Procedures for the head. Polish Art Today
Exhibition at Dom umenia / Kunsthalle Bratislava
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 representing different generations, media and art centers, focus was attributed to the most important work, approaches and themes employed by artists. Sebastian Cichocki and Łukasz Ronduda, the exhibition’s curators, intentionally chose the conservative 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.
Both exhibitions — in Warsaw, as well as in Bratislava — serve as a guide to the current direction of artistic events in Poland. These exhibitions were conceived at a specific moment — some time after Polish art emerged as a stable feature on the international scene, and, simultaneously, the period in which institutions became clearly more professional and radical. The current situation appears to fulfill the dreams of a previous generation of artists, for whom presence within the field of art was often related to the struggle for institutionalization and the position of the artist in society. However, the current situation does not resolve such problems, but, paradoxically, leads to new tensions between the institution and the artist, as well as the artist and the public. The result can be seen in the formation of the Civic Forum of Contemporary Art (Obywatelskie Forum Sztuki Współczesnej), which lobbies for legislation concerning the provision of social benefits to artists. This younger generation of artists enters the art world — which is already defined and professionalized — with a clearly articulated hierarchy and precise rules of operation.
The exhibition "Procedures for the head. Polish Art Today" is a showcase not only of the methods of modeling the world through art, but also of understanding and imagining an alternative reality by building a relationship between the past and an anticipated future. The Warsaw exhibition pointed to what is new on the Polish art scene, while the artworks and events were grouped together to form a narrative. The exhibition in Bratislava is based on a more intuitive formal relationship between the chosen works, whilst also focusing on the dark, imaginative element in contemporary Polish art. The key themes present in the exhibition are the rediscovery of avant-garde strategies including the search for inspiration in other art forms (film or literature), the use of narrative elements, the frequent reanimation of the so-called ‘traditional’ art and abstraction, and the focus of the artists upon materiality.
The name of this exhibition 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.
This exhibition has been organized by Kunsthalle Bratislava in co-operation with the Museum of Modern Art (Muzeum Sztuki Nowoczesnej) in Warsaw.
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 & 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