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13 May 2013

How One Becomes What One Is

How One Becomes What One Is
BWA Tarnów


curators: Agnieszka Pindera, Marika Zamojska opening: 10th May 2013, 19:00 exhibitions runs until 23rd June 2013 admission free


+ 48 14 688 88 20 21
+ 48 14 688 88 20 21

BWA Tarnów
Strzelecki Palace, ul. Słowackiego 1
33-100 Tarnów

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How One Becomes What One Is is an international exhibition embracing works by contemporary artists from Poland, Germany, Japan, Great Britain, Lithuania and Russia, who develop reflection on the essence of artistic practice and tradition. What recurs in the gathered installations, paintings, audio and video works are autobiographical threads and themes related to memory, trauma and the iconography of youth.

The project derives inspiration from the school days of Tadeusz Kantor in Tarnów between 1926 and 1934. Kantor, who later came to spearhead the Polish avant-garde, not only attended junior high school here, but actually set his heart on becoming a painter and embarked on his practice in Tarnów. Thus, the dominant accents in the works on display at the exhibition are the past and the artists' personal perspective on tradition, both artistic and historic or cultural. In this context, How One Becomes What One Is features also two other avant-garde artists: legendary experimental filmmaker Jonas Mekas, and the co-founder of the so-called Polish school of electro-acoustic music Eugeniusz Rudnik. The former travels back in time and space to his homeland in the film Reminiscences Of A Journey To Lithuania, while the latter manifests his astounding alter ego in the sound collage Birds And People. Concert Etude For Four Artists, Three Violins, Two Nightingales, Scissors And A Female Folk Potter.

The exhibition premieres Simon Fujiwara'a video Rehearsal For A Reunion, which comments with with both on the background of the artist himself – a British of Japanese origins – and his approach to the Far Eastern tradition. This thread is developed also by Aiko Tezuka, whose practice problematises painting as a medium belonging to the Western civilisation. The artist deals with a now-marginal medium of fabric, which requires exquisite craft.

Yet, the artistic tradition is represented above all by the paintings of Kantor himself from the collection of Tarnów's institutions, which see their present interpretations and receive new frames, both literally and figuratively. The artistic duo Vasil Artamonov & Alexey Klyuykov find their own way to portray Kantor by embracing the Master's works in a sculptural installation of basic materials. Moreover, critical tactics towards painting as such are represented in the installation by Heike Gallmeier, who carries out life-size models of classic paintings. Her works integrate media proper also for Kantor's practice: painting, performative strategies, found object set design. Historic iconography is referenced also by Bownik in his photographic cycle Fellow Boys And Girls, pointing at yet another theme of the exhibition: youth, first experience, non-conventional demeanour.

A major thread in the narration of the display is autobiography, especially of the artist themselves, understood not only as self-themed reflection, but also a reference to the myth of the Artist with a capital 'A'. Such strategy is employed in his practice, largely dominated by works on paper, by Honza Zamojski, who features in Tarnów his sculptural self-portrait of corrugated cardboard. Also quite untypically for himself, Daniel Rumiancew, associated mainly with photography and video art, undertakes here preparations to carry out an installation blending autobiographical threads with ironic and witty critique of the myth of the Artist, whose value is sanctioned by his 'presence in the museum'. Addressing the most emblematic of Kantor's works – the spectacle The Dead Class – demythologises in a truly Gombrowicz-like spirit both Kantor himself and the Artist figure. Another anecdote from the past informs the watercolour cycle by Tomasz Kowalski, which provides a record of a trip taken by a group of friends to the Lakes – the presumed burial place of Witkacy – re-enacting at the same time a similar expedition of the artist Jacek Kryszkowski 25 years before. Kowalski and Libera's black humour resonates in the melancholic and personal tomb-shaped installation by Anna Zaradny, a work hailing from futuristic visions, where the image and at once the material presence of the deceased exist (live) in film projection.

The exhibition How One Becomes What One Is inaugurates the new, this time permanent seat of the BWA amid park greenery. Alongside the collateral programme of meetings, workshops and events, the show on the one hand pursues further the programme strategy headed by Ewa Łączyńska-Widz, while on the other marks the beginning of another long-term project Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind, investigating the relations between the regional heritage and contemporary art.

artists: Vasil Artamonov & Alexey Klyuykov, Bownik, Simon Fujiwara, Heike Gallmeier, Tadeusz Kantor, Tomasz Kowalski, Zbigniew Libera, Jonas Mekas, Eugeniusz Rudnik, Daniel Rumiancew, Aiko Tezuka, Honza Zamojski, Anna Zaradny

curators: Agnieszka Pindera, Marika Zamojska

exhibition design: Robert Rumas

graphic design: Kaja Gliwa