Beyond the Desk at the Not Fair
The Beyond the Desk exhibition will be presented during this year’s edition of the Not Fair. The exhibition looks at the phenomenon of office work, considers its past and future, as well as the aesthetics of office life. Not Fair aims to create a platform for exchange for the art world. The art fair will take place in Warsaw on 21st – 24th September 2017 at the Palace of Culture.
Works of artists invited to participate in the Beyond the Desk project will look at nostalgic elements of the aesthetics of office life and spaces as well as reflect on what can and will be considered ‘creativity’ in the near future.
The exhibition was inspired by the International Office Art Biennale (IOAB), an Adam Mickiewicz Institute interactive project, which aims to tap into the creativity of the office and encourage the workforce to use their imagination, enjoy themselves, to create 'office art' and share it with the world.
The Beyond the Desk exhibition will include works by five artists:
Jan Domicz creates video, objects and spatial interventions. His After Steelcase series is an attempt to capture the essence of an office environment in selected locations in Warsaw. The artist focuses on corporate spaces, unified and fully open, and at the same time heavily controlled. The title of the project refers to the Steelcase furniture and office equipment manufacturer. Their products and series, starting with the first trash bin created in 1914, are a great illustration of how the thinking about an ‘ideal workplace’ has changed over the last century.
Richard Grandmorin examines aesthetic codes in the office environment as well as the frustration present in the office workforce. His work includes visual projects, musical projects and live performances. Biuropolo is a proposal to create a soundtrack inspired by the office environment. It also draws from the techno trend, or rather the way it was formed in Detroit's industrial spaces. Sounds coming from the work space can be looked at from various point of view: a naturalistic one based on neutral documentation (like footsteps, sounds generated by printers, telephones), those which can be used to generate music that boosts staff productivity (repetitive sounds, focal frequencies), and the ‘expressive aspect’, arising from the need to express emotions and frustration as a response to administrative oppression. The soundtrack will be accompanied by music clips.
In her artistic practice, Gizela Mickiewicz concentrates on finding elements connecting the world of people and objects and the changes in the relationship between the living and non-living worlds. In one of her series, the artist explores the seemingly invisible influence of mental states on the everyday environment. The effects of these discoveries are manifested through the sculptural portraits of the intermediate and the elusive. The work, in its form, is an attempt at translating human emotions and consciousness into a social experience. Her piece Never There consists of an autonomous body built as an internal, usually invisible, sculptural space, trying to reveal how to transform a ‘feeling’ into a specific material.
The Polen Performance duo investigates performance itself, its historical aspects and functionality in private and institutional settings. Do Office Yourself is a piece that perversely refers to the practice of performative activities in institutions, thus negotiating the identity of a work of art as a commodity and of its own practices as the institution's service provider. For this piece, Justina Los and Mikołaj Sobczak produced video clips filmed at the Adam Mickiewicz Institute in Warsaw, which reinterpret selected corporate behaviour. They provide instruction on how artists should behave when clashing with Polish bureaucracy in the era of political instability.
Malgorzata Szymankiewicz refers directly to the tradition of abstract painting, using various media to question and refer to the heritage and concepts of modernism. Her new work was based on the interpretation of the process of repetition and performability of the daily routine of gestures, as well as their ambiguity and inefficiency. As a starting point, the artist created a series of works on paper works using stamps to create modules with simple geometric forms. Paper Works draws on the copying process and its accompanying errors – the artist creates abstract compositions on paper, patterns and layouts that form the basis for the design of a spatial, openwork ‘table’ made of thin steel bars. They have been subjected to painting treatment and other adjustments by hand.
The Not Fair’s aim is to create a platform for exchange and cooperation between international galleries, artists, collectors, curators and galleries and help find mutual inspiration. The event is designed to promote networking in the contemporary art world. Each invited gallery is asked to propose a solo presentation by one artist and should take into account the character of the place where works will be displayed – namely, Poland’s capital’s controversial Palace of Culture and Science. This year will see the second edition of the art fair organised by the Piktogram Association.
Curators: Ewa Borysiewicz, Romuald Demidenko
The event originated at and is organised by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, under its flagship brand Culture.pl.
Source: promotional materials, compiled by MK, translated by NR, 19 Sep 2017