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New Exercising Modernity exhibition: “Soft Ground”
What is Modernity? | 5th birthday of Exercising Modernity
25.10, 19.00 | BHROX bauhaus reuse, Ernst-Reuter-Platz, 10587 Berlin
Organizer: the Pilecki Institute in Berlin
Partners: BHROX bauhaus reuse, Adam Mickiewicz Institute
Curators: Małgorzata Jędrzejczyk, Aleksandra Janus
Artists whose works are featured in the exhibition: Artists: Zofia Janina Borysiewicz, Laure Catugier, Michał Kowalski, Vinicius Libardoni, Daphna Noy, Aurélie Pertusot, Marcin Szczodry, Agata Woźniczka, Yael Vishnizki-Levi
Co-financed by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland.
The exhibition is the result of a critical and interdisciplinary reflection on modernism undertaken within five years of the Exercising Modernity project. The invited artists, the graduates of the Exercising Modernity Academy in the years 2018–2022, employ various research tools and artistic methods to analyze places, objects and biographies. They delve into lesser-known, underreported, or less obvious aspects of modernism and its relationship with modernity and modernization processes. By translating these phenomena into contemporary artistic imagery, they aim to cast new light on modernism, both its history and its contemporary ways of understanding.
“On loss” is a collective exhibition of Ukrainian artists, curated by Nikita Kadan. The artist has been working in the residence of the Lviv Municipal Art Center since June. This exhibition is the result of Kadan’s stay at our institution and the realization of the planned exhibition project in the gallery of the Center.
Authors: Yevgenia Belorusets, Open Group, Oleg Holosiy, Alla Horska, Nikita Kadan, Yarema Malashchuk and Roman Khimey, Margaryta Polovynko, Daniil Revkovskiy and Andriy Rachynskiy, Fedir Tetyanych.
The curator about the exhibition “Regarding loss”: “This exhibition is about life-in-loss. Not a list of losses, not a mourning, but an attempt to capture the state of constant loss as such and give it form and voice. Losses become milestones on the historical path, whereas any accumulation is usually ahistorical. It is doubtful and impure, only loss is pure. The lost creates an alternate canon, treasures gathered in heaven.“
Vlatka Horvat’s Good Company presents a selection of works from the museum’s Sculpture collection through the lens of the artist’s practice.
In the space of the exhibition, small groups of works from different eras and artistic movements are placed in dialogue with each other. Figurative pieces and abstract works sit side by side, and their spatial arrangements underscore contrasts and connections between different formal gestures and sculptural materials. Horvat’s selection and presentation of works offers a playful, dynamic view of the grouped sculptures, their relations, connections and possible interpretations.
Alongside the installation of works in space, Horvat has made an experimental wall-based publication in the form of seven new collages. These works respond to and deploy reference photographs of artworks taken from the collection database, creating sequences of images that link works via visual equivalences and contrasts, regardless of their scale. Staging morphological transformations from image to image, the work invites us to ask questions about how we understand the world through different forms of categorization and organization.
Relations that emerge between the works in the exhibition Good Company become a metaphor for relations within actual social structures. Affinities and connections, as well as differences and contrasts, are all at work in this loose assembly, raising questions about belonging and being together, sharing space and the idea of community.
Vlatka Horvat is an artist working across a wide range of forms, from sculpture, installation, drawing, collage and photography to performance, video, writing and publishing. Reconfiguring space and social relations at play in it, her projects often rework the precarious relationship between bodies, objects, materials, the built environment and landscape. Her work is presented internationally in a variety of contexts – in museums and galleries, performance venues and festivals, and in public space, and is held in numerous public and private collections in Europe, North America and Asia. After spending twenty years in the US where she moved to as a teenager, she currently lives in London, and teaches in the Fine Art department at Central Saint Martins / University of the Arts London.
Hundun is a faceless being representing primal and fertile chaosin the Daoist tale of the Zhuangzi. Its story implies themes such as the relationship between society and the individual, the tendency of the majority to uniformise against those who are different from them. The fact that the originally amorphous shape of Hundun is being reduced to an anthropomorphic figure by a tight suit as a classic type of uniform points out ironically the narrowing of individuality and creative potential.
