been presented at numerous collective expositions, including: Novart.pl (Kraków, 2002), Game Scenes (Yerba Buena Centre for the Arts, San Francisco, 2004), Bad News (Kronika Centre for Contemporary Art, Bytom, 2006), Please Love Me (Walker’s Point Centre for the Art, Milwaukee, 2006), Excentric Paths ... (Berardo Collection Museum, Lisbon, 2008), Extremely rare events. Distribution of Nooavangarda (Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art, Warsaw, 2009), Robotnicy opuszczają swoje miejsca pracy [Workers leave their workplaces] (Museum of Art in Łódź, 2010). In 2008–2012, he ran a non-commercial space of art, Goldex Poldex, in Kraków. Together with Jakub de Barbaro and Agnieszka Polska, he is the initiator of a mobile cultural centre, the Crazy Gallery, which, in July and August 2016, travelled around small towns in Poland. He lives and works in Warsaw.