Cezary Bodzianowski has increasingly turned his practice to the creation of absurdist interventions into everyday settings. Such actions include camouflaging himself as foliage while standing beneath a tree or positioning himself, legs in the air, in the empty space below a staircase. Jean Michel Jarre: Savage is the recipient of the 2011 Rootstein Hopkins award, offering a promising Bristol based artist his or her first major solo exhibition.
Spike Island presents the first UK solo show by Łódź based artist Cezary Bodzianowski. Initially trained as a sculptor in both his native Poland and at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, Bodzianowski has increasingly turned his practice to the creation of absurdist interventions into everyday settings. Such actions include camouflaging himself as foliage while standing beneath a tree or positioning himself, legs in the air, in the empty space below a staircase.
In his 2010 essay 'O Lucky Man', art critic Jan Verwoert describes these studiedly deadpan performances as ‘characterised by a certain conspicuous inconspicuousness’, bringing to mind the era of silent comedy with their permanently out of place everyman hero. These actions result in photographs or short videos, mostly taken by his wife and artistic collaborator Monika Chojnicka.
At the invitation of Spike Island, Bodzianowski and Chojnicka undertake a short residency during October 2011, responding to the sites and spaces of Bristol, including Spike Island’s own history as a former tea packing factory.
Cezary Bodzianowski (1968) was born in Łódź, Poland where he now lives and works. He has performed and exhibited widely, including Les Promesses du Passé at Centre Pompidou, Paris (2010); Palace Party, Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen (2010); and The World as a Stage at Tate Modern and ICA, Boston (2008). He is represented by Galleria Zero, Milan, and Foksal Gallery, Warsaw.
Tea Back is co-produced by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute.
Sunday 23 October, 2pm: Talk: Jan Verwoert
Saturday 5 November, 2pm: exhibition tour led by artists Wood and Harrison
Thursday 10 November, 6pm: Reading: Luke Kennard
Jean Michel Jarre
Savage is the recipient of the 2011 Rootstein Hopkins award, offering a promising Bristol based artist his or her first major solo exhibition. Savage's work engages with the culture of consumerism, apparently affirming and even celebrating it, yet with such a degree of futility and emptiness that it is ultimately negated. Past projects have involved the cleaning and repair of discarded goods in order to reinsert them into a cycle of exchange and the recasting of graffitied phrases into seductively glowing neon signs.
In his Spike Island exhibition Savage knowingly addresses the context of the award by presenting his own situation – that of the artist being packaged and promoted by the gallery system – as part of a market driven culture concerned with novelty and spectacle. A video at the entrance of the exhibition formed the artist’s application for the award. Adopting the language of the documentary, the work introduces some of the ideas that served as starting points for the exhibition and his initial proposal for the project: a performance by Jean Michel Jarre in Bristol.
Other pieces, such as I Didn’t Know Anything Before and I Still Don’t Know Anything Now invoke the anxiety of the beginner set against an overwhelming amount of available knowledge, while the collaged film I asked you a Thousand Times presents a barrage of clips cut from Hollywood movies in which the same clichéd question ‘What do you want from me?’ is repeatedly posed. This demand is typically used in film to create a crescendo preceding a shift in action and pace; here we are held in a frenzied state of continual anticipation that for Savage is symptomatic of the culture in which we live.
The Rootstein Hopkins Award is made possible by the generious support of the Rootstein Hopkins Foundation.
Spike Island has a curated programme of exhibitions, talks and events. Currently the gallery programme is focused around solo commissions and guest curated group shows, many of which are the outcome of our residency programme.
Recent residency artists who have shown new work across 2010 include Amanda Beech (Arts Council England, South West Residency), Aaron Williamson (Adam Reynolds Memorial Bursary), Zoe Williams (Rootstein Hopkins Artists' Award) and Jorge Santos (Calouste Gulbenkian Residency).
Image: Cezary Bodzianowski, Step by Step (2010). Photo by Monika Chojnicka
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