Exhibition as part of the project Radical Languages

Tadeusz Kantor’s Gallery – Studio, ul. Sienna 7/5, Kraków
The exhibition will run: 7–27 December 2012
Opens: 7 December, 6 pm
Opening hours: Monday – Friday, 2–4 pm

Artists:  Tadeusz Kantor (objects), Nathaniel  Mellors (sculpture 7 Ages of Britain Teaser Face, film), Egill Sæbjörnsson (installation: Various Projections).

The protagonists of the exhibition are objects  – ordinary objects,– or, as Tadeusz Kantor would have described them, ‘poor things’, suspended between life and death, deprived of their role in the theatre and animated with the help of modern technology.  Nathaniel Mellors’s naturalist sculpture 7 Ages of Britain Teaser Face leads the spectator to the robotics hypothesis known as the ‘Uncanny Valley’, which posits that people are thrown into terror at the sight of an android. The artist is fascinated by contemporary technologies. His multilayer works fuse inspiration from various sources, ranging from Hieronymus Bosch’s paintings to films by Pasolini. The Icelandic artist Egill Sæbjörnsson breathes life into mundane objects, which perform various functions in his multimedia installations. On this occasion, the main actors are: a plastic bucket, the branch of a tree, a stone and a piece of wood. The artist animates the objects with the help of video projection and music. His installations are as colourful as they are amusing. Egill Sæbjörnsson has done away with the distinction between ‘culture’ and ‘nature’. His practices are reminiscent of the ‘theatre of the object’ which is one of the varieties of puppet theatre where everyday objects play the main roles, rather than traditional marionettes or puppets.

In the theatre of Tadeusz Kantor objects have always been very important actors in their own right. In 1984, the artist founded the Commission of Appraisal and Evaluation in order to protect some of his objects from destruction, the usual fate of theatrical props. In time, the objects were removed from their original context and deprived of their theatrical function; now, they are part of the Cricoteka collection. In the exhibition, we present the most insignificant and modest of these objects, which are performative in character. There has been a rich tradition of employing objects on the stage, from masks and marionettes to the theatre of shadows, machines and robots, and more. During the modernist era, the tradition revived, leading us to contemporary art and the birth of cinema. Today, also elements of virtual reality are considered ‘performing objects’. This modest presentation of the contemporary artists Nathaniel Mellors, Egill Sæbjörnssona and Tadeusz Kantor refers to avant-garde experiments and to the world of modern technology. The exhibition complements the performative programme Radical Languages, which combines the art of contemporary artists with the artistic practice of Tadeusz Kantor.

Egill Sæbjörnsson, Various projections, courtesy of Hopstreet Gallery and Egill Studio

Project Radical Languages subsidized by the Ministry of Culture and the National Heritage,
Flemish Representation  at the Belgian Embassy and the Mondriaan Fonds.
Partner: Barka Alrina, Bęc Zmiana Foundation.
Media patronage: Program 2 Polskiego Radia, TVP Kultura, TVP Kraków, Radio Kraków, Gazeta Wyborcza, Karnet, O.pl, Cracow-life.com, Purpose.com.pl, E-splot.