LAZNIA 1 2016 - What? With What? Table [Politics] Jarosław Modzelewski, Marek Sobczyk
What? With What? Table [Politics]
Jarosław Modzelewski, Marek Sobczyk
Łaźnia CCA, Jaskółcza 1, Gdańsk – Dolne Miasto
19 February 2016 – 10 April 2016
opening: 19 February 2016, 6 pm
lecture: 19 February 2016, 7 pm – Jarosław Modzelewski, Marek Sobczyk
coordination: Michalina Domoń
Jarosław Modzelewski and Marek Sobczyk’s exhibition What? With What? Table [Politics] makes a reference to the What? With What? project which took place at Łaźnia CCA in 2001. The exhibition will feature both individual works of the artists and their collective paintings created between 2000 and 2014.
According to the artists, they began to use the table in 1998, but the artistic categories and problems were developed earlier than that – when they were formulating artistic exercises and tasks in the Art School they managed between 1989 and 2000.
‘The table was created by placing the same categories, names, production methods, artistic means, etc. on the two axes of the coordinate system. What we depict, using what means we achieve it; what we designate using what; what we do, make, perform using what; what is related to what within the given task. The table is a matrix of sorts, a certain infinite structure of coordinates, and as such it extends through the space, acting as a base for the distribution of artistic problems and means, and supporting analysis, theory and practical work. The table enables theoretical deliberations and helps initiate tasks and exercises, discussions (Curators’ Debate) and paintings. The pair of categories (What? – With what?) is selected by throwing a dart or choosing two categories that match. It is also possible to add categories, modify the form of the Table, treat it as a working table,’ explain the artists.
Consequently, the table could be extended and edited for the purpose of this project, through adding the word “politics” and its interaction with the various categories placed in the table; the “politics” category could also be extended to numerous problems and means used in artistic work: textures, mechanisms and tools associated with politics redefine the categories used and create new associations.
‘Politics has been a crucial part of our work from the very outset of our artistic activity, occasionally being treated emblematically or in terms of social engineering; the term “politics” is also important in the context of the artist’s functioning and behaviours. In the early 1980s, its presence was overt and distinctive – today it seems like a different kind of politics, less obvious, rooted deeper and bringing different effects. The politics that has been present in Gdańsk since the beginning seems to clearly shape impressions of Poland – hence our interest in it and attempt to draw attention to its presence, and to the very word, the possible transformations of the word and transformations of politics itself, as well as the aspects of political involvement coming through in artistic works,’ clarify the artists.
Some of Modzelewski and Sobczyk’s art projects are related to Gdańsk, for example those created during their joint study stay in the city.
Jarosław Modzelewski and Marek Sobczyk both graduated from the Faculty of Painting of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. In 1982, they established the GRUPPA art formation, whose members (e.g. Ryszard Woźniak, Paweł Kowalewski, Włodzimierz Pawlak, Ryszard Grzyb) represented the Neo-Expressionist movement, popular in 1980s art. The main subject of GRUPPA’s various activities – painting and publishing work, concerts and lectures – were ironic references to the Polish reality under martial law.
Irrespective of their individual artistic work, Modzelewski and Sobczyk have since 1984 occasionally been involved in collective painting of large-format works. These paintings are always created outside the studio, during peculiar “artistic journeys”.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a publication edited by Agnieszka Szewczyk. The album will be showcased during the exhibition opening, and the artists will give a special lecture.
Municipal Institution of Culture