Date: 14 July – 01 July 2023
Opening: 14.07.2023, 6pm
Venues: GGM1, ul. Piwna 27/29, GGM2, ul. Powroźnicza 13/15
Artists: Bartosz Bielenia, Olaf Brzeski, Agata Ingarden, Krzysztof Kieślowski, Tomasz Kowalski, Gizela Mickiewicz, Iwo Panasiewicz, Cyryl Polaczek, Erna Rosenstein, Mariusz Tarkawian
Project: you from me – Krystyna Miłobędzka, Hania Rani
Curators: Gabriela Warzycka-Tutak, Andrzej Zagrobelny
Cooperation: Natalia Śliwińska
Visual identification: Kaja Gliwa
Astronauts of Emptiness
We are sitting at the gigantic desk covered with cheap veneer, spreading out into the tiny office space; way too big, way too ill-suited to this interior. The desk sets the tone of the space where we work, eat, doodle, talk. Mostly, it sets up the space for talking. The desk may be a number of reference points but it’s not the main protagonist of this story – it’s a starting point, an attempt to introduce us into the stories of lead. Because the desk is where the head starts processing.
Feeling its load, we get into the car.
From section A to section B, thank you very much, the trip paid in advance.
No, but he’s the one who ordered the ride.
The driver, invisible, is taking us on a journey, inviting us to watch. In the background we hear but when will I turn and cut the world?.
We bend through the tinted windows, trying to adapt to the dynamically changing gravity. We begin to take note of reality, trying to remember the views. The mind wanders freely between perspectives, recollections and observations. The sky becomes clean as quickly as our memory.
Images and thoughts overlap; not necessarily good and calm, the thoughts are often uncomfortable, embarrassing, determining action, prompting rearrangement. Prompting the decision to let the giant monstrous piece of furniture change its place of residence.
A large veneer blanket levitating in the space – do you think it would look good beside, say, a little dipper?
I told you a long time ago that shopping in IKEA is pointless. Go slow, go for quality! (Crossing your legs in Breuer’s Wassily).
The sunny reflection on the water is both soothing and puzzling. Time seems to be standing still. Thoughts take on the weight of lead. Are you afraid of falling? Lean out of the window. Hey, maybe you’ll be dazzled, maybe you’ll fall down tired of reality…
Do you think that being sensitive pays off?
It’s makes you completely detached from reality. The fragile constitution – you crumble so fast.
You crumble because of juxtaposing yourself against reality. Do you fit in with the times you happen to live in? What are they about? How to find yourself in this?
You fall to the ground but in a minute you gain the lightness of a spirit, you fall from the sky in melancholy, with the sunrays on your wing. The projection of fears envelops your mind and soul like a shroud of spleen.
To sketch, to create the framework for the journey, walking close behind – that’s our plan.
History is writing itself, composed of the in-between moments, with a large emotional load. History invites you to its margins and tries to remain universal. Without calculation, being truly itself, talking about itself and the worlds around it.
History lies between words, emotionally incoherent, moving like a pensive swallow. Inviting us to the world with which we’ll feel inner affinity. A compendium of perspectives: this is how we see the eponymous Clouds of Lead.
What is truth to you? Do you confront it or do you play your games? Perhaps you can cheat and no one will see. Fool some of the people some of the time. Using the language slowly becomes a torture.
What would you like?
I’d like to live longer. To live longer. And she smiles.
He saw the night fleeing on the other side, its frightening elements diving over the western horizon like a desperate, defeated, bewildered army.
The spectrum of possible interpretations is the key to making space for the thought.
 Antony and the Johnsons Cut the World.
 Gdańsk, 2023.
 A question hanging in the air, right beside the desk.
 This is the last take of Krzysztof Kieślowski’s film Gadające głowy (The Talking Heads); the question “What would you like?” is directed to a 100 years old woman.
