The title of the exhibition is a paraphrase of the title of a famous novel by Milan Kundera The Unbearable Lightness of Being written in the mid-80’s, when the Biała Gallery in Lublin was opened.
The word white have reappeared in the titles of our exhibitions. White Decade, White – Art without Walls, Nova White, White Class, White Combinations, White over White – these are only a few moments from the long history of the gallery. The need to find the right key word was more than unbearable. It was haunting us until we came up with white as the word through which we could ideologically identify with the works of the artists, especially those presented in the gallery over the years.
Connotations with white in this exhibition are inscribed in almost all works by the artists invited to arrange their special spaces here. Differences between the ways they all use whiteness is significant. Their shared choice of material seems to be of quite importance. Instead of gemstones, metals, high-minded metals and minerals or complicated technological systems we get… flour, plaster, threads, mirrors. Used in a unique way, those materials create specific magical spaces, harmonious and unearthly landscapes, minimalistic aura, which makes us more open to commune with art and architecture complementing each others presence.
The remarkable subtlety, harmony and, at the same time, the awareness of the elusiveness of temporality affects all spaces. Whiteness can be light in its sequences, unbearable, flawless, obsessive, sensual, sterile and easily damaged.
White walls are the basic background of the gallery, which often hosts painful traumas and dramatic stories. Other times the colour dominates the message and the background goes unnoticed. Here the white is the base and it gains a fundamental meaning. But if it can be a beginning, then it can also be the finale, the essence, a kind of a necessary constraint. Its potential disability to adopt a name opens the door for a beam of light and defines the parameters of time and space.
This exhibition opens a new chapter of the Biała Gallery, in which the exhibition space will be substantially extended as compared to our previous seat. New spaces are as follows: double room, long room and lower room. They will grow strong when the artists fill them in with their work and the visitors with their regular presence. The bright patio connecting the ground floor with the basement is a new challenge.
We start with The Unbearable Lightness of White by SŁAWOMIR BRZOSKA, JAN GRYKA, HEGE LØNNE AND KED OLSZEWSKI.
A separate space in the corridor – the beginning of the gallery’s new seat, is filled with the only remaining series of drawings by MARIUSZ TARKAWIAN entitled Colloquium on History of Art and Civilisation. At the end of that same corridor the artist, just like a couple of years ago, a small drawing on the walls of a small space, quoting once again his former work.
The exhibition will also present two architectural models by MICHAŁ MEJNARTOWICZ from the series Lublin ESK 2116, with a characteristic for Lublin Krakowska Gate and the temporary seat of the Biała Gallery at 32 Narutowicza Street.
In his works Ked Olszewski makes use of refracted/reflected light. The main material he uses in his art is the mirror. Cutting it into little squares, which he then attaches to various objects, he turnes unwanted, used things into Trinkets. So far he has transformed a Volkswagen, a satellite dish, a concrete mixer or a rubbish container, among others.
Other surprising objects Olszewski turns into Trinket are permanent elements of public space. He compliments his works with specific lightning, achieving the effect we recognise from a disco floor.
The present exhibition reveals a special relation between the Trinkets and the space. The installation entitled Mirage is based on the RGB colour model and it presents the way we can achieve white colour by combining three bundles of light: red, green and blue. The artists placed his mirror objects within the range of whiteness he produced this way.
Olszewski brings life into the space, exposes its hidden potential. He breaks the unbearable whiteness of the walls topped with a noble ceiling into colours, hidden somewhere on the other pole of the solemn atmosphere of the monastery.
Ked Olszewski (ur. 1970) is a graduate of the Fine Arts Academy in Poznań and the Film School in Łódź. Visual artist working in the field of ready made and re-design, discussing the subject of overproduction, excessive consumption or rapid degradation of things. He teaches the foundations of photography at the Fine Arts Academy in Szczecin. He is also the curator of the 13 Muses Gallery and the artistic director of the Inspirations Festival.
Sławomir Brzoska has made ultraviolet light a frequent element of his exhibitions. He uses it to organise the space he invades. The artist made his first visit to the Biała Gallery in 2009 with his exhibition Song of a Wanderer. It combined a characteristic light installation with his passion for travelling.
In Brzoska’s art travelling means more than exploring the exotic and remote corners of the Earth and becomes a narration about the metaphysical of a journey.
In his present project entitled The Horizon of the Events we travel into the “depths” of one of the gallery’s new rooms. This space demands to be explored by the artist. In order to fully commit to do that Brzoska has drawn two circles on the opposite walls of the room, from which two boundary lines lead to the longest wall creating two overlapping forms. Those two mathematical forms refer to forms present in the nature. The artist treats the process of creating his art as a form of meditation. The form “drawn” in this way is a record of a “journey” between points marked within the gallery’s space. The ultraviolet construction is a direct consequence of the architecture. As a result of this transfer the mater of the walls, the ceiling and the floor transcends into the shape seen in the foreground, radiating with the ultra-white aura.
Sławomir Brzoska (ur. 1967) is a graduate of the Art Institute of the Silesian University in Cieszyn. He works in the field of sculpture, installation, video, landart, performance and the nomadic experience of life. He works at the Artistic University in Poznań, where he runs the Art in Public Space Department and at the Fine Arts Academy in Katowice.
