On Panic, Obsession, Anesthesia, and Rituality
Pawel Althamer [PL], Bogna Burska [PL], Ursula Doebereiner [D], Lili Dujourie [BE], Angelika Fojtuch [PL], Stefen Geisler [D], Ellen Harvey [USA], Hiwa K. [D], Agnieszka Kalinowska [PL], Grzegorz Klaman [PL], Poitr Kopik [PL], Pawel Kruk [PL], Dominik Leyman [PL], Yvette Mattern [D/USA], Jill Mercedes [LU], Annee Olofsson [SE], Dominik Pabis [PL], Dominika Skutnik [PL], Susanne Weirich [D], Monika Weiss [PL/USA], Artur Zmijewski [PL]. Curated by Aneta Szylak
You Won’t Feel A Thing captures the state of mind and soul of the individual under the pressure of contemporary reality. Post-therapeutic, globalized and medialized, this reality enforces a rational approach to life and privileges so-called “social” and “professional” behaviour. This is the reality of fraudulently stimulated collective reactions, of false prophets and failed social projects, marked by a crisis of both rationality and spirituality. Traditional values and beliefs have lost their authority. Forced to fulfil often-contradictory expectations on so many levels of their lives, individuals are alienated from any authentic emotional reality. Their feelings are channelled and manipulated by social, psychological, and economic pressures. Paradoxically, at a time when communication media increasingly dominate our lives, interpersonal communication between human beings is ever more severely limited or results in complete miscommunication.
In reaction to this situation – overwhelmed by panic, obsession or the desire for anaesthesia – individuals perform personal rituals that extend, suspend or freeze time to allow themselves to experience their private selves. This exhibition is designed to reveal that secret self: the person, the artist, the beholder, in all of his or her individuality and uniqueness. Ignoring the all-persuasive social relations that generally frame and inform the self, this exhibition looks inward to focus on the internal and personal reality.
The emotions of the individual are informed and stimulated by spatial relations. The way we observe space and our own situation is necessarily emotionally coded. Interiors and exteriors impact our physical selves and mediate the expression and experience of our emotions. We can be oppressed, liberated, burdened, limited, terrified, surrounded or embraced by space. The small amount of space occupied by our bodies is a very special place – the nest, the womb, the shelter, the chapel, the prison. You Won’t Feel A Thing will reveal our ability both to embody and emotionalize this space. Cheered, lost, panicked, moved or surprised, viewers will project their own stories, experiences, abilities, contexts and perceptions on the spaces created by the artists. Large-scale overlapping installations will transform and reinterpret the space through which the viewer will pass in order to create a spatial and emotional confusion parallel to that of the work itself.
In this labyrinth of forking paths, the spectator will discover numerous video works presenting individuals engaged in repetitive activities or private rituals. The opening night will include live performances which will then be presented as documentary video and sound installations for the duration of the exhibition. All the works will show the individual in heightened borderline states – in extreme situations of cold, pleasure, loneliness or pain. These works create a kind of subjective time that has nothing to do with linearity. Looped or warped, the works suspend time, creating an individualized, unbalanced space in which extremes of emotion are anesthetized through repetition. By tracking the ritual containment of emotional extremes in art today, this exhibition seeks to provoke a similar cathartic experience in the viewer and thereby reveals and examines those strategies of containment that are available to us today.