Karolina Breguła, Office of Construction of the Monument, video still, 2016, photo: courtesy of lokal_30
Common Affairs is an exhibition of Polish artists selected from among the finalists for the Views Award. The award presented to top young artists was initiated in 2003 by two institutions: Zachęta National Gallery of Art, whose mission is to promote contemporary art, and Deutsche Bank, who for many years has been active in the promotion of art. It is the most important award given in the area of contemporary visual arts in Poland.
The curators, Stanisław Welber (Poland) and Julia Kurz (Germany), in conversation with authors and artists, seek to answer the question of what are freedom and the exchange of ideas in a situation where art is financed by both private and public funds? Exposure in the spaces of the DB Kunsthalle and the Polish Institute in Berlin becomes a platform for different artistic expressions.
The invited artists often refer to history in their works – both specific events and historical and social processes (industrialization, war, transformation, political changes). The exhibition also focuses on the concept of the mediation, production, and distribution of art, thus recognizing and exploring the conditions in cultural institutions and hierarchies in the art world. Art is here a kind of seismograph – collecting the vibrations and tensions of the past, present, and future. The artists and their works are in dialogue with reality and lay claim to the right to speak on important topics.
Some of the works were created specifically for this exhibit and will premier in Berlin (Iza Tarasewicz, Janek Simon, Łukasz Jastrubczak); others will allude to work already on display at Zachęta as part of the Views competition (Rafał Jakubowicz, Anna Okrasko, Paweł Althamer); older works – in this new context – will find different interpretations and take on new meanings (Elżbieta Jabłońska, Karol Radziszewski, Anna Molska, Supergrupa Azorro).
Conversations or – the curators hope – negotiations are inscribed in the creation of this exhibition and the accompanying publication. Both resound with a range of voices raising questions and offering solutions, opinions, and judgments. Some conclusions are surprising, but the polyphony of voices is worth examining even with the most unexpected points of view – they are sometimes difficult to accept, but their form and communication transcend differences.
The title – Common Affairs – has a double meaning: both that which is ‘ordinary’ and that which is ‘shared’. The exhibition is subtitled Revisiting the Views Award – Contemporary Art from Poland and will occur during the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Polish-Germany Treaty of Good Neighbourship and Friendly Cooperation. The decision to organize the exhibit is not specifically associated with the promotion of any institutions or the celebration of prizes or political anniversaries. It instead stems from the common belief that Polish art is significant and worthy of attention. Contemporary artists have something important to say – here and now – to the public, to organizers, curators, critics, and to themselves.
Artists participating in the exhibition include Paweł Althamer, Supergrupa Azorro, Tymek Borowski, Karolina Breguła, Elżbieta Jabłońska, Rafał Jakubowski, Łukasz Jastrubczak, Robert Kuśmirowski, Anna Molska, Anna Okrasko, Agnieszka Polska & Witek Orski, Karol Radziszewski, Janek Simon, Konrad Smoleński, Monika Sosnowska, Iza Tarasewicz, and Piotr Wysocki.
The organizers of the exhibition are Deutsche Bank KunstHalle, the Polish Institute in Berlin, and the Zachęta National Gallery of Art. Partners are the City of Warsaw, the Foundation for Polish-German Cooperation, and Culture.pl.
Sources: materials from the organizer, 6.07.2016, trans. AA