powrót / back BACK

Early Years

February 28, 2010 - May 2, 2010, KunstWerke Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin; Presented by the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw

Contemporary art is having its moment in Poland these days. Museums are being built, and new institutions, public as well as private, are emerging. Some artists' names have become household words, and their practice — previously ignored or misinterpreted — benefits from a wider understanding and acceptance. The fact that the most central tract of land in the Polish capital will soon see the construction of the Museum of Modern Art speaks for itself. The exhibition EARLY YEARS at KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin wanders through the fields of institutional self-reflection. It searches for terms apt to describe the emergence of a museum of art in the present, of actual artistic, political and social discourses. A museum established amid the collapse of meta-narratives, aware of the institutional critique which had made the museum's hegemonic nature a subject of dispute for decades, and, finally, familiar with the realities of the economic crisis — such a museum must rely not only on long-term strategic planning, but also contend with the moods, uncertainties and intuitions of the moment. The “early years" of the title usually describe that unique moment of an artistic biography when one remains naive and is only starting to learn from one's own errors, but is at the same time at the height of ones's authenticity, independence and heroism. The show is based in the concept of moving slightly into the future and using that futurist perspective to look back to the time of the great beginning, in a search for a history fitting for a founding myth. For this exhibition the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw sought out the collaboration of artists with whom it had previously worked in its pioneering days. The Museum shared its concerns with the group, and they reciprocated by sharing their expectations of the new institution. The final product is a show that invites the viewer to scrutinize in retrospection the moment when everything is still possible, that moment of tense balance between hope and disillusionment, between engagement and compromise. This is the real protagonist of the show. Joanna Rajkowska "Ravine" Digital print, 2009
Rajkowska's installations and actions in public space can be interpreted as contemporary, ironic variations on community based art, land art and so called relational aesthetics, which the artist breaks up into basic constituents by the consistently used tactics of "participative observation". "The Ravine" is a proposal of an absurd intervention (treated with a precision of a fictitious architectural investment project to be constructed in the passageway dividing the temporary seat of the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw and the neighboring building of the furniture store (annex 3). The deep crevice would serve as a picturesque tourist attraction, encouraging inhabitants to explore the underground tectonic layers. At the same time, the gorge would force the Museum's employees to walk on bridges hanging over the precipice. "The Ravine" functions only as suggestion, a sort of an impossible monument.
Curator: Aneta Szylak
Curator's assistant: Maks Bochenek
Production: Rafał Żurek, Aga Szreder, Jan Szreder
powrót / back BACK