Julian Opie in 'Sculptures, Paintings, Films' has created his own way of drawing. The exhibition 'Installation or Object?' shows a dozen works from the MOCAK Collection. The Solo artshow of Mikolaj Smoczynski presents objects from the artist's archive, instead Karol Radziszewski presents some documentation of the interviews. 'Literary Inspirations' concentrates on works that relate to narratives.
Sculptures, Paintings, Films
18.10.2014 - 25.01.2015
In this exhibition by one of the most renowned contemporary British artists, MOCAK will be presenting new works, the majority of which have been prepared especially for the exhibition in Krakow. The overall theme is individuals and the nature that surrounds them.
Julian Opie has created his own way of drawing, characterised by its sparse line and simplicity. The artist has invested with new meaning the traditional media that appear in the title of the exhibition – sculptures, paintings and films, combining them with a generous use of electronic media. In processing imagery from the real world, Opie employs computer techniques and animation. Portraits are the prevailing form of his art whether of people or animals. From observing the real, he structures paintings that have been reduced to a language of basic elements that he composes into standard yet individualised representations. His compositions consist of black lines that combine into the contour of a silhouette or a face as well as symbols and planes of colour.
Opie creates his works in series. Using computer technology, he processes a single photograph into an image that appears on objects produced in a variety of techniques. Works that represent nature, in empathic black-and-white, appear in the exhibition as animated LED paintings and giant wall drawings. Portraits of friends, collectors and anonymous passers-by appear in the ancient technology of mosaics, as vinyl paintings, giant 3D printed sculptures, animated LCD and LED paintings.
This exhibition at MOCAK is the artist’s first individual show in Poland. It is part of the series of the exhibitions of artists whose works can be found in the Museum’s Collection. We aim to provide a wider artistic context for the works in the MOCAK Collection for visitors to the exhibitions.
Julian Opie (b. 1958) – lives and works in London. Between 1979 and 1982 he studied at the Goldsmith’s School of Art in London.
The artist makes paintings, sculptures, films and installations in public spaces. In his works, he employs electronic media to widen the boundaries of the traditional media such as oil painting or sculpture. The person has a key place in his art, and is often represented in movement. He portrays members of his family, friends and workers at his studio as well as anonymous passers-by and commissioning collectors. He usually draws his characters by using a black line filled with a strong, clear colour echoing the language of signs and symbols. He is interested in landscapes; he strips them of detail, bringing to the fore their essence. He has been inspired by a variety of phenomena: from the aesthetics of road signs, billboards and corporate logos, through Japanese prints to old master portraits, ancient Roman Greek and Egyptian sculpture to manga and comics.
Opie not only focuses on museum and gallery exhibitions, he also uses other opportunities and spaces to create and exhibit art. He is well known for his album covers including the album of the British group Blur Blur: The Best of (2000). He has worked on numerous stage sets and public works in cities around the world.
Julian Opie is one of the most well known contemporary British artists. His works can be found in the collections of many public institutions throughout the world, including Tate, the National Portrait Gallery, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the British Museum in London, The Israel Museum in Jerusalem, the Kunsthaus Bregenz in Austria, the Kunsthaus Zürich in Switzerland, the Neue Galerie – Sammlung Ludwig in Aachen, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, the National Museum of Art in Osaka, the Museum of Modern Art in New York and also in the MOCAK Collection.
Installation or Object? Works from the MOCAK Collection
18.10.2014 - 25.01.2015
Due to their sheer size, difficulties with setting them up and their architectural requirements, installations are seldom presented as part of collection projects. At the exhibition Installation or Object? we will be showing a dozen or so works from the MOCAK Collection. Some of them have never been exhibited before at MOCAK.
Installations are the result of the fragmentation of works of art, a process that started with the avant-garde of the 20th century. The installation arises through a juxtaposition of objects – ready-made or purpose-made for the occasion – with space. What matters most in an installation are the relationships between the elements or methods introduced by the artist and the space, which constitutes an integral part of the work.
In turn, an object is the result of a broadening of the definition of sculpture. It is a spatial form that eschews the nobility of the material and the deftness of manual craftwork – albeit without completely ruling either out. Usually, an object bears no direct relation to the space. Artists do, however, like to push boundaries – this includes the media used – and so works appear that oscillate between installation and object.
The exhibition Installation or Object? – within the scope defined by the title – probes the issue of the flexibility of media in contemporary art. The works on display have not been organised according to any particular theme. The exhibition aims to demonstrate what analytical, critical and also philosophical potential there is in an installation and an object – as well as how much most recent art owes to such experiences.
