Friday, January 17, 2014

America Is Not Ready For This in Prague

Karol Radziszewski
America Is Not Ready For This

FUTURA Center for Contemporary Art
Holečkova 49
Prague, Czech Republic

opening January 21st 6 pm

exhibition until March 23rd

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 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. Instead we can 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 normalized 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, while meaning something completely different to the citizens of the Polish People's Republic.
What is interesting, the time that has passed between these two journeys did not completely level these differences. To Karol Natalia's history seemed so 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 artist 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 Natalia’s traces. The film, consisting among others of clips from these interviews, is a special homage for Natalia LL, but one that is indirect and deprived of monumental character. His task is not only to reconstruct the memories of the 1977 journey, but also to take a close look at the rules of the art world game, a game organizing the existence of artists – both then and now.

Curator: Piotr Stasiowski

Collaboration with Wroclaw Contemporary Museum.
The project was developed in collaboration with Residency Unlimited, with the support of the Polish Culture Institute in New York.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

FF and MD in Prague

A few pics from the last night opening of The Emperor's New Apparel group show featuring my Fag Fighters (2007) and MARIOS DIK (2009). Karlin Studios, Prague.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Emperor's New Apparel in Prague

The Emperor's New Apparel
Karlin Studios, Prague
15.01 – 09.02.2014

Exhibiting artists: Apparatus 22 (RO) - Lőrinc Borsos (HU) - János Fodor (HU) - Jaroslav Kyša (SK) – Péter Szalay (HU) - Karol Radziszewski (PL)
Curator: Borbála Szalai (HU)

Referring to Andersen's tale, The Emperor's New Clothes, this exhibition – home to fictional fashion collections, imaginary outfits, and fake fashion shows – puts its focus on an invisible layer; the layer of the fictive cloth between the - naked - emperor and the public, the layer between individual and social conventions.
In our current social discourse, the question cannot be only about who can see or who dares to declare that the emperor is naked, its rather about the multiple layers and mechanisms of such a fiction, and about its undetectable effects on an everyday level. Thus by searching for the emperor's new apparel, woven from fake statements, rhetoric, social conventions and fear, the exhibition considers fashion as a kind of symbolic layer to provide a new vantage point on social issues, politics and the criticism levelled against it. In Andersen's tale, the swindler tailors fashioning the emperor's new clothes display a peculiar critical approach. The works displayed at this exhibition are all linked to this invisible, yet deeply revealing attitude, which seek the answer to questions such as: How can historical-, political subconscious be revealed by a piece of clothing? What kinds of fashion elements or accessories are tied to power? What ethical or moral contents are linked to the world of fashion? Are there any current fashion trends in the field of protesting or activism? How does history or a national symbol appear as fetish? And what is the undetectable power and impact of the emperor's new cloths?

Photo by me: Fag Fighters, 2007

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

szu szu w Szumie

Świetna recenzja książki szu szu w nowym numerze Magazynu Szum, polecam :)