Friday, 19 June 2015

honorata martin at sculpture park in bródno

Honorata Martin’s art unfolds in real time and on a scale of 1:1. In her works, the logic of the event yields to the need to maintain continuity and to (with)stand. Martin is a radical performer who works with an “unradical” matter: the world around her (people, animals, buildings, streets, river, etc.) as well as with her own emotions and experiences. So far, her art has materialised for instance as a hike across the secluded areas of provincial Poland, and a renewal project in a worn tenement house. Many of Honorata Martin’s activities require the artist to overcome the constraints of her own body and social taboos – her projects have seen her hanging down from the balcony of a residential block, immersing herself in a filthy river of sewage in winter, or allowing strangers to come into her house and take her personal belongings with them. For Martin, art is a natural extension of basic life functions: eating, sleeping, walking, and sometimes mourning or fear. Most of her works escape the frames of exhibition displays or art events. An inherent aspect of her art is the risk of testing your artistic competence (not only manual skills but also the ability to build temporary communities or confront the viewers with their own repressed desires) far away from art institutions and the security and legitimisation that they offer.
The artist’s most renowned project, Going out into Poland, consisted in a solitary roam that the artist began in the summer of 2013 in Gdańsk without any specified plan. After two months Martin reached the town of Dzierżoniów in Lower Silesia on foot. The project highlights the characteristic edge of the artist’s practice, which develops between the artist and a random viewer without institutions and their rituals as a go-between. At the same time, Martin builds temporary enclaves of communication, acceptance, and exchange. Documentation is of secondary importance and functions as a “report” from mundane worlds, a mere shift of the everyday. Akin to the art practices of Paweł Althamer, the initiator of the Bródno Sculpture Park, in Martin’s work fundamental experiences do not necessarily arise from journeys to far-off lands, quite the opposite, they most often emerge from the artist’s immersion in the exoticism of the local environment.
Honorata Martin’s practice reveals a “post-institutional” dimension. Her activities echo the art of the 1970s, founded on going beyond the limits of the body and the passage of time, blurring the boundaries between artistic practice and everyday life, as it was the case in performances by Tehching Hsieh, Lee Lozano, and Bas Jan Ader, among other artists. Still, Martin’s art is immersed in the specific here and now – Poland in the 21st century, an environment that the artist addresses with a heavy load of personal fears and fantasies.The artist camps out in the Bródno Park, making use of the green enclave in the Targówek area as her temporary home. The idea to dwell in an urban park inevitably brings to mind the question of displacement and the necessity to develop new forms of communication in a world that shakes in its political and economic foundations. Honorata Martin’s performance at the Bródno Sculpture Park confronts the problems of survival, exchange and hospitality, as well as escapism. The artist’s activity is founded on a sequence of developments, interactions, events that take place when the audience is not there, occurrences that relate to and involve accidental witnesses.