The final word on the confrontation between an installation and an object is the exhibition of works by Mikołaj Smoczyński Object, Space, Photograph at the Alfa Gallery (also from the MOCAK Collection). Smoczyński was an artist who interfered brutally with space with the installations that he constructed. Additionally, he introduced into space objects made specifically for the purposes of a particular work. The corollary of his actions was a photograph – in Smoczyński’s case, the only lasting trace of his art.
Object, Space, Photography
18.10.2014 - 11.01.2015
The first in the series of exhibitions presenting the work of Mikołaj Smoczyński at MOCAK – based wholly on the artist’s works and the archive collection that the Museum received in 2011 as a gift from the artist’s heirs.
What links the presented exhibits are Smoczyński’s site-specific projects – unique structures prepared with concrete spaces in mind. We shall present objects from the artist’s archive that in the past were used as the building material for these realisations. These will be juxtaposed with Smoczyński’s black-and-white photographs which transcend the scope of mere photographic documentation and are without a doubt autonomous works of art.
In the MOCAK Collection there are more than a thousand works by Mikołaj Smoczyński; these include 45 paintings and sketches for paintings, 36 exhibition posters and 992 photographic prints collected into 47 series. The artist’s archive consists of 4 080 negatives, 2 064 diapositives and also notes, parts of dismantled installations, unfinished works or works ‘under construction’, poster designs, trial prints that show the process of the preparation of the work and the photographic documentation of exhibitions.
Smoczyński also left theoretical texts in which he analyses in detail his works, describing their visual aspect, revealing his thinking and hinting at the ways to interpret the works. In 2013, MOCAK published Past Tense, which consisted of the compilation of texts, selected by Smoczyński entitled Commentaries on the works created from 1980 to 1999 (author's abstract) and the photographic album Collection.
Mikołaj Smoczyński (1955–2009) – associated with Lublin, where he lived and worked since his period of studying there (1975–1979) at the UMCS. Author of site-specific installations and monochromatic photographs, which often provide a creative record of his activities in gallery space. Sculptural activity and experimental photograph are hard to distinguish in the artist’s work.
Smoczyński presented his works in a few dozen individual exhibitions, including in San Diego (San Diego State University Art Gallery), Lyon (E.L.A.C.), New York (Art in General Gallery, International Studio Program) and Berlin (IFA Galerie). He received numerous awards, including the European Photography Award (1992) in Berlinie as well as grants, such as Quint Kirchman Projects (San Diego, 1991), Fondation d’Art de la Napoule, Memorial Henry Clews (La Napoule, 1993) and the International Program Studio (New Jork, 2001). Mikołaj Smoczyński’s works can be found in the collections of the most important cultural institutions in Poland and in numerous collections abroad.
America Is Not Ready For This
18.10.2014 - 11.01.2015
One wouldn’t really expect that 34 years after Natalia LL visited New York on a Kościuszko Foundation scholarship, there would still be some traces of her visit to be uncovered. In spite of that, in 2011 Karol Radziszewski decided to hit the trail and go to America to meet the artists and art dealers she met in 1977. With only a couple of black and white photographs and names of people she met, jotted down while listening to Natalia’s stories, Radziszewski undertook a unique research trip, which became a starting point in the search for parallels between his and Natalia LL’s artistic experiences.
The exhibition is the result of these meetings and consists of documentation of the interviews with, i.a., Vito Acconci, Carolee Schneemann and Marina Abramović, correspondence with artists and archival photos from the United States. All of this forms a new image of an artist crucial to Polish art history. ‘America is not ready for this’– the words of Leo Castelli, a famous art dealer and collector, uttered while viewing Natalia’s works, didn’t necessarily discredit her art in the eyes of American spectators. We can instead think of her visit, during which she both investigated art and tried to define her own artistic position, as the clash of two, completely isolated worlds. On the one hand – the New York bohemian lifestyle, where the cult of the artist (the white, heterosexual celebrity) still prevailed. On the other – the perspective of a female artist from Europe, specifically from the Soviet Bloc, where people thought that the issue of women’s emancipation has already been solved and normalised within the system. One of the most important works of Natalia LL from 1972 – Consumer Art – belied both of these beliefs. Eating a banana in an erotic way was one thing for Americans but meant something completely different to the citizens of the Polish People’s Republic.