Several clothes hangers bear the label VOR, an abbreviation standing for Red October Garment Factory. The factory of the Hungarian socialist era is not just historically interesting: the socialist work ethos, the glorification of over-achievement and the notion of accumulation in the installation provide an opportunity to reflect on the unsustainability of our consumer culture as well.
Violetta Vigh, Media Design student at Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design, is interested in different forms and technologies of media art, searching for ways to express a phenomenon, concept or story in visual metaphor. She is interested in interdisciplinary and research-based projects, such historical and sociological topics like the emergence of the heliocentric worldview, the history of aviation technology, the changing roles of women in society during the great witch-hunts or the cultural impact of the music programme of Radio Free Europe.
Puccs Contemporary Art Address: 1084 Budapest, Víg u. 22. Opening hours: 0-12 pm
Cairo Contemporary, Budapest
The main inspirations for Hungarian visual artist, Antal Plank, are the graffiti and various street art forms. What meant a kind of fun and rebel idea for him as a teenager, the experience gained during academic years turned it to a new and exciting journey, where all that he was interested in could finally blended. The fluidity, dynamism and weight of graffiti works can make new sense and new dimension in the space.
“Street art effects people, possesses energy, represents a lifestyle, yet it calls everyone. – I think this is what attracted me in it.”
Antal Plankhas gradually turned from block-like, organic forms to crystal- and origami-like shapes built from planes; and currently he is also experimenting with pinking and the void. He is playing with the tension and balance of forms and colours, proportions, planes and polygons. Seeing his works, most viewers associate to some kind of creature, movement or swing, which collate to the intention of the artist. He never gives exact description to his works, as he is curious the feedback of others, and see how the “space game” works.
Antal Plank started as a stonemason and decoration sculpture to continue family tradition. In 2007, he was admitted to the Hungarian Academy of Arts, where first he was interested mainly in minimalistic, robust, industrial form. In his third and forth year, he started to adopt his graffiti sketches for the space, or use the space itself to visualise this style. This is what he is still interested in.
The Steel Sculptural and Fine Arts Symposium of Kecskemét, the program he joins regularly, had a great influence on his work. Currently, he is th artist of Godot Labor Gallery and head of the sculpture workshop at the Hungarian Academy of Arts.
Curated by: Gábor Pintér
A basic cameraA basic camera function serving to see an object from up close, zoom lies at a thematic and symbolic intersection of Izabella Gustowska’s and Jolanta Marcolla’s work. The artistic practices of these two representatives of the 1970s neo-avant-garde and media art are exhibited here to shed new light on their creative approaches and bring them closer together.
Gustowska and Marcolla belong to a generation debuting in the 1970s. Their early works represent the beginnings of feminist thought’s impact on visual arts. Both studied during the same period, Gustowska in Poznań, Marcolla in Wrocław. Their life paths never converged, but their pieces were shown together at Kunst mit Eigen-Sinn. Aktuelle Kunst von Frauen, an exhibition at Vienna’s mumok. Initiated in 1985 by Valie Export, this showcase became a manifesto of feminist art of the era, featuring Miriam Cahn, Sophie Calle, Helen Chadwick, Valie Export, Isa Genzken, Jenny Holzer, Barbara Kruger, Maria Lassnig, Ulrike Rosenbach Cindy Sherman, Nancy Spero, Rosemarie Trockel, as well as Izabella Gustowska and Jolanta Marcolla, among others.
Both these artists used personal image in their work, their own and of other women. Their need to express themselves by showing their bodies, faces, whole or in fragments, was similar to that of other women artists active in the 1970s, such as Natalia LL, Ewa Partum, Teresa Tyszkiewicz. The female figure served them to conduct visual experimentation with its roots in conceptual art, in search of formal and self-thematic qualities. They took the initiative and created art following their own rules, recording everyday reality and permanently embedding it in the sphere of artistic activity.
