From 10 November 2011 to 15 January 2012
Curator: Daniel Rumiancew, Joanna Zielińska
Place: Arsenal Gallery power station, 13 Elektryczna St.
Works from the collections of BWA Białystok, Arsenal Gallery and Podlaska Zachęta**
The exhibition design: Daniel Rumiancew, Joanna Zielińska
The exhibition Conscious Consents tells a story about the beginnings of a Bialystok collection, presenting how its conception has been changing and how its central points have moved. Nowadays, some artistic attitudes have been interpreted differently, some artworks have lost their context, while other have gained new meanings... By choosing the works from the collection, we were thinking over the problem of uniqueness. Is it still well grounded while talking about Benjamin’s concept of the artwork’s aura? How do artworks collected at different times correspond to one another? How to build narratives within the collection, when things which are hidden and “rejected” are also important?
The following exhibition is the result of collaboration between an artist and a curator. It is based on private issues, casual connotations, inconsistencies and oblique statements, therefore we have decided to consciously reveal weak points of the collection. While selecting the works, we tried to create new, subjective meanings around previously well-described issues. The collection’s history and its beginnings connected with plein-air workshops in Białowieża have become an important point of reference for us. We also took into consideration the selection of works realized in the 80s by Bożena Kowalska. As a well-known art critic and theoretician she divided the collection into three basic sectors: realism, metaphor and geometry.
The part of the collection that was gathered before 1990 will be presented mostly in a form of documentation (slide show), in which the works realized by contemporary artists make comments on the “former works”. The “documentary” part of the exhibition partly results from a unique quality of space, which was initially designed with regard to the presentation of multimedia art more than easel painting. The exposition, built haphazardly, was adjusted to the austere style of the space which was imposed by the previous exhibition (we have overlapped one exhibition with another, symbolically and literally). In many places deficiencies and discrepancies are visible, the exhibition architecture highlights ramblingnarrative, divides it into the plots, and each of them is situated in a different room.
The selection we have made is often formal and aesthetic. We have tried to avoid hierarchy. Some threads are of a spectral character, some works have been taken out of historical context, reproduced or multiplied without the artist’s consent. This exhibition has an anti-educational character, its realization defies a bit logic and assumptions of the collection, which – as Bożena Kowalska states it in her essay – should play representative and didactic roles. The overriding purpose of the exhibition is not the extensive presentation of the collection, but its radical reinterpretation. The project is some kind of contradictory dialogue that searches for a compromise with the past. By changing the context, the meaning of collection and of particular works changes. In addition to this, we bring up to the attention formal differences and similarities, revealing the taste of both: the artist and the curator, taking advantage of inconsistency and outdated matters required to produce subjective narratives. Simultaneously, we also pose many basic questions. What to do with the unwanted part of the collection? What are the functions of the collection nowadays?
Daniel Rumiancew and Joanna Zielińska
* The title of the exhibition is derived from a film realized by Cezary Bodzianowski, which is in the collection of Podlaskie Association for the Promotion of Fine Arts.
** Podlaska Zachęta is abbreviation for the Podlaskie Association for the Promotion of Fine Arts.
The works by:
Grupa Sędzia Główny
Jerzy Jurry Zieliński