No 4 (100) 2014
October - December

Ethics and Aesthetics

Most works, presented during this year edition of the Young Triennial in Orońsko, have touched upon social issues and ethical questions. This cyclical event has been held since 1992.

Maria Franecka

Art historian. She publishes texts on contemporary art.

Maria Franecka

SOME, OUT OF 25 ARTISTS, have chosen their creative path quite late, following achievements in a completely different area. It is worth remembering that Jan Berdyszak has been the father of the triennial concept. In contrast to the last year edition, when artists remained detached from the surrounding reality, approached it with a sense of irony, and focused on a private zone, this year one could observe more involved attitude. Artists have entered into a subtle game with a viewer, reversed ideas and blurred obvious cliché associations. They have been weaving in and out between the aesthetic and the drastic, between a sense of bliss and aggression experience. Purposefully misleading, they have disturbed a standard way of thinking.

Urszula Piergończuk has offered a film maintained in the pseudo documentary tradition, main part featured by a parabellum pistol (luger pistol). A jarring note in the film perception has been based on the contrast in the narration, where a calm broadcaster's voice, as though from a program on nature, tells about tragic events caused by use of this weapon or comments on brutal scenes. A subsequent clash has been indicated by a Latin proverb tattooed on main characters' arms: Si vis pacem para bellum - if you wish for peace, get ready for war. The name of the pistol - borrowed from this phrase, meant as a justification for violence - has been turned into an accusation to point out that this approach is being completely groundless.

The film by Natalia Bażowska illustrates extraordinary relations with a she-wolf. These animals have been generally considered wild, dangerous and aggressive. The artist has dealt with the topic of closeness. As she writes herself: "A sense of closeness is stronger than a self preservation instinct. To come close to a stranger is to reject defense mechanisms..." When one talks about closeness, one reveals that this is a universal need; for humans and for animals alike. Thus, an automatic way of association is being disturbed.

Further, Szymon Popielec, an author of the "Temple", has invited a viewer to join the game. The first, subconscious perception of the piece is quite positive. The installation attracts through its intense palette and details offered. One cannot grasp all of  these at the first glance. It calls for a more thorough analysis. Only then one can perceive brutal scenes involving plastic figurines. Subconsciously expecting positive experience, one is even more shocked by the drastic. It is hard not to bring back the medieval visions of Hell, as illustrated by Hieronim Bosch, where anthropomorphous creatures and deformed human figures - outlined in the greatest detail - offer various pictures of suffering and enslavement.

A decoratively patterned screen, being a part of the "Sub rosa (II)" piece by Ewa Pawlata turns strongly towards aesthetics. Other version of this work present knives, ornamentally arranged on animal furs. Behind a partition there is a book on which cover one can see a motive resembling a gothic rosette. Only after opening the book, a viewer faces verismo photographs depicting people covered all over in blood, and animal with their throats cut.

Agnieszka Piotrowska, the author of the "Obsessive and Compulsive Disorder" has been one of the artists who decided to study fine arts after she had obtained a degree in a completely different area, i.e., a doctorate in psychiatry. The video installation she has showed covers three films presented simultaneously. Verging on the contemplative, the scenes have been maintained in sterile aesthetics. Women, totally focused on what they are doing, seem to function within their own worlds. This impression has been further intensified when one of the screens shows a woman sewing herself up in the cocoon made of some kind of fabric.

Participants: Sylwia Aniszewska, Marta Antoniak, Natalia Bażowska, Michalina Bigaj, Aleksandra Chciuk,  Marcin Fabiński, Miłosz Flis, Natalia Janus-Malewska, Janusz Jasiński, Urszula i Emanuel Kluz-Knopek, Mikołaj Kowalski, Agata Kus, Adam Laska, Katarzyna Leszko, Daria Malicka, Justyna Mędrala, Ewa Pawlata, Urszula Pieregończuk, Agnieszka Piotrowska, Szymon Popielec, Dominik Ritszel, Artur Rozen, Anna Siekierska, Urszula Sępkowska, Martyna Szwinta.

"The Young Triennial", Leszek Golec, the curator; the Polish Sculpture Center, Orońsko, October - November 2014.