Jolanta Marcolla isn’t following anyone. Autodesk_new the protagonist of almost all of her photographic and film works, both as a subject and an object of her creative explorations. Although her practice originates from the conceptual tradition, the artist also focusses on analyzing personal image in the context of social mores and the media’s impact on women’s self-awareness. The body in communist Poland was not as commercialized as in capitalist countries, but a clearly defined canon of beauty and fashion was also promoted and imposed here in the media and how-to guides. With her signature irony and sense of humor, Marcolla works her own way around beauty tips on how to make the lips look larger, use a cucumber face mask, easily coiffe flirtatious curls over her forehead. She is surely a talented actress, capable of embodying a plethora of characteristic, lively figures that look and behave in different ways despite the modest range of available transformation tools, limited to make-up, hairstyle, and facial expression.
Izabella Gustowska’s works in the exhibition represent her series Relative Traits of Likeness. The artist, who herself has a twin brother, explores her fascination with physical similarity. The eponymous “relativity” refers to emotional and characterological differences between twins. Similarly to Marcolla, a director of her own image, Gustowska becomes a subtle and tender portraitist of her models: famous Wichna and Hanka, the Krajewski Sisters, her elder sister Lula, her spiritual “twin by choice” – Krystyna Piotrowska, and herself. Girls and women from her graphic prints and films remain faithful to themselves, natural in acting out their given roles: sticking their tongues out, pulling faces, ruffing their hair, baring their teeth, mirroring each other’s gestures. In this way, they reject the constraints of being good-looking and nice. They’re having fun: wearing a fake moustache, making sculptural casts of their body fragments, and sometimes coming into close physical contact, thus enacting a corporeal monotype. Always together, they are double, but at the same time individual, aware of the camera lens, the close-up, the zoom, while also ignoring it by concentrating heavily on themselves. They are accompanied by their tender guide, friend, and sister Izabella Gustowska.
The encounter between Gustowska’s and Marcolla’s work is far from random, although it does have an experimental quality to it. Their pieces differ markedly in formal terms. Gustowska has worked on a large scale from the very beginning – her colourful graphic prints based on photographs confront viewers with a life-size female figure. Marcolla, in turn, mostly remains faithful to small-scale, intimate, black-and-white photographic prints. Bringing these two dimensions together in a single exhibition throws into relief the characteristics of both artists’ work. Seeking visibility in the male-centric art world of the 1970s and 1980s, they reclaimed a place for woman’s image created according to their own rules. They did this with an air of frivolity and humour, working and playing at the same time.
During the exhibition, on 7 October 2023, lokal_30 will host the 29th Feminist Seminar: New Collectivity – Today’s Perspectives on Women’s Art in the 1970s
Matronage: Feminist Seminar Emancipation Office
The exhibition focusesThe exhibition focuses on the works of three Baltic women artists – Malle Leis (1940–2017), Maija Tabaka (1939) and Marija Teresė Rožanskaitė (1933–2007) – in the late Soviet era of the 1970s and 1980s. All three of the artists challenged contemporary art discourses through non-conventional approaches to self-representation, ways of creating space and reflections on being artists.
Leis, Tabaka and Rožanskaitė were all exceptional artists in Soviet-occupied Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The education they got from art institutes in Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius in the 1950s and 1960s was similar in terms of its ideological and aesthetic principles, but soon they all moved beyond those principles: not necessarily by directly opposing their current art discourses, but by navigating them in ways that shifted and blurred the meanings of seemingly straightforward motifs and gestures.
curated by: Mia Milgrom, Natálie Kubíková
Garage Gallery is pleased to announce a solo exhibition by artist-in-residence Caspar Stracke (Berlin/Mexico City) who is transforming a prominent architectural feature of the gallery into an arena of battling virtual memories. In his works, Stracke is interested in architecture, urbanism and media archeology. He has exhibited internationally, including MoMa Cineprobe, Yerba Buena SF, Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid, ICC Tokyo and Museo Tamayo in Mexico City. He was the co-director of video_dumbo in NYC and was a professor at the Finish Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki.
