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Contextual Research CPS 3302 Year 3

Artist talk – Kasia Redzisz

Kasia Redzisz is a polish curator and art historian who curated two exhibitions with the non-profit Biennial Foundation.

Biennial Foundation website – https://biennialfoundation.org

Write about quote on website ‘first of its kind initiative’ 

The organisation has artist residency opportunities and promotes young talent in Romania as well as the art history of Romania. 

https://kanal.brussels/en/news/kasia-redzisz-joins-kanal-centre-pompidou-brussels-first-artistic-director – information about Kasia Redzisz being the first artistic director at KANAL after serving as the senior curator of the Tate Liverpool since 2015 and before that working at the Tate Modern from 2010. Therefore she has a lot of experience and expertise in the curation industry.

Information about the exhibitions:

Information about the ’4th Art Encounters’

Redzisz organised the exhibition with Mihnea Mircan (another curator) in Transylvania which is a cultural crossroads that provides a chance to see art which is unique. 

She proposed that the exhibition be split into two parts, one being an historical exhibition and the other being a contemporary exhibition. 

Information about artists in the exhibition

For the historical exhibition, she wanted the artists to focus on combining art and nature in a way of questioning how we spend time in nature together. Creating a new language in a context of a historical show where artists were going into nature to create art since they weren’t allowed to experiment within the accepted institutional artistic language. Also mentioned was that traditional ways of making isn’t always good for the earth and so sustainability was explored. 

Historical exhibition was situated in fairly contained, traditional gallery space – white cube painted green to counterpart the black and white colours of archival images featured in show. Space was split into six different parts. 

Contemporary show was just down the road, important for viewers to make parallels between the historical and the contemporary. 

The contemporary exhibition involved exploring feminism in art. Some of the works in the exhibition aren’t directly feminist, some have a community of charity based practice, very big part of how they live their lives and see themselves.

It was situated in a transport museum which had train tracks on the floor. Approximately 33 artists were involved in this exhibition, but this number includes collectives and groups. 

View of the exhibition
Detail of a sculpture in the exhibition

The contemporary exhibition still had links to nature through the materials used or imagery included in the works. Caramel used in one of the sculptures, coal in another sculpture. Recycled mount boards/walls from previous exhibition 

Full sculpture (refer to image above for detailed segment)

Sculpture with sponges, metal and caramel. Interested in natural processes, mechanisms and substances. Sculptures evolve – science fiction and post humanistic themes. Cooked sugar which leaks and is very sticky which adds a sense of the sculpture being alive which links it to nature, animate and inanimate matter. 

Another sculpture in exhibition

Sculpture piece – Czech artist grew up on farm and actively cares about the land and our relationship with the land. Interested in the mechanisms of food production and damaged ecology of food production through big companies not caring about land. Also interested in social realism, utopian moment when social realist figures are very much alive and in perfect sync with machinery. 

In background you can see Lala’s photographs. Reconnecting with the identity of the place she was born. Haystacks, changing over times, shapes of them are determined by humans and animals that eat them, nature and elements. Mark the complex and wounded territory of the balkans. Photographs are used as a frame for the exhibition to locate the show, show the artists legacy and where they situate. 

Sculpture and painting

Space lures you to go more into the exhibition, move into the exhibition. Painting – commissioned to do it in response to the biannual tactic. Living nature of nature and the pleasure that we can get from being with nature. 

Video and sculptures

Pinky fleshy curtain contains commission for biannual of a film about plants that are able to eat and digest meat. There is a region in Romania where there is a certain climate where the plants are still present – unveiled the unsettling similarities between humans and the plants digestive systems. The sculptures represent the plants and was the first time that the artist worked with glass. 

Painted canvases

The artist who made these works is interested in minimal aesthetics and relationships with technology. Painted onto canvas, inspired by imagery of Apollo 13, blue planet (earth from distance) inspired theological differences. 

View of the exhibition
Work based on the floor – zoomed in attention to detail

This work represents intersectionality, experience of being a queer black woman. Body presence with nature, colonialism. Drew upon times she felt excluded because of her roots, race and appearance. Soil, braids of hair, her body cast in woks, plants sprouting from soil. Utopian vision of nature, had to be watered so it didn’t dry out in biannual 

Paintings involving death

Soil work was shown in front of two colourful paintings – one ‘rehearsing death’, sunbathing or dying. Very religious work, painted after the premature death of her sister, showing the meeting point of life and death. Second painting called ‘roaming’ where she is looking for her sister in a landscape. Feminist angle in this work 

Image 1 of changing sculpture
Image 2 of changing sculpture
Image 3 of moving sculpture and half way point

The Sculpture piece showed in the above 3 images was borrowed for the biannual and is a series of 9 sculptures, your view of sculpture affects how you see, choreography changes the way you see it. The third image shows the meeting point in the exhibition, showing how objects in an environment can change a space.

Duo of sisters, work based around the fashion industry

Duo of sisters with a feminist approach. They do a lot in terms of animal rights and food waste. Analysing language and visual style of activism. Sleek costumes on sleek bodies associated with fashion companies and modelling. Want to see if activism can not only be radical but a socially accepted way of life and society. Selection of five videos. 

Paintings involving the Chipko movement

Four paintings a nod to historical moments, depicted the chipko movement of women embracing trees and protecting them from being cut away. Associations based on women protecting seeds and rivers. Nod towards women. 

Feminist paintings involving the sexualisation of women

Porn industry focused work and how the sexualisation of women’s bodies is out of their control. Puts women in nature to allow them to reclaim their sexual imagery.

Installation

Final installation – polish artist dealing with nature and ecology for many years. Large amount of fabric, made collectively in river that they were navigating through during a residency. The ceramics are a nod towards the artists general practice with a fascination of working with clay as a material – naturally produced too so another link to nature. 

Kasia said the exhibitions were like a local economic force in the pandemic which helped to influence young artists. 

My opinion of the talk:

Although I have no intentions of becoming a curator anytime soon, I found Kasia’s talk very interesting as it allowed me to see her thought process in initially coming up with the idea for the exhibitions, as well as the way she put the exhibition together with careful consideration into the arrangement of works and where they were situated in the context of each other. The works in the exhibition were very diverse and I liked that they all connected to nature and feminism in sometimes subtle ways as it made you think about the works more. The curation is just as important as the art works and I feel that people who curate are very talented in putting in a good show.

The links to nature in both the historical and contemporary exhibitions are very relevant to my own practice as animals are currently my main focus and so it was refreshing to see how different artists incorporate natural themes into their own works, The use of colour was very influential in some of the pieces too and 8 was fascinated to see them all as the talk progressed.

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