From: S. Lacy Leaving Art: Writings on Performance, Politics, and Publics, 1974–2007
The question of the role of artist as well as role of art in people’s lives emerged in my head right after coming to the UK and researching the local contemporary art scene. Actually it emerged from shock experienced after discovering so much object oriented, conceptual art with not much political or social context. Something complete opposite to the art I was exposed to and educated about back home.
A very convincing explanation of this phenomena is given by Piotr Piotrowski, who in his book on public art in postcommunist Europe (Agorafilia- sztuka i demokracja w postkomunistycznej Europie /Agoraphili- art and democracy in post-communist Europe) quotes conclusions made by Hans Belting. German art historian claims, that this different approaches of art arised from different political situations in Western and Eastern Europe after WW2. While in Western Europe dominated rather broad political consensus, East being at a time under communist regime was troubled by political and social disturbances. Thus there was a certain demand for the artists to play an active role in shaping local public debate. Social engagement was therefore unavoidable.
On the other hand, Western Europe started to build its after war artistic identity basing on foundations of Documenta. In vast majority politically indifferent, strongly conceptual art well funded by various institutions and galleries was far from the reality in the other side of the iron curtain.
The issue interested me so much, that I decided to dedicate it my 4th year dissertation, which specifically explored the importance of critical art today, By critical I mean confrontational, metaphoric art commenting in social and political issues wich focuses not on the object but meanings and issues it is talking about. This critical perspective is something I would like to implement in my firther practice.
As I have been writing before, certain aesthetics and video forms that I’ve pushed myself into overwhelmed me a little bit. I started to produce thoughtless, meaningless videos trying to fulfill some expectations towards my work. Therefore, turning to more clear, simple but more thoughtful forms is something very challenging.
Another problem was lack of confidence and tested way of building narratives. In such films the idea and narrative is an absolute bottom line. I found that all the effects and other ‘fireworks’ are good video’s worst enemy and that they make any film very easy to spoil.
Here is another point, where my endless live for Wojciech Bakowski’s work emerges. His video video and soundworks are profoundly based on word- which to some extend is a great solution for building the narratives, but on the other word makes fakery and pretentiousness very visible.
Working with text for Zloto gave me some more confidence- the texts at some points go a little bit abstract, nonetheless consistency and logical structure is very important. I have been trying really hard not to write about nothing specific.
My development of a not yet titled spoken movie emerged form an overheard story about war. I eventually discarded this idea, nonetheless I still knew that the new narrative will also need to have a dark twist.
En route to the final degree show concept analyzed all the contexts around my work- economic migrations, politics, pop culture and tried to extract an essence of the problem, which in my opinion is ‘gold’.
Starting from the economic migration topic I noticed that the problem is often accompanied by unhealthy, fetischized consummerism. On last year’s group exhibition in Polish Association spaces I exhibited a piece called persisted- audio visual installation. The piece titled Persistence in its form resembled a traditional Polish folk shrine with accompanying two video pieces.
One of them was a video of my colleague licking see-through sheet of perspex.
the video played in a portrait format was places inside a blue shrine embellished with tinsel, ribbons and christmas lights.
(none of the exhibition photos survived)
the other video was a music video to a track Michael Kors, telling a story about a migrant girl spending life doing least ambitious jobs only to be able to afford a Michael Kors bag. The idea emerged from my research into Polish migrants’ youtube channels, where the vloggers where showing their latest purchases-luxurious cosmetics and bags- made for the money earned abroad in least respected jobs.
Through this humoristic visuals I intended to talk about some more serious problems- sentencing oneself to having no future prospects, giving up self-dignity for seeming luxuries, which at home were out of one’s reach. I quite like this sort of approach- talking about serious socio-political issues through banalities. Since, creating a whole new social group of cheap labourers having no real chances for assimilation and happiness is in my opinion a very serious problem.
I decided to continue this thread, and work on the topic of consumerism- obsession with cheap counterfeit of luxury, visible signs of prosperity.
I eventually started to see something very occult, satanic in pop culture centered around object and money. That’s why my more recent work started to have more wicked, bdsm and occult aesthetic.
This semester I did some more research into biblical allegories- especially these treating about gold and wealth- the one about Job and the other about a golden calf.
My first degree show idea was to shoot a film about a contemporary Job, which haunted by multiple misfortunes turns into even more ardent religiousness- but for now I am putting this idea on the side.
I decided to focus on the story of Moses and golden calf. There is no point of telling this story here now but I think this reference can illustrate my observations very well- humanity worshiping a perverse idol (gold).
To visualise the above, I made a video of bdsm tele-shaman, which will be placed in a black sound sculpture. The aesthetics and form of the video was inspired by late-night fortune-teller tv shows, where the watchers troubled by various problems can phone and hear whatever they want as long as they stay on the line long enough. On the other side there is a narcissist shaman immersed in his own sensuality. The video is complimented by luring yet uncanny sound-piece of chants and low frequency bass.
Despite my sincere willingness to get more involved in sound art I’ve always had problems with engaging with it. Mostly because great majority of it is conceptual- it focuses on technological side of sound or soundscapes. Researching this genre, I discovered that I usually have no patience to listen to the majority of known to me sound pieces.
However, few years ago while researching Wilhelm Sasnal’s (polish painter) I found a very interesting clip on YouTube:
This post-punk/ new romantic style track was something I wouldn’t expect from one of the most acknowledged Polish painters. I fell absolutely in love with its atmosphere and spontaneity strengthened with clear in form video. I realised, that there shouldn’t be anything stopping me from incorporating music in my practice.
I quickly discovered that this take on sound art is a great way of developing the lyrical side of my work. That’s how I started to ‘test’ music.
Zloto has been created in a process of exploring new ways of artistic expression. It is also derived from my unfulfilled dreams of becoming a punk queen one day.
The project consists of a sound layer based on low-tech synth melodies and text.
Conceptually the project is centred around topics of everyday. I am particularly interested in simple stories of politics meeting everyday life; derived from my own experience as well as from observations of people around me.