Found objects from the space and its vicinity become search prompts for a corresponding suite of virtual memory objects that attempt to turn the gallery inside out, the terminal point of a collection that spirals outward into the world. Stracke set out to scan particular things that set forth such memory triggers. Particular objects found inside and outside the gallery relate to recreation, locomotion and labor. Used furniture, tools, cars and fragments of entire house facades are placed on a slowly rotating virtual platform, where they are joined by a collection of associated objects in a perpetual call and response.
Soothing and Moving is an examination of associative memory, which becomes a neural collagist perpetually creating networks and interrelations. Memory as a construction site reveals the inevitable compulsion to create and recognize patterns from which discourse and reality are formed.
The site-specific installation is accompanied by Stracke’s earlier works, that all embrace ideas of associative image juxtapositions with binary logics. The video work Grüße aus Kramersdorf (Greetings from Kramersdorf, 2021) traces the impact of former German colonial architecture in present-day Namibia. It is an inquiry into what role these edifices play in society by looking at turn-of-the-century German “Biedermeier” architecture in the Namibian cities of !Nami≠nüs: (Lüderitz) and Swakopmund. The title names a neighborhood in Swakopmund where this building style is prominent. Architectural features make these houses indistinguishable from those built in Germany during the same time period, whereas the post-colonial African context makes them unwanted memorials.
Manufacturing Dogma (2022) is a floor installation featuring a glass-shattered video display which assembles moving images out of thousands of associated image fragments, each displayed as an individual glass shard. The work investigates the strategic visual language of far-right influencers as well as conspiracy theories used in certain social media channels. Sur les Situationnistes, une comité Invisible (2016) is a text piece in which a famous Situationist slogan is overwritten, letter-by-letter with another anti-authoritarian slogan originating from a more recent activist movement, epitomizing a historical clash of leftist ideologies.
The exhibition presents an artistic dialogue between Róża Litwa and Rafał Bujnowski. These two are not creating joint works, but building a joint exhibition. Its opening was preceded by meetings and discussions. In the gallery, Róża and Rafał talk without words but through pictures. The exhibition was born from the intuition that they had something to say to each other. They speak two different languages, but they understand each other.
When arranging a joint exhibition, Róża and Rafał did not set themselves a problem that they intended to solve by joining forces. The topic is the encounter between an artist and an artist who notice each other, respect each other and are curious about what they will see when they look at their own creation through the prism of the other person’s work.
At this exhibition — before we answer the question: what they both say — we ask another question: how they say it.
If the exhibition were a conversation between two people, we would listen to the tone of their voices. We would read lips. We would look at body language, facial expressions and gestures.
If their works were texts, we would study not only the written words, but also — and even above all — the handwriting, the composition of the ink used for writing, the matter and texture of the surface on which the signs were placed.
Or maybe Róża and Rafał actually, in a sense, write the paintings they show at the joint exhibition?
Róża’s works look as if they were written in blood. Rafał invites you to write his fire paintings.
Róża uses lines masterfully. Her painting balances on the border of drawing, while drawing is close to calligraphy. The artist’s favourite canvas is paper; Róża draws signs on it that form the shapes of human figures — or rather, she draws figures that are signs of a kind. She is a figurative artist in a deep and specific sense of this concept. The human figure is the leitmotif of her work, the basic phrase of the artistic language. Róża develops the discourse of her art by repeating, transforming and inflecting this phrase in various ways. She uses it to build complex sentences and whole stories.
Focused on the motif of the human figure, the artist paints people, but does not depict people. The heroes and heroines of her works have no names, pasts or futures. It happens that Róża composes figures of people into structures or patterns in which an anonymous individual has a right to exist only to the extent that he or she is part of a larger whole.
The figures drawn by Róża are conventional, like signs, but at the same time they are specific, almost biological in their presence. It is the dialectic of conventionality and physicality that seems to be the source of tension in Róża’s depictions. The people in her works do not have faces, but they sometimes have mouths, noses, or eyes. They also have spines, nervous and circulatory systems, and organs. The sight of these figures provokes us to recall Agamben’s category of “bare life”; these are people who do not have an “identity card”, but whose bodies are strongly outlined by the artist, teeming with life. Let’s look at the works that Róża prepared for the Para / Steam exhibition. They are painted with red paint. The association with blood is almost irresistible, even painful; thin, sharp lines on paper look like scratches on skin. Around the lines, the paint spreads into irregular spots; these are cuts rather than brushstrokes, wounds that “bleed” — and at the same time form the outlines of characters. Róża shows them in pairs and studies their mutual relations. Are these characters dancing — or are they fighting? Do they love each other — or do they hurt each other? Or are dance and fight, love and violence, one and the same here: the naked, exposed bloodstream of life?
The dialectic of what is imagined in the works and their intense physicality marks the point at which the paths of Róża and Rafał intersect at the Para / Steam exhibition.
Rafał Bujnowski has recently been creating paintings in company with fire. It is the fruits of this cooperation that are shown at the exhibition, alongside Róża’s works. The artist uses pyrography — “writing with fire”. Or rather, it evokes it from the periphery of visual culture; it is a technique not taught at academies of fine arts, associated with non-professional work, but even more with inferior artistic crafts and the souvenir industry, whose paradigmatic pyrographic product are alpenstocks decorated with burnt patterns. Many of the effects of pyrography are banal and kitsch; Therefore, it is easy to overlook both the artistic and symbolic potential of “writing with fire”. Rafał wants to liberate them, bring out the noble dimension of technology, in which an element with transformative power, creative and destructive at the same time, plays such an important role. The artist is aware that flames are an accomplice that is both powerful and dangerous. A kind of prologue to the series of pyrography are the works on paper shown at the exhibition, saved from the fire that destroyed the artist’s house a few years ago. All of them were affected by fire to a greater or lesser extent — they are burnt, blackened, charred. And also transformed; these are paintings started by Rafał, but finished by flames.
In the series of pyrography works created in recent months, the order of work is reverse: it usually starts with fire, then the artist starts working. The canvas is wood. Does it matter for the expression of the paintings made on it that they were created in Rafał’s studio on Fuerteventura, an island where no trees grow in its natural ecosystem? And does it matter that Fuerteventura is a volcanic island, literally carved by the element of fire? (1)
Well, the creative process always matters, especially in the art of Rafał Bujnowski, who has always devoted a lot of attention and reflection to it, revealed it and incorporated it into the discourse of his works. Between the lines of subsequent cycles and realisations, Rafał is constantly writing a kind of treatise on painting and its ontology. He puts painting to the test, checking the limits of our faith in a painting. It is a faith that makes us see something more than an object, a canvas, boards, pigments in a painting. While carrying out these tests, the artist invited various forces, such as chance, the laws of physics, and optical illusions, to participate in the process.
The processual element, as well as the performative dimension of creating images — generally important in Rafał’s work — plays an exceptionally important role in pyrography. There is even something ritualistic in the way they are created, in the sense that a ritual is a sequence of actions leading to symbolic results and also involving non-human actors of reality, for example the forces of nature.
To an island where the only trees are those planted and cared for by humans, the artist brings wood from the mainland in a suitcase. Sometimes the wood is boards from a DIY store, sometimes boards intended for writing icons. Still other works were created on pieces of wood from construction sites in Fuerteventura.
Then the artist treats the wood with a burner — or lights a fire in the middle of the day and puts the boards in it in full sunlight. Under the influence of fire, wood changes colour and texture. Painting with fire is balancing on the edge. Beyond the edge is destruction and ash. The game is to stop a moment earlier, at the moment when the fire begins to bring out the image enchanted in the wood, but has not yet consumed it. Working with fire is like carving stone; the shape that the artist forges is, in a sense, always present in the block of material, it just needs to be extracted.
