Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Transparent - Konrad Smoleński and Honza Zamojski at NewBridge Project Space

Konrad Smoleński and Honza Zamojski

Saturday 28 May - Saturday 9 July (performance: 4pm daily)
Preview: Friday 27 May 6-9pm

NewBridge Project Space

Transparent is a collaborative exhibition from Polish artists, Konrad Smoleński and Honza Zamojski, presented through a multimedia installation and performance.

One by one they enter the space, take off their shoes and trousers, drink some water and walk to the line of megaphones. Each picks up a megaphone and instructs the audience to watch the performance from outside the gallery. They reposition the megaphone on the floor in the line and walk over to the moving treadmill. In turn they jump onto the treadmill and begin to walk.

They walk
keeping a constant pace 
but with different rhythms

This could appear to be rather grim, a group of individuals dressed in black, expressionless, marching at a consistent speed. Unable to escape the monotony of the platform.

However, I read it as more positive. It is not a military procedure. They maintain their individuality. Different strides. Different rhythms. But they also work as a group. 

I liken it to how the wider world can operate. People are aware of each other, and act together to keep things constant, consistent and in motion, yet they are also able to maintain their own identity.

Great attention has been paid to the architecture in the gallery. The bottom of the white walls have been removed all around the gallery, and clear plastic water bottles fill the gap between the end of the board on the wall and the floor. The gap between wall and floor is the same height as that of the treadmill. The lights in the gallery have been repositioned to shine directly above the points of action i.e. above the megaphones and the treadmill. The light above the megaphones is tinted a shade of blue to match the megaphone, and above the treadmill the lights remain white.

I really enjoy the way that the artists have made use of the large window space that separates the inside of the gallery from the pavement and main road. The gallery is positioned just opposite a bus stop; an ideal location to engage with the public. The treadmill is the same length as the window, and people are encouraged to view the performance from outside the gallery as well as inside.

Between the hours of 10am-3pm and 5pm-6pm (when there is no performance happening), the light remains on, highlighting the apparatus (treadmill and megaphones) that come into action when the performance happens.

'The project has evolved from an initial concept, which sought to explore models of art education that differ from those in the UK: specifically looking at the pedagogical practices of Polish professor, Leszek Knaflewski and his relationship with former students Konrad Smoleński and Honza Zamojski. Leszek Knaflewski sadly passed away in 2014 and the initial project could not be realised.

The project has developed into a collaboration between Smoleński and Zamojski as an experiment into their own artistic practice. Allowing them to take risks outside of a commercial gallery context, relax their everyday practice and redefine their artistic language in order to work together to create a new, communal platform and outlet for the unknown and poetical.

The framework of an institution like University of Arts in Poznań, allowed the relationship between Professor Knaflewski, Smoleński and Zamojski to dynamically thrive and evolve; roles could be reversed and power structure played upon, shifting and removing preponderance. Differences could be shared and considered as a resource.

Knaflewski’s pedagogical ambiguity, his ability to embrace authority and anarchy and to inspire and allow freedom has been influential on Smoleński and Zamojski’s respective practices and on shaping this particular project. By reflecting upon Knaflewski’s and their own methods, they have merged their individual artistic languages to create a fusion: two different set-ups of relations – one based on exchange and order, the other on chaos. Polarities brought to unity.

In this context, the complexity of relationship is seen as a system, therefore Transparent is a response to this relationship and can be thought of as a variable system; it comes on and off with a fluctuating rhythm. The system changes from active to passive and becomes a magazine of information and potential; the readiness of sleeping energy; the stage of becoming; the communion of nothingness.

Transparent features configurations of objects and humans, humans and architecture and exhibits, institutions and individuals. Within a carefully structured environment and a precisely scripted scenario of live action, humans animate the system regardless of bounds to establishment and restrictions. Humans excite the inanimate world to vibrate, bringing a dynamic that makes the system flexible. By employing simple elements like movement, water, rhythm of actions, order and vibrations – the image of potentiality is created, a potentiality that ultimately remains humane. This event is a snapshot – this abstract form of dissected actions and system becomes an anthropological artefact.'

For more information about the artists please visit:


No comments: