No 3 (91) 2012
July - September

What about This Communication?

Anna Klimczak and Agnieszka Rożnowska, two artists who have graduated from the same art university in Poznań, share similar interests, that is an approach to the body, space and environment.

Eulalia Domanowska

B. in 1960. Art historian, critic, curator. She publishes texts on contemporary art.

Eulalia Domanowska

THEY PURSUE DRAWING, GRAPHIC ARTS, PHOTOGRAPHY, VIDEO AND PERFORMANCE to probe the borders between the inner and outer aspects and cognitive possibilities. They apply an artistic language to tell about philosophical and culture oriented categories of the world.

The XX1 Gallery in Warsaw has put up the joint exhibition by the artists, entitled „Grafis". The project has  been meant for this particular space. The artists have taken into consideration large windows that offer an opportunity to see the exposition from outside. Works seen through the window pane can draw interest of any passer-by, a potential viewer. However, he does not see them directly, only through a transparent layer of glass that distorts the image and reflects other elements of the surroundings: the street, architecture, urban traffic and people. One is faced with the situation that is being experienced everyday, for example in shopping centers or in the urban areas housed with glass wall buildings that function as mirrors. "The contemporary communication has been based on the indirect, mediation and a ban of access to reach the "source" which might not exist at all" - Michał Suchora, the exhibition curator explains the concept of the project.

Agnieszka Rożnowska has showed the "Out of Context" series of graphic works and drawings" inspired with garment patterns. The artist has been following her interest in the interrelations between the body and space. Earlier, she has used photographs of her silhouette - processed in such a manner so as they developed into a sign system - to define and expose the surroundings; for example, she has coated the Toruń Wozownia (Coach House) Gallery interior with a printed wall paper featuring her body photographs arranged in a nearly abstract pattern. She has frequently placed graphic pieces or photographs in untypical places - on the floor or in the room corners to focus on their three dimensional qualities. This time she has applied garment patterns that at the first glance present an abstract geometrical, multi layer tangle of lines. Nevertheless, they are actually a precise structure to calculate size and mark curves for tailoring. The artist calls her approach to art "the act of choice" that involves resignation from all side motives. Only a viewer, who manages to reject other images, will perceive the one addressed to him by the artist. Nevertheless, she has not revealed any exact message of her works. One can see these as black minimalist signs, composed of overlapping forms. The act of choice, demanding full focus of a viewer, is not helpful at all. The forms are closed and communicate nothing. The curator says that "graphic pieces by Rożnowska are like contemporary culture symbols, containing numerous, superimposed layers".

Anna Klimczak has mounted an installation inside the Gallery; a multi layer spatial picture. Through a window pane one could see a large bird cage with a video recording that showed the performance by the artist held some years earlier in Japan. The author appeared there in a beautiful green forest. She was emerging from behind the trees to show sheets of paper with some words written on them. The words did not communicate any meaningful content. A milk glass pane that separated the artist from the audience was an additional perception barrier. During her several visits to Japan, the artist had an opportunity to learn their specific attitude to the space. Western people perceive the latter as the emptiness, Eastern people discern its definite shape and arrangement, and use the term "ma" to denominate it. The above has been the situation created by Anna Klimczak in the XX1 Gallery. The dark bird cage resounded with pleasant bird tunes, while the picture offered juicy green shades of an exotic forest. This attractive space, however, has been distant and inaccessible for us. The subject matter of the piece, as it has been the case with Rożnowska, is to hinder communication, if not to make it impossible.

Both artists have been dealing with essential topics. "Man does not search for knowledge of himself - Gurdziyev wrote - but for the way out of the self". One can interpret this sentence as the quest for one's own expression, interaction and communication within the social space. Today, when these are being distorted, besides stating the fact, one tries to restore it. Nobody knows, however, whether this is feasible.

Anna Klimczak, Agnieszka Rożnowska, "Grafis", the XX1 Gallery, Warsaw, May 2012.