What is interesting is that the time that had passed between these two journeys did not completely level out these differences. To Karol, Natalia’s history seemed particularly interesting precisely because of the similarities of the experience in the proclamation of the phenomena important for native art. At the time of her visit to New York, Natalia was very interested in the feminist discourse in art, which was in fact relatively unknown in Poland. Karol is perceived as one of the most important artists working on queer themes. In America these two issues were (and are) understood differently than in Poland – this difference is one of the topics of the conversations between Radziszewski and the artists interviewed on the occasion of his search for traces of Natalia. The film, which consists of clips from these interviews, is a special homage to Natalia LL, but one that is indirect and not over reverential. It sets out not so much to reconstruct the memories of the journey undertaken in 1977, as to take an in-depth look at the rules of engagement in the game in which artists jostle for position in the world of art; a game as topical today as it was then.
Karol Radziszewski (b. 1980) – lives and works in Warsaw. Graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in the city (Department of Painting). His media are among others film, photography, performance, he creates installations and interdisciplinary projects. He is also known as a curator and the editor of DIK Fagazine. He references his work with mass culture symbols and stylistics. His works focus on the, progressively more and more blurred, dividing line between public and private space. He often refers to the achievements of the artists active in the second half of 20th century, trying to relate their works to his own oeuvre. He is also interested in fashion; in collaboration with MARIOS designers, he produced designs for clothes featuring contour drawings.
In Poland, the works of Karol Radziszewski have been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, at the National Museum in Warsaw, the Zamek Ujazdowski Centre for Contemporary Art, the Zachęta National Art Gallery, the Modern Museum in Wrocław and the Museum of Art in Łόdź. Abroad, his works can be seen at the New Museum in New York, the Brukenthal National Museum in Sibiu in Romania, the Kunsthalle Wien in Vienna and the Cobra Museum in Amsterdam. His works were also shown as part of the Prague Biennale, the Biennale of Young Artists in Tallin, the New York Photo Festival, the PERFORMA 13 Biennale in New York, the 7th Göteborg Biennale, and the 4th and 15th WRO Biennale of Media Art.
18.10.2014 - 11.01.2015
The artist who finds inspiration in literature tries to visualise what the writer has left to the reader’s imagination. The exhibition concentrates on works that relate to narratives in which the world is a place as magical as it is absurd, full of incredible phenomena.
The exhibition Literary Inspirations consists of two parts. The first presents the works of two students of studio graphics – Lena Achtelik, a year 4 student, and Alicja Boncel, who graduated in 2014. Both show the dark but at the same time beautiful world of children’s imaginations. The paintings of Achtelik show scenes from the novel The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. The figures that emerge from the shadows are troubling; they seem borderline dream and real. The installation by Alicja Boncel, composed of video screenings and film props, aims to bring closer the world of Alice, the protagonist of Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. The artist makes tangible a world unfettered by the laws of logic, where anything is possible.
The second part of the exhibition consists of artists’ books. Their authors – Timur A’loev, Justyna Dorzak, Martyna Gaszczyk-Nowok, Martyna Kurek, Pauliina Nykänen, Urszula Przyłucka-Miozga, Dobrosława Rurańska and Adam Wójcicki – raise on the one hand the aspect of a naïve, childlike view of the world, shared also by some adults, on the other hand, they point to how adults interpret children’s reality. Martyna Kurek, Dobrosława Rurańska, Martyna Gaszczyk-Nowok and Adam Wójcicki relate their works to specific publications – fairy tales by Marek Szołtysek, stories by Etgar Keret, Bernard Kopec and the Brothers Grimm. Whereas Timur A’loev, Pauliina Nykänen and Urszula Przyłucka-Miozga create both the illustrations and the texts in their books. Two artists are more difficult to pigeon-hole: Justyna Dorzak, who illustrates folk proverbs, and Dobrosława Rurańska, who in her book Nie mam pojęcia, co to wszystko znaczy…(I Have No Idea What It All Means…) juxtaposes excerpts of out-of-context dialogues with archive photographs.
The exhibition has been produced in collaboration with the lecturers of the Academy of Fine Arts in Katowice – Szymon Kobylarz (Studio of Painting), Grzegorz Hańderek (Studio for the Interpretation of Literature) and Roman Kaczmarczyk (Studio of Book Graphics).
Anna Piotrowska Phone: 0048 122634024 Fax: 0048 122571034 email@example.com
Opening 17.10.2014 at 6 pm
MOCAK Museum of Contemporary Art in Krakow
ul. Lipowa 4 30-702 Krakow
Tuesdays – admission free! Free passes can be collected until 6 pm.
You can buy tickets on the spot Wednesday – Sunday, 11 am – 6 pm.