 Béla Tarr Sátántan
Artists at the exhibition:
BARTOSZ BIELENIA (b. 1992)
Theatre and film actor. He debuted at the age of 7 in the title role of The Little Prince at the Dramatyczny Theatre in Białystok, his hometown. He graduated from Kraków’s National Academy of Theatre Arts (AST) in 2016. The theatrical roles which he played as a student are said to have determined his “inner compass”. Two years before graduation, he joined the team of the Stary Theatre in Kraków, where he worked until 2017 taking on a number of careerdefining roles. In 2018, he moved to the Nowy Theatre in Warsaw. Bartosz Bielenia is also an award-winning film actor. He received a special mention at the OFF Camera Festival and an award at the Młodzi i film Koszalin Festival of Film Debuts for young actors. His role in the 2019 film Boże Ciało (Corpus Cristi) brought him the prestigious Zbyszek Cybulski Award for outstanding young actors and actresses. Bielenia’s other notable creations include an episodic role in Disco Polo (2015) and the main role in the thriller Prime Time (2021), in which he created a vivid portrait of a troubled gunman.
OLAF BRZESKI (b. 1975)
Sculptor, draftsman, author of installations and experimental films. He studied at the Wrocław University of Technology, Faculty of Architecture (1994-1995) and the Academy of Fine Arts in Wrocław (1995-2000), from which he graduated in 2000 receiving a diploma in sculpture in the studio of Professor Leon Podsiadły. Endowed with extraordinary imagination, Brzeski reinterprets the tradition and possibilities of sculpture as a medium. He is interested in both its physical dimension – weight, mass, texture – as well as its sheer potential; the possibility and impossibility of inscribing phenomena or stories into a material form. Many of his works are direct references to the human form and its emotional rather than physical side. His sculptural bodies dwell on the eerie, the uncanny, the unnatural and the overscaled. The source of these fantastic and surprising forms is always the idea, then the sketch: the simplest metaphor for the act of creation.
Source: Galeria Raster
AGATA INGARDEN (b. 1994)
Sculptor, author of installations and video works. She studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris and the Cooper Union School of Art in New York. She combines various media using video, performance and sound elements in her sculptural work. In her artistic practice she draws on posthumanism, sociology, science fiction and mythical narratives. Her works are part of the collection at the Schaulager Museum in Switzerland, ING Polish Art Foundation and the Łódź Museum of Art.
KRZYSZTOF KIEŚLOWSKI (1941-1996)
Director and screenwriter. He studied at Łódź Film School, Poland. He began his career making short documentaries. Kieślowski’s full-length feature debut was Personel (Personnel, 1975). He continued to use documentary techniques in his feature films, sketching a metaphorical portrait of the society and interpersonal relations. In his later productions, he created a unique world distanced from the realities of contemporary Poland. His films are often noted for their contemplative, pensive and metaphysical character. Kieślowski also taught directing and screenwriting at various film schools, including in Berlin, Helsinki, Łódź and Katowice. He died in 1996 at the age of 54.
The Talking Heads (1980), dir. Krzysztof Kieślowski
Who are you? What would you like? What is most important to you? Gadające Głowy (The Talking Heads) is an intimate record of people’s desires, outlooks on life and self-definitions. The protagonists of Kieślowski’s film are people of various walks of life at different life stages. The film is a 14-minute documentary recording of statements made by 44 people.
TOMASZ KOWALSKI (b. 1984)
One of the most important Polish painters of the young generation, he studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków (2004-2009). Critics dubbed him as one of the “reality-weary” artists. With a hauntological sentiment, Kowalski draws freely on the aesthetics of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, and makes numerous nods to surrealism as well as the Renaissance masters. Winner of the Guerlain Foundation’s Drawing Prize (2014).
Source: Dawid Radziszewski
GIZELA MICKIEWICZ (b. 1984)
A visual artist, she studied painting at the University of Arts in Poznań (2006-2007), where she graduated from the Faculty of Artistic Education (2007-2012). In her work, she uses various media and forms, such as sculpture, installation or drawing. Mickiewicz’s oeuvre is dominated by the idea of translating ephemeral internal states into concrete physicality of the sculpture. Through shapes, textures and physical properties of her materials, Mickiewicz generates associations that evoke hidden meanings. The artist is interested in the inner life and bodily orientation in the world – the way in which emotions, experiences and interpersonal relations are reflected in bodily gestures and movements, and how the body position communicates inner states. Combining shapes, materials and abstract forms, she attempts to give a material form to mental states, atmospheres and inner feelings that are hard to express. She often makes us of commonplace materials, such as glass, concrete or sand. She lives and works in Warsaw, Poland.
