This work was first presented at the office of “Gazeta Wyborcza” in Lublin, and a disused reception office was used for this purpose. Apart from paraphernalia typical of the time of the People’s Republic, the interior also contains some props that look like personal belongings of the staff working on the reception desk.
The installation consists of a free-standing, enclosed space measuring 3 x 4.5 m entered through an opening on the left in one of its walls. All the walls as well as the floor and the ceiling are white and covered in black letters, which contrast sharply with the background, lit by fluorescent light. The letters have been placed in horizontal and vertical rows so as to result in a regular grid. Many letters have been turned by 90 ̊ in relation to the vertical or horizontal axis. At first glance, the selection of letters may seem random; however, on closer scrutiny, only those letters have been included that are part of the word ”between” in Polish.
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.
Doświetlanie [Illuminating], by Monika Niwelińska, was inspired by the system of natural lighting of the first floor at the BWA Exhibition Pavilion in Kraków – today’s Bunkier Sztuki Gallery of Contemporary Art. The artist made an analysis of the specific history and topography of the place in the form of an installation, which was once lit up by sun rays coming through the skylights in the ceiling, and it underwent a transformation in the early years of the institution’s operation due to architectural interference. An intriguing architectural solution, which was planned in the 1960s by the Gallery’s architect, Krystyna Tołłoczko-Różyska, turned out to be utopian. The roof began to leak quickly.
The physical sense of space, things being material and, at the same time, cultural objects, physical presence and what it leaves behind are the key motifs of Vlatka Horvat’s works. Drawing dynamics from the performing arts area, the author weaves these kinds of motifs into her artistic activities, and also those that use the medium of drawing, collage, sculpture, or installation. In her works, the main actor disappears, and cannot be observed in the creative process, but there remains a trace of their action.
Fifteen bowls of dried-up paint each have a matching cloth on which someone has wiped their dirty hands. Each such “soiling/cleaning“ set is ascribed to a site of genocide. Washing hands is a symbolic act of removing oneself from these events and thereby from any responsibility. However, the material testimony remains.
The work is an accurate replica of Yasser Talal al Zahrani’s prison cell at the American detention camp for terrorist suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The Saudi prisoner died in 2006. The official cause of death was given as suicide. However, an examination by an independent pathologist showed traces of repeated beating, which could be indicative of torture. The work can be interpreted as a commentary on the abuse of human rights by imperialist powers, and the individual’s helplessness in the face of such behavior.
“The installation consists of separate elements, shaped more on the basis of context-specific particles of the work than its uniform form. I try to understand that the museum is a social and political construct with a powerful, extremely problematic load of meanings. It constitutes a physical manifestation of power, in the face of which we can only try to multiply its meaning, reciprocity, paradox and pluralism. Therefore, my work aims to respond to the dynamics and cosmogony of multiplicity of knowledge – be it historical, material or functional – but also to the sets of materializations that draw a portrait of space as a process played in an architectural framework.” In this way, Yane Calovski describes the conceptual assumptions of his installation. Its structurally diverse layers refer to the process of destroying the properties that characterize a given matter: erasing, removing, decolouring, and corrosion. In a wider perspective, they address the issue of the evanescence of memory and physical presence, materiality and abstraction.
The area of Tomasz Dobiszewski’s exploration is time and space, constraints of perception, illusion and interaction issues. In his works, which testify to the processes of taming the media, he does not limit himself to purely conceptual cognitive strategies but enriches the discourse with non-intellectual elements: sensual impressions and intuitive cognition. He combines messages which are legible to various human senses, and, while experimenting with the physiology of seeing or hearing, on the one hand he aims at fuller, more complete transfer, while on the other, he deprives the viewer of the possibility to learn about the essence of his work.
Łukasz Surowiec’s activities focus on the area of important social problems such as exclusion, homelessness, and poverty. The artist explores the relationships within marginalized groups and the perception of their representatives by other members of society. He creates prototypes of radical social actions, thanks to which he interferes with the reality of people functioning outside the capitalist system.
The site-specific installation by Andris Eglītis, who combines oil paintings on canvas and spatial objects, straddles the border of materiality and immateriality, documentation and imagination. The artist analyses the abstract ideas of post-war modernism (utopian design, simplicity of forms, and fascination with technology) and confronts them with the organic substantiality of reality. The structure of the work is on the one hand the historical and social context of the Gallery, its functioning in communist times, as well as the fate of its architecture and collections preceding 1989.
Historical conspiracy theories – the Muhlenberg legend, spectral time hypothesis, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion – have occupied the minds of a large group of scholars and lovers of the past for centuries, being also one of the most controversial and, at the same time, interesting elements of contemporary culture. For Hubert Gromny and Xavery Wolski, they became an inspiration to create the installation Crystal skulls are modern fakes? Adventure Movie. Starting from the eclectic nature of conspiracy theories, drawing randomly from historical science, pop culture, and futurology, the creators tested their typical determinants and created a new conspiracy narrative. It questions the official theories referring to the origins of the Slavic peoples. In this attempt to mediate conspiracy theories, the artists created the character of Janusz “Johnny” Bzibziak PhD – a Polish Indiana Jones – associated with the Archaeological Museum of Kraków. The protagonist is a specialist in the field of research on nomadic peoples and a proponent of a theory postulating links between the ancestors of Slavs, Cimmerians, and Scythians.