Visual Arts 2012 - Top 5
#photography & visual arts
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Over the past year Polish artists made an impact at home and across the globe, from Artur Żmijewski's raging Berlin Biennial to Alina Szapocznikow's visceral forms at MoMA in New York City. Here are Culture.pl's top 5 global happenings on Poland's visual-arts scene:
visual arts 2012
5. Goshka Macuga and Maria Loboda among the among the group hand-selected by curator Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev for Documenta 13 in Kassel. Macuga's Of what is, that it is; of what is not, that it is not is among the dozens of works shown in the space. A huge tapestry is embellished with a banquet in a Kabul garden, with the ruins of a palace in the background and a snake in the foreground. It symbolises the Orient as a beautiful illusion in which peace is only a mirage. The second part of the work is located in Kabul, as Documenta stretches international borders with projects in Kassel, Kabul, Alexandria-Cairo and Banff. Loboda's This work is dedicated to an emperor is an installation of 20 cypresses that compose a sort of moving forest traveling over the lawn of the park, shifting its composition and moving gradually from one side of the Orangerie to the other, occupying the physical landscape of the exhibition space.
4. Monika Sosnowska's nomination for the Guggenheim Museum's Hugo Boss Prize, awarded every two years to an individual who has made an important contribution in contemporary art. Sosnowska didn't win the prize; she did make her mark on Manhattan with the Fir Tree outdoor installation at the foot of Central Park. The piece, supported by the Public Art Fund, mimics the shape of an evergreen, the branches of steps bowing towards the ground as the trunk of the piece soars skyward. Situated where one of New York's busiest, most developed neighborhoods meets Central Park's relatively wild expanse, the piece highlights the juxtaposition and transition from urban space to cultivated landscape.
3. Katarzyna Krakowiak's installation for the Polish Pavilion at the 2012 Venice Architecture Biennale. Making the walls quake as if they were dilating with the secret knowledge of great powers, the project's title, quotes the Charles Dickens novel Dombey and Son, a commentary on the impending chaos of modernity and industrial progress. Krakowiak transformed the pavilion space into a vibrating structure of sound that transformed noise in neighbouring pavilions (Egypt, Serbia, Venice, Romania) taken via microphones installed in the floors and ventilation, heating and sewage systems. Visitors could "eavesdrop" on different sounds emitted from the other pavilions as evidence of the typical workings of the building and human activity, heightened by the effects of speaker systems, mixers and amplifiers, breaking down the intimacy of personal space.
2. Artur Żmijewski's curatorship of the 7th Berlin Biennial. The annual art exhibition took a different turn in 2012, tackling the important, difficult question of art’s transformative impact through a protest-minded perspective on the work of artists and social activists. What was of primary significance to Żmijewski, then, is not art itself but its effectiveness as "a device that produces impact" on existing socio-political circumstances - an agenda grounded in the Polish artist's notion of "applied social arts".
1. Sculpture Undone, the broadest traveling retrospective of Polish sculptor Alina Szapocznikow's works to date, culminated its tour at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. The exhibition of over 100 objects concentrating on her most experimental period between 1955 and 1972 - the final moments of her life. The distorted, mutilated forms lean "towards entropy, even ephemerality". These works are a salute to the female form and woman's place in the world, in society, as well as broader topics: humanity in the face of genocide, and the artist's personal battle with cancer.
See more on Visual Arts in Poland and beyond at: www.culture.pl/web/english/visual-arts
Editor: Agnieszka Le Nart