The fire leaves traces on the surface of the wood, as if giving hints. Sometimes it suggests a landscape or sunset, other times it suggests the outline of a figure. The artist follows the traces left by the flames. How far does he follow them? It depends. Sometimes he painstakingly extracts an image scratched by fire, using carpentry tools, removing layers of charred matter, revealing intact wood, or carving drawing lines into a board. At other times it stops almost immediately, subtly emphasising what has appeared on the board after the work done by the fire.
This process is similar to developing a photograph, but in this case the developer is a mixture of flames and the artist’s intuition and actions. From here it’s only a step to thinking about summoning spirits; and there is indeed something ghostly in Rafał Bujnowski’s pyrography. However, these are not apparitions coming from the afterlife, but rather a spirit enchanted in matter.
The animistic element is indelible from the ontology of a work of art. We treat images as objects endowed with specific subjectivity, things that work, speak to us, show something. In the works that Róża and Rafał show on Para / Steam, the animistic dimension of the work of art comes to the fore especially clearly. Given the physicality, the particular “anatomy” of these artefacts, it is difficult to think of them as inanimate objects; paper is associated with skin, paint with blood, wood is flesh. If the works of two artists were a text, it would have the character not of a discourse but of a sequence of ideas coming to life in the minds of the recipients. The ideas with which Róża Litwa and Rafał Bujnowski fill their joint exhibition are full of life; and in this case this statement is not a worn-out metaphor; they can be understood literally. It is from life that both the lyricism and the cruelty of the works of both artists, their brutal delicacy, flow. Life is also a medium in which both Róża and Rafał work, and thanks to which, using two different languages, they understand each other so well without words.
(1) If the burnt works saved from the fire were treated as a prologue to pyrography, Rafał Bujnowski’s sculpture “Cyparis” (2009) present at the exhibition would be a footnote to them. This is a portrait of a man made by an artist from volcanic sand from the Caribbean. The protagonist of this work, Auguste Cyparis, was one of only a few survivors of the destruction of the port of St. Pierre on the coast of Martinique. In 1902, the city was destroyed by a volcanic eruption. Nearly 30,000 people died. Cyparis survived because at the time of the disaster he was imprisoned in the local detention center, in a windowless solitary cell. The fact Rafał’s sculpture entered the exhibition is also a kind of response to the sculptural realisations of Róża Litwa. The artist creates ceramics, that is, works in which fire plays a role, just like in the pyrography.
Text: Stach Szabłowski
Curated by Petro Ryaska, Daria Shevtsova
In the wake of the full-scale invasion of Russia into Ukraine, millions of Ukrainians were forced to leave their homes, fleeing cities under constant shelling and threat of occupation, and artists were no exception. As a response to these urgent challenges, cultural institutions had to rethink their own purpose and redirect institutional resources in order to help. Residencies have played a significant role among these places, and have developed into dynamic shared spaces for collaborating practices and reflection, and, more importantly, spaces for mutual care. Considering the new circumstances, the residency Sorry No Rooms Available, held at the Intourist-Zakarpattia Hotel in Uzhhorod, at some point became a shelter and a potential further transition point to safer locations for a substantial part of the Ukrainian artists and cultural workers. Back then, the name of the residency, which comes from a phrase that would commonly be heard at the concierge desk in the 1980s when the hotel was at its peak, marked the traumatic experience of thousands of people forced to seek new places to live. The exhibition Where are we now, after all those endlessly repeated words? takes its starting point from the Emergency Residencies for artists and art professionals from Ukraine, held in 2022 and aimed to support the Ukrainian cultural community. Bringing together works of its participants with practices of other Ukrainian artists, the exhibition intertwines personal stories and shared experiences of living through the war, while undergoing loss of home and forced relocation. Delving into the concept of a hotel as a temporary transit space, where anticipation and uncertainty imperceptibly alter it into a state of limbo, it suggests a journey through the spacious halls, abandoned hidden spots, and lonesome apartments in an attempt to reveal and reconsider the traces war has left in our history and in our lives. How do we imagine our return to previous plans and dreams, and when does the future we are constantly recalling in our conversations start?