"A Few Practical Ways To Prolong One's Life"

Bownik, e-Słodowy

We would like to invite you to the Zachęta National Art Gallery where Bownik’s work from the collection of the ING Polish Art Foundation will be shown.The exhibition’s underlying concept has been inspired chiefly by one of Julian Antonisz’s inventions: a portable device for creating non-camera animations.

The easy-to-use, compact mechanism was meant to enable the viewer to react creatively to the ‘unreal reality’ surrounding them. The idea of developing a ‘portable non-camera workshop’ was also part of a larger, ambitious project aimed at effecting the viewer’s artistic mobilization through the popularization of amateur non-camera animation.

Seeing great potential in the combination of human and mechanical energies, Antonisz encouraged members of the public to create their own non-camera works. In the spirit of the 19th-century constructors of road-show optical devices, he acknowledged the viewer’s active role in the process of generating moving images. In early motion-picture devices, such as the Kinora or the zoetrope, it is precisely the viewer who makes the machine’s existence meaningful, causing it to become alive, animating it, as it were.

Some of the objects featured in the exhibition exist as autonomous entities. Drawing or painting machines – automatons or semi-automatic devices – generate images without human intervention, taking over the role of the artist. Just as in Antonisz’s case, some of the these devices are evidence of the authors' keen awareness of their own limits, rather than their fascination with perfect technology. Error, malfunction and randomness sometimes creep into their operation, and the passion to construct can also assume absurd forms, as in Rube Goldberg’s spectacularly complex machines.

The popularization of the ‘practical ways’ and democratic distribution of knowledge on the artistic and utilitarian potential of technology seems particularly important at a time of (ideological and financial crisis).

The artistic statements presented in the show are clearly relevant in the context of today’s debate on ‘grassroots creativity’. As an alternative to the culture of mass production and consumption, the idea of DIY (do-it-yourself) becomes an important point of reference for the works on display. In the past, we were taught household creativity by Adam Słodowy’s hugely popular show, today the role is performed by hundreds of web portals offering practical advice and instruction on the subject.

The presented works demonstrate that, in an era of ‘digital reproduction’, Julian Antonisz’s postulate of returning to the roots of cinema and fighting for a rightful place for the individual experience has lost none of its relevance.

Exhibition title inspired by Julian Antonisz’s 1974 film.

artists: Olgierd Chmielewski, Attila Csӧrgő, Piotr Bosacki, Bownik, Peter Fischli i David Weiss, Rube Goldberg, Igor Krenz, Daniel Malone, Jan Mioduszewski, Janek Simon, Radek Szlaga
and objects from Werner Nekes collection

curators: Ewa Borysiewicz, Joanna Kordjak-Piotrowska

Zachęta National Art Gallery
pl. Małachowskiego 3
00-916 Warszawa

Exhibition opening: 15 February 2013
exhibition open from: 16 February - 31 March 2013

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