The Big Argument
WARSAW UNDER CONSTRUCTION 1
“The Big Argument”, project by Daniela Brahm of 2009, was created specially to the order of the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw. It is an effect of the artist’s several visits to Poland, resulting in hundreds of drawings (e.g. documenting the stations of the Warsaw Commuter Railway), photographs and models.
The definitive result of those visits is a satellite project that accompanies the exhibition within the frameworks of the WARSAW UNDER CONSTRUCTION festival – a cluster of billboards stuck in the honorary stand in front of the Palace of Culture and Science. The eight-meter high installation refers, among others, to the future role of the Museum building which, aiming to order the public sphere of the city centre, becomes the subject of disputes and antagonisms itself. Brahm imitates the language of the omnipresent advertisement – the large-format billboards and ubiquitous information boards and signboards, using them at the same time as a carrier of activist announcements concerning disputes among the users of the Parade Square.
She emphasizes the violence and complex character of conflicts that accompany the development and grabbing of public sphere by groups and communities driven by contradictory interests. At the same time, Brahm defines the city as “the biggest exhibition in the world”, treating art as a kind of magnifying glass, through which we look at pending urban, political and social processes. An optimistic conclusion emerges from the painting.
In a world where almost everything has already been designed (“from jeans to genes” – as Hal Foster puts it in a well-known essay, Design and Crime), there are still places that stubbornly resist the regular planning, the enclaves of architectonic anarchy, where anything might yet be designed, to the benefit of the residents. For the time being, Warsaw remains such a place.
Daniela Brahm (born in 1966 in Düsseldorf) – painter, author of installations and interventions in public space. Living and working in Berlin. On one of her text paintings, Proclamation Poster of 2004, Daniela Brahm presented a list of “all subjects she had been dealing with for 5 years”.
The list includes, among others, utopian expanses, privacy, fencings, houses, portraits and difficult characters. The artist’s output is spread between reflection on the potential co-participation, the exemplification of which are series of portraits and group scenes of local communities, and cataloguing modernistic architecture – natural urban scenery, against the background of which the spectacle of social interactions is performed. Both spheres of the artist’s interest meet in her spatial installations, when the paintings hung on scaffoldings create temporary architectural expanses – enclaves of linguistic swordplay, filled with competing slogans and utopian demands.