Hege Lønne comes back to Lublin with a new project entitled Double Room.
While her previous exhibition, Equivalent Forms, was an attempt to “balance” the language of nature with the language of art, this time the counterpoint is placed between the sculpture and the space. The artist decides to interact with the “unbearability” of the emptiness represented by the white in the title of the exhibition. In this situation an empty gallery becomes a carte blanche demanding to be filled with writing. The process of filling it out is divided into several stages.
Lønne entering the room might be considered the opening stage. During her first visit the artist made precise measurements of the interior and then she constructed a form in the scale of 1:20, which she later filled with plaster. After taking off the form, the final shape was revealed. Its outside contours mirror the gallery’s interior. In other words: the interior of the gallery was turned into the outside form of the sculpture. A compressed form exposes (and at the same time encloses) the impressive seize of the room in 3-D. The lightness of the material placed between the object and the walls casting their shape in it is the final stage. The lightness of the silence filling the room arranged in such a way is no longer unbearable.
Hege Lønne (born 1961) studied at the Fine Arts Academy in Warsaw and Kunstakademiet in Trondheim. She creates video art, sculptures, installations and textual works. She lives and works in Warsaw and in Oslo.
The patio is a unique place within the Biała Gallery.
Anna Nawrot decided to use the uniqueness of this place and arrange it as an extraordinary conservatory. For the duration of the exhibition more than 300 plastic cleaning supplies containers will serve as vases. White flowers will “grow” inside of them. The obtrusiveness of the white colour is strictly connected with the theme and the general sense of the entire exhibition. Synthetic containers have turned into habitat capable of hosting life. Nature has triumphed over plastic waste material, although the life of the flowers will not last until the exhibition’s finale.
Anna Nawrot (born 1960) graduated from the Institute of Artistic Education of the Maria Curie Skłodowska University in Lublin. She creates installations and objects. She founded the Biała Gallery in Lublin and has been running it continuously since 1985.
The space Jan Gryka chose for his exhibition White Valley is the Lower Room. Before covering its entire floor with flour, he randomly placed various geometrical forms around it. They make up specific agglomerations, islands, which together may look like one big archipelago. The project, which can only be seen from the upper floor, takes the shape of a foggy city spreading out to the suburbs seen from a bird’s eye. However, what this space lack are some characteristic places. We have no way of knowing which city we are looking at. It is not an ancient metropolis covered in volcanic dust. The dust is made of flour. Its whiteness matches the universal character of contemporary spatial planning. On the other hand, this grocery product, flour as food may have one more, mysterious role here. Is it some kind of a gift, a manna from heaven?
Jan Gryka (born 1959) graduated from the Institute of Artistic Education of the Maria Curie Skłodowska University in Lublin. He is an author of installations, films, objects, photography and landart project. Co-creator of the Biała Gallery’s programme. Works at the Faculty of Arts of the Maria Curie Skłodowska University in Lublin.
Mariusz Tarkawian created his series of drawings entitled Colloquium on History of Art and Civilisation in 2007-2009. This monumental enterprise was placed on the first floor corridor of the unused wing of the Centre for Culture building. In the following years those frescoes made with a marker pen were destroyed by the renovating team. The Biała Gallery, however, have managed to publish a catalogue documenting this peculiar project. The publication was enhanced with six panels covering the doors with drawings made by the author. This way, by completing the documentation, the artist finished his work.
Those works, together with two metal electricity meter covers are the only original pieces that survived from the first exhibition. They have been waiting in the magazines of the Biała Gallery to be shown in public. After the return to the recently renovated building, a fragment of Colloquium on History of Art and Civilisation was placed in the corridor. It welcomes the gallery’s visitors. Referring to his project completed four years ago, the artist has made a drawing on the walls towards the end of the corridor presenting both old and completely new scenes.
It is the first exposition that will remain in the Biała Gallery. It opens the permanent exhibition presented in the context of the building, its history, presence and future that will gradually fill out its walls.
Mariusz Tarkawian (born 1983) is a graduate of the Faculty of Arts of the Maria Skłodowska University in Lublin. He made his debut in 2005 at the Biała Gallery. He is mostly known for his drawings. Long time collaborator of the ZOOM Lublin Cultural Magazine, he is currently based in Warsaw.
Michał Mejnartowicz presents two architectural object from a larger series of sculptures entitled ESK Lublin 2116
Inspired by the models exhibited for public viewing in tender procedures, he seeks another explanation for his works. They refer to the competition for the title of the European Capital of Culture 2016, in which Lublin participated as well.
Mejnartowicz’s models present a futurist vision of chosen buildings Lublin in over 100 years time! They are: The Krakow Gate and the property at 32 Narutowicza St. (temporary seat of the Centre for Culture in 2009-2013). He presents them as ruins that have survived a horrific disaster and provokes some reflection upon cities taking part in such a race, at the same time surprising us with the contrast they create with the newly renovated building.
Michał Mejnartowicz (born 1986) has completed Bacherol Studies at the Faculty of