IWO PANASIEWICZ (b. 1997)
Draftsman and visual artist. He studied at the Pedagogical University in Kraków, the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp and the Academy of Fine Arts in Katowice. In his artistic practice he chooses to work with pencil and crayon on small-format paper. In this way he builds an intimate atmosphere that corresponds with his choice of topics, which are focused on inner experiences, their analysis and attempt to present them in form of an image. Panasiewicz filters his experiences and emotions trying to extract from them a sort of synthesis and essence, which he then materialises in form of drawing. He aims at building metaphorical scenes and micro-narratives using signs and symbols to be ultimately deciphered by the viewer.
CYRYL POLACZEK (b. 1989)
Visual artist, painter and author of objects. He studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdańsk (2008-2010), in Kraków (2010-2014) and in Berlin (2013). He received his diploma in the studio of Professor Andrzej Bednarczyk. Co-founder (with Karolina Jabłońska and Tomasz Kręcicki) of Potencja, an artistic collective active in various fields of art. Winner of the main prize in the 11th Hestia Artistic Journey competition (2012). In his work he focuses on fragments of everyday life, which he portrays with a surreal twist. His objects are characterised by formal diversity and fantasy intertwined with reality. Originally from Zielona Góra, he lives and works in Kraków, Poland.
ERNA ROSENSTEIN (1913-2004)
Painter and poet, author of drawing and assemblages. She studied at the Wiener Frauen Akademie (1932-1934) and later at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków under Wojciech Weiss (1934-1936). Associated with the Grupa Krakowska, she also worked with Kraków’s Cricot Theatre. Rosenstein’s personal, poetic and surreal style is marked with her traumatic past. She also published seven collections of poems, including Ślad (The Trace) or Spoza granic mowy (Beyond the Limits of Speech). In 2020, the publishing house Wydawnictwo Wolno and Galeria Foksal Foundation published Poławiacz cieni (The Shadowcatcher), a book of Rosenstein’s fairy tales from the private archives of her son Artur Sandauer and the collection of the National Library in Warsaw.
Source: Zachęta, Galeria Foksal
The Golden Ball, from The Shadowcatcher (2020) by Erna Rosenstein
Published by Wydawnictwo Wolno in collaboration with the Galeria Foksal Foundation
Writing fairy tales and short stories is a less known side to Erna Rosenstein’s work. Poławiacz cieni (The Shadowcatcher) is an invitation to this 20th-century visual artist’s extraordinary world of imagination. The stories are pervaded with the spirit of surrealism but also the echoes of war and Shoah.
The child-like curiosity of the world, the questioning of the logical order of reality – these traits also aptly describe Erna Rosenstein as a person. The animal world was equally important to her and she treated it in the same way as the human world. She attached particular importance to the rejected and the forgotten: for her, things were a material trace of memory and passing time. Her studio – a small room where she spent most of her time in the last years of her life – was a magical and fairy-tale place.
Source: Wydawnictwo Wolno
MARIUSZ TARKAWIAN (b. 1983)
Draftsman, occasionally animation artist and electronic music composer. He studied at the Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin, Faculty of Arts. He received his diploma in the studio of intermedia and drawing under supervision of Professor Jan Gryka. Author of series of drawings as well as monumental wall projects. In his sketches and drawings, Tarkawian chronicles events, thoughts, references, reviews and fantasies. He avoids unnecessary details but does not shun humour or irony. Many of his works are created during various conversations, which the artist instantly captures with his pencil. His works are part of the collection at the Parisian gallery Bendana-Pinel Art Contemporain and the Museum of Art in Daejeon, South Korea. He lives and works in Warsaw, Poland.
you from me (2022), Krystyna Miłobędzka, Hania Rani
Published by Wydawnictwo Wolno
ciebie ode mnie (you from me) is a moving encounter of two unique artists: Krystyna Miłobędzka, an outstanding poet, and Hania Rani, a composer and pianist. The album – a testimony to this remarkable meeting – contains 22 poems read by the poet herself to the music specially composed for that occasion.
ciebie ode mnie is a story of the course of life, of life inscribed in passing and passing inscribed in life, of memory, places and people that we take with us. Life is easier to cry than to tell. All our towards and our not enoughs. The words hardly fit to what we want to say. Too late, too fast, inattentive, impatient. If only we could speak in silence, writes Krystyna Miłobędzka.
Hania Rani’s music resonates poignantly with the voice and words of the author of jest / jestem (is / am), creating space for an intimate meeting with the text.
Source: Wydawnictwo Wolno