• Faithful to my Homeland, the Republic of Poland





    by Sylwia Narewska


    The following presentation of video works, realized by the most outstanding Polish artists, constitutes a part of Kolekcja II (Collection II) of the Arsenal Gallery in Bialystok, which has been acquired since 1990. In more or less direct way, the video films relate to the theme of the exhibition. They tackle the issue of condition of contemporary art, critique of institutions and phenomena occurring in Polish society, very often assuming ironic and bantering character.


    A video film by Kobas Laksa titled I went on a pilgrimage with my mom (2007) is a video recording of a bus trip to Lichen - one of the best known sanctuaries in Poland - in which the artist together with his mother, the pilgrimage's organizer at the same time the main character of the film, took part. The work displays marginal and dispersed behaviours, religious rites, rites of consumption, visits to sanctuaries or shopping at souvenir stores. However, not everything is what it seems - emotionally indifferent recording, deprived of mystical character, in fact, tackles embarrassing, usually implicit subjects - revealing religious superficiality...


    Hubert Czerepok for many years has been involved in critical art. He examines the issues of stereotypes, constraints and oppressive character of the authority, which claims the right to decide the fate of another. Czerepok is concerned with the public places with the specific social functions - an office, museum, library. Through the intervention into spaces that were created to exercise the control, the artist reveals their absurd character, and simultaneously undermines their alleged functionality. In a video film Computerstudio 001 (2002) Hubert Czerepok displays an ironic image of work carried out in a computer studio: people preoccupied with executing their tasks using the newest technology. Nevertheless, at one point we realize, that the work is done seemingly, ineffectively and in vain, whereas the machines which are constructed to make it easier, can lead to its negligence or failure to carry out. Czerepok tackles the theme of human freedom (or constraint) in the context of a technological development.


    Azorro is a group of artists (who are also involved in individual activity) composed of Igor Krenz, Oskar Dawicki, Hubert Czerepok, Lukasz Skapski and Wojciech Niedzielko. Azorro makes the video films mainly with the effective use of irony, in a sarcastic way raising the issues of art critique, questions of evaluating contemporary art and the conditions of exhibiting institutions. In a film Hamlet the group tackles the topic of language and its in(comprehensibility). The work is a kind of an experiment, where boyish and idiotic behavior of the artists constitute staging  "adjusted" to the original soundtrack of Hamlet. Such attempt of adaptation represents the identity problem of those people, who aspire to "better Europe" and the gap which, in spite of many efforts or inclinations, separate them from the Western world.

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