This exhibition is part of Polish Arts Festival in Southend this summer.
Private View: 23rd of August, 6pm–9pm / Opening Times: 12–6 pm
Venue: Kursaal Gallery Space, Eastern Esplanade, SS1 2WW
Participating artists are: Alicja Dobrucka, Anja Borowicz, Ewa Lis, Gracjana Rejmer, Jan Manski, Justyna Scheuring, Kasia Depta Garapich, Magdalena Drwiega, Marcin Dudek, Rafal Zawistowski and Sabina Salis.
Devised and organised by Deconstruction Project this show is part of the programme of the Polish Arts Festival produced by Hungry Arts. Deconstruction Project has been collaborating with Hungry Arts on the Polish Arts Festival’s previous editions in Southend and have curated Young Polish Art at Metal, an exhibition of works by five female contemporary Polish artists as well as Homeless Gallery photography exhibition for its 2011’s incarnation.
Subject to Change revolves around the fluid nature of modern spaces and objects. It embarks on the role and impact of the factors of constant transformation and upgrading, which largely define contemporary culture. Looking at the range of relevant conditions, the exhibition explores current dynamics of change, not only in the domestic and intimate but also in the public/social and celebratory contexts.
The show occupies two recently vacated fast food chain sites located on either side of the Kursaal’s foyer. This location provokes a discussion about relationship between history, economics, architecture, identity, entertainment, temporality and fake grandeur; the areas that are being strongly affected by each other and as such are constantly subjected
to change. As we are observing these changes and experiencing their increasing speed, the artists rise to the challenge of disrupting their stream. The artists’ investigate the dynamics of time and space through employment of various artistic strategies such as enclosure, isolation, interruption, looping, multiplying and juxtaposing.
Subject to Change gathers artists’ work of various media including installation, painting, sculpture and video. The timeline of the exhibition’s narration spans thousands of years, starting off at the mythical Garden of Eden (Rafal Zawistowski) travelling via contemporary social issues such as consumerism and homelessness (Eva Lis, Anja Borowicz) to eventually arrive at the place belonging to visions of the future (Jan Manski). It is a journey through visualised concepts of spaces and objects subjected to change. The artists explore estrange-
ment of the domesticated (Magdalena Drwiega) and propose new settings and rules for familiar events and spaces (Marcin Dudek, Justyna Scheuring). The recurring reference present in the exhibiting artists’ practise is also the phenomena of metamorphosis (Sabina Sallis) and irrational replacement and juxtaposition of materials (Kasia Depta-Garapich). As the notion of change would not fulfil without remembering the state prior to the act of transformation, the artists also focus on mechanisms of visual memory and cultural and
environmental attachment (Alicja Dobrucka, Gracjana Rejmer).
Through organising the exhibition in the context of the Polish Arts Festival the curators in collaboration with the participating artists took an opportunity to investigate specificity of art created by those of particular national background. Consequently the show is also concerned with the global phenomena of cultural assimilation of contemporary artists. Are there any existing expectations or presumptions of ‘Polish art’ in Britain? What are the characteristics of contemporary Polish artists’ practice? Can the change of direction in a migrant artist’s practice be regarded as a proof of cultural assimilation or alienation? Subject to Change with its selection of artworks intends to provoke a discussion and contribute to the ‘arts and cultural diversity’ discourse.
Also on display is an exhibition of Gdansk-based artist Iwona Zając as its artist-in-residence. Iwona will be at Metal in Chalkwell Hall for a 4 weeks residency to work on her ongoing project entitled The Foreign Woman. The work explores the complex relationships between mother and daughter, being a stranger in your own society or another country, the inheritance of trauma, and also, about discovering what is common when women from different generations are foreigners abroad. To prepare work for the exhibition, she will work with Southend public to explore the notion of stranger and the question “who are we?” There will be an exhibition of her recent work at the Kursaal Gallery Space.
Iwona Zając has been associated with the Polish Arts Festival since its inception in 2008 in Ipswich. She has produced two mural works for the Festival; a major work at Ipswich Town Hall Gallery under the curatorship of Katarzyna Szydlowska and Konrad Schiller, and a smaller work for the Festival in 2011. With a studio space in the shipyards of Gdansk, Iwona is supporting the Festival’s ambition to develop and nurture links between artists based in the tri-city region of Poland and the southeast of England.