Monday, 23 February 2015

agnieszka piksa: weather shift

One of the artists participating in Procedures for the Head at Kunsthalle Bratislava is Agnieszka Piksa - a drawer and illustrator from Cracow. We are showing several episodes from her gorgeous graphic novel Gvozden (Ironman, 2013), the result of a two-year collaboration between Piksa and Serbian scriptwriter Vladimir Palibrk.  The parts of the novel are scattered around the building, creating alternative paths between the exhibition sections. The project had been produced for the 31st Bienal de São Paulo. This is one of the episodes, Weather Shift.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

procedures for the head. polish art today

The photograph above was taken in the (already almost abandoned) studio of Jakub Julian Ziółkowski in Cracow. His new work The Sufferers was commissioned for the exhibition Działania na głowę (Procedures for the Head) at Kunsthalle Bratislava, which is to be launched next Thursday. Join us for the opening!
"Procedures for the Head. Polish Art Today is a continuation of the exhibition As You Can See presented at the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw at the beginning of 2014. This exhibition was the first such extensive presentation of contemporary Polish art in more than a decade. Featuring more than 80 artists, the curators of the show opted for the ambiguous exhibition format of the art salon in an attempt to shift attention from curatorial experimentation to the works of art themselves. However, it was a rather unusual salon — critical, emancipatory, psychedelic, often brutal, perverse, self-confident and ambiguous. 

The name of this exhibition in Bratislava was taken from a series of artistic performances in the 1970s authored by the radical neo-avant-garde duo KwieKulik (Zofia Kulik and Przemysław Kwiek). During these performances, the artists created works of art on various heads: their own, the heads of models, as well as the heads of other artists. The duo KwieKulik pointed to elements of the game, process, connections between the audience and the artists and material characteristic of the new art. Many works presented within this exhibition refer to the comprehensive art project authored by KwieKulik, which was an attempt at erasing the boundaries between private and public space, and between artistic creation and political involvement. These are “procedures” for the viewer's head, but also works that use the mind as a tool to “calibrate” what is both visible and invisible around us." 
The list of artists: Paweł Althamer & Paulina Antoniewicz & Jacek Taszakowski, Ewa Axelrad, Mirosław Bałka, Wojciech Bąkowski, Piotr Bosacki, Paweł Bownik, Olaf Brzeski, Rafał Bujnowski, Oskar Dawicki, Wojciech Doroszuk, Mikołaj Grospierre, Aneta Grzeszykowska, Aneta Grzeszykowska and Jan Smaga, Łukasz Jastrubczak, Ewa Juszkiewicz, Magdalena Karpińska, Tomasz Kowalski, Agnieszka Kurant, Milena Korolczuk, Zbigniew Libera, Goshka Macuga, Marcin Maciejowski, Honorata Martin, Krzysztof Mężyk, Gizela Mickiewicz, Katarzyna Mirczak, Anna Molska, Mikołaj Moskal, Witek Orski, Sławomir Pawszak, Agnieszka Piksa, Agnieszka Polska, Katarzyna Przezwańska, Wojciech Puś, Karol Radziszewski, Joanna Rajkowska, Bianka Rolando, Wilhelm Sasnal, Maciej Sieńczyk, Janek Simon, Slavs and Tatars, Łukasz Surowiec, Monika Szwed, Iza Tarasewicz, Mariusz Tarkawian, Aleksandra Waliszewska, Jakub Woynarowski, Jakub Julian Ziółkowski, Anna Zaradny, Artur Żmijewski

Sunday, 15 February 2015

cabinet # 54

Our beloved magazine Cabinet from NYC, has recently (since the previous issue) undergone quite a metamorphosis, changing its layout and paper. Nothing flamboyant though, the disciplined and reserved form still serves the recalcitrant magazine's content.
Issue # 54 is dedicated to accidents. Putting aside the delicious textual layers (fiascos, crashes, falls etc.), this is its mysterious cover which is worth a closer investigation. The Cabinet-makers explain it in a short text included in the new section called Kiosk: "Seven days before going to press, we called our fiend and colleague James Oles in Mexico City to see whether it might be possible to commission an ex-voto for this issue. By the next morning, James reported that he had managed to persuade folk artist Daniel Vilchis to take on the project". James Oles is an author of the article The Virgin doesn't care why you fall included in the same issue, which muses upon the mysterious relationship between ex-votos and divine intervention. Some details of the cover and other ex-votos from the Oles' article:

Friday, 13 February 2015

andrzej wróblewski recto/ verso

This is a new book on the preeminent postwar artist Andrzej Wróblewski (1927-1957). His life was short but insanely prolific. The legacy of Wróblewski is grim, death-obsessed and painfully tormented. It goes without saying that it has never felt more contemporary than now. The volume consists of essays by a team of international scholars and is published by the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, accompanying the show Recto/ Verso, which opened yesterday. 

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

the o.h. doll

And the story continues... This is a doll impersonating Oskar Hansen. The doll lives in Szumin in a lovely but abandoned summerhouse. When it prays it says: 

I believe in form that no-one restricts. 
I believe in a just division of competence. 
I believe in freedom given to the end user. 

Let the world be our map, let it be filled with love. 
Evil is revealed through ambition. 
Pettiness is the devil incarnate that weakens our will. 

Let critics perish forever and ever.
Let us pray that the art be the stage and backdrop for real life. 
Let the good not fill the form but transcend it. 
Let the artist not be a false god. 
Let the body of work be our body.

Let us pray that we not judge our fellow man in haste, that we not flatter ourselves, nor close off the paths of development that shall lead us to a new, better world.
The form from the premise, the premise of good will, and in good will the spirit of the future shall manifest itself. 

Truth in the material that shall be intangible and invisible. 
Truth in the form that no-one and nothing shall constrain. 
Truth in the function that we shall discover all together, following the light of love. 

(The doll was photographed by Janek Smaga/ The text is a fragment from "We are all in this alone", accompanying Hristina Ivanoska and Yane Calovski's exhibition at the Pavilion of Republic of Macedonia, 56th Venice Biennale)  

Sunday, 8 February 2015

the house as open form

As the time accelerates and the unread books are piling up all over the place, it's worth to look back at some, rather underestimated books published in 2014. Let's start with The House as Open Form. The book is a portrait of a house - it's dedicated to the summerhouse of Zofia and Oskar Hansen in a small village of Szumin, the building which is considered to be the fullest materialization of the Open Form theory. The book includes over one hundred photographs by Jan Smaga (taken in let spring 2005 and autumn 2006, some samples below) and texts by Aleksandra Kędziorek and Filip Springer (the author of the excellent popular book Zaczyn about the Hansens, from 2013). As the authors claim: "At the house in Szumin, architecture is the "absorptive background" of everyday events. The unique ambiance is enhanced by traces of their activities and passions, such as didactic tools for teaching the basics of composition, his steel exhibition structure from the Venice Biennale in 1977 now supporting a climbing vine, and the expansive wood dovecote that, as Zofia Hansen, used to say, partly in jest, was the most complete embodiment of her husband's ideas". And yes, there are even photographs of the famous free-standing wicket without the fence, which the dog Puryc used to jump over, or according to the legend, the gate to another dimensions: the embodiment of Open Form. 
All the photos below: courtesy of Jan Smaga and Foksal Gallery Foundation