In May of 1969, in Toruń at 32 Podmurna street, the last exhibition featuring the ZERO-61 group was held. Because of the venue - an old building which used to be a blacksmith's workshop - the exhibition was named the Forge (Kuźnia). For the artists, who had already been active between Toruń and Łódź, it was a key moment: their attempt to break the deadlock ended in a natural process of the group's break-up...
Group Zero-61 at the exhibition "Kuźnia/Forge" in 1969 , phoro: press materials
The Forge is an exhibition of artists who in the 1960s made up the group Zero-61. The show features photographs, objects and films from such artists as Wojciech Bruszewski, Michał Kokot, Czesław Kuchta, Antoni Mikołajczyk, Józef Robakowski, Andrzej Różycki and Jerzy Wardak
The Forge project at the CoCA in Toruń constitutes an analysis of the 1969 presentation. It is an attempt to incorporate it into the discourse related to the problematisation of the concept of exhibitions undertaken by neo-avant-garde circles in the 1960s and '70s. Simultaneously, it tries to capture the progress of the Zero-61 group, which were the inspiration for the exhibition.
In May of 1969 in Toruń in ul. Podmurna, the last exhibition of the photographic group ZERO-61 was held. Because of the venue - an old building which used to be a blacksmith's workshop - the exhibition was named the Forge (Kuźnia). For the artists, who had already been active between Toruń and Łódź, it was a key moment: their attempt to break the deadlock ended in a natural process of the group's break-up.
Throughout the group's history one encounters two tendencies. On the one hand, the artists created highly ''metaphorical'' photographs, classified by critics as belonging to the trend of subjective photography. On the other hand, from the very beginning, their workshop included tendencies to experiment and searches for alternative modes of presentation, and the characteristic, ludic nature of the group's functioning was noticeable. Perceiving the works of ZERO-61 from the latter perspective enables one to track the consistent progress in their activities, which as a result brought an experimental attempt to create - arrange - ''the mental space'' which was the Forge.
The exhibition at the Forge was organised as part of the national symposium on the mutual influences of arts and artistic photography. It was the creators' original idea that the show should provide a uniform, annexed space which confronted the crumbling and rough architecture of the building with the peculiar artistic objects/items that were created, as well as things that were found there and the photographs arranged in a disorderly manner just about everywhere (on the floor, on the walls or nailed to the door). The works were composed in a manner which was to guarantee the blurring of boundaries between the photograph, the object and the surroundings. The ultimate outcome was a homogeneous spatial form - a place linking plastic space with reality, whose status allows to describe it as an environment.
Via its nature and its context, the Forge took up a kind of game with the idea of creating an exhibition, and this makes it possible to treat it as a creative expression, an attempt to reinterpret or even question the traditional concept of the exhibition. The game engaged both the viewer and the object of art, itself subject to the process of dematerialisation. Photography was juxtaposed with a range of various objects, along with the very architecture of the building. It was treated as a characteristic spatial object, and, in certain cases, simply replaced with objects. The juxtaposition was accompanied by scenes portraying the destruction the works in front of spectators.
These activities, dictated by a desire to blur the boundaries between art and reality, resulted in the perception of photography as a material trace of reality. This reality was replaced with objects and in a sense with a conceptual act. At the same time, this attempt constituted a departure from the gallery (institutional) space in search for alternative stimuli which would engage reception of art rather than its presentation.
Artists: Wojciech Bruszewski, Michał Kokot, Czesław Kuchta, Antoni Mikołajczyk, Józef Robakowski, Andrzej Różycki, Jerzy Wardak.
Curator: Piotr Lisowski.
The show opens September 17, 2010 at 13:00 and runs through November 14, 2010.
Centre of Contemporary Art "Znaki Czasu" in Toruń
ul. Wały gen. Sikorskiego 13, 87-100 Toruń
director: Paweł Łubowski
tel. (+48 56) 610 97 00
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