Wednesday, May 25, 2011

life is elsewhere

Behind each facade of the old age of a town, the old age that we inherit, there is some yard full of surprises, that can be a reflection of this ‘good’ world. These backyards annoy particularly the real bourgeois who live in better districts and their car parks and gardens border on the real slum. There is no way to eradicate it, so there appear curtains, partitions, fences and dividers. These curtains always appear on both sides to emphasise mutual sovereignty. In reality, it is a city symbiosis, because each of these worlds divided by the wall looks at its reflection in the other one, compares, follows, peeps and controls what happens behind the wall. It is connected with a longing for a better world (sometimes the erected wall is to hide what is unattainable) and a great sentiment for what is known, familiar, tamed and safely enclosed from the rest of the world. At the same time, through the gaps in the fence there oozes the longing for the southern seas and a better, always remote other life... In a small, provincial, Prussian town something what we call the culture of szalereks* (correct: szajerek [PL]= shed) has formed. It is our good backroom, sometimes it is scary to set a foot there, but always interesting, intriguing, thrilling. From there, from the hiding, it is better (and without shame) to peep one’s dreams. *Szalereks (szajerek) – this interesting local word, which well renders the atmosphere of Chelmionka (The Chelmno Suburb), in the old days the quintessence of suburb life, remote from the centre, sleepy, second class (as in B. Schulz).
"At the entrance to Center of Contemporary Art in Torun (Poland) artists (Dorota Chilinska and Andrzej Wasilewski) have built a shed. The annexe adjacent to the facade of the building – a temple of art bears witness to destruction and poverty. Such places serve gathering things apparently or potentially useful. As Krystian Kowalski wrote: “ (...) We shall sometimes manage to use these things again. Flowerbeds are made of old tyres, a garden shed out of used bottles. Sometimes we invent various probable situations that may happen and bring each of the objects back to life. These concentrations of objects are a souvenir of our every day, our biographies an our everyday histories. They are not rubbish yet, only junk. After some time we finally forget that such objects have ever existed (...)”. The countryside invisibly becomes such a backroom, an annexe for cites as a “source of basic resources consumed, a place to locate facilities serving spending free time, a heap for refuse of city life – nuclear waste, rubbish, criminals and old people” (Kuvlesky, Coop 1983). Can we still use earlier experiences of the country, or do we merely allow them become overgrown with spider webs, hidden in sheds? We drive them out and ashamed, we sneer at them using a unambiguously pejorative saying: What crap! ..."
Monika Weychert-Waluszko

2009 - Lucim lives on, Center of Contemporary Art, Torun (PL)
2007 - Life is elsewere..., For Gallery..., Torun (PL)

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