No 4 (84) 2010
October - December

In Space

The Contemporary Art Gallery in Opole has hosted the second edition of the Ars Polonia Biennial. The present exhibition, entitled In Space, has been a subsequent presentation of the Polish emigration art. Anna Potocka has been the author of the whole concept, and the project director.


Natalia Krawczyk

Art historian. She publishes texts on contemporary art.

Natalia Krawczyk

CURATORS STRESSED MULTIPLE MEANINGS of the problem faced by invited artists. The space from the title can be interpreted in a number of ways; in a physical, metaphoric, spiritual or mental context. A whole spectrum of possible interpretations has been matched with many formal means applied by the artists. Thus, the space is being interpreted in painting categories, as well as through installations, videos or performance. Ten artists, ten different creative stands, dozens of works, and the one problem - Space.

Art hates ramifications and limits, so this art has inevitably taken over public space. The environment being one of the most significant contexts for a piece of art to exist. The contemporary art has been strongly involved in developing the relations between an object and its surroundings. In Space exhibition has been focused on the discourse pertaining to a piece of art and its "existence" in space.

The exhibition has been opened with SuperFlow by Monika Loster. The abstract, expressionistic "picture" of intensive palette stays in a strong contrast to pure, white walls. It intensifies the impact of the piece to the extent that it seems to blast the space; only within this context the work appears complete. Ewa Partum invites a viewer to enter a room she arranged; a familiar, everyday space - a private zone. The latter, through media, is being invaded by public space. The artist encourages visitors to take a seat on a sofa strewn with 9/11th 2001 WTC tragedy. Over the sofa there is an ironic, nevertheless true slogan: Catastrophes happen everyday, art is made rarely. This line introduces a discourse of polarization between the public and private space. The antonymic juxtaposition is an attempt to outline the coordinates of the point where - fully polarized - spheres of behavior and experience merge.

Krzysztof Bednarski has made Heksastylos - Variations on a Theme (homage a Oskar Hansen) specially for this exhibition. The artist has been inspired with a colonnade running along two floors of the gallery building. He has multiplied it five times; the forms arranged in one of the exhibition rooms, formed a heksastylos. The columns have been installed on mobile bases which were moved by the artist during the gala opening. The column metaphorically stands for an axes of the world supporting the horizon. It is a symbol of lasting, endurance, strength and trust. When this form is multiplied, so are the values it stands for. Could it be the multiplication of trust in art?

The only opportunity to see the Teatrino Phantom by Antoni Malinowski is to visit the exhibition. The author has been working nearly for three weeks on the space between the Annex located between the Gallery and Theater. Inside, viewers are treated to a colorful spectacle, with a short movie sequence featuring Gerhard Hartmann, an actor, pacing the space between the Gallery, Theater and Annex. The actor has applied in his choreography the forms familiar from the movement alphabet by Grotowski. All these are painting oriented, impressive; the amorphous spots get blurred inside which indicates a second dimension of the term "phantom" , suggesting the presence of the spiritual element. The artist approaches this type of a performance as a specific kind of photography. "I am photosensitive" - Malinowski says. What we are seeing I s a record of a certain, existing situation that is taking place here, and it refers to the light and shadow reflections. This is a record of what happened, with the reality reflected in glass pane imposed on it, the latter being a part of the surrounding environment.

The artists, taking part in the exhibition, share more than the fact that all of them are Poles and emigrants. First of all, they show a common approach to art as something temporary and dynamic, dependant upon a definite location, time and audien-ce contribution. A subjective reception of a viewer, each time creates the piece from the start.


"In Space. 2nd Ars Polonia Biennial"; artists: Edward Baran, Krzysztof M. Bednarski, Elżbieta and Emil Ćieślar, Monika Handke, Antoni Malinowski, Ewa Partum, Teresa Tyszkiewicz, Monika Loster, Xawery Wolski; curators: Agnieszka Dela, Łukasz Kropiowski, The Contemporary Art Gallery, Opole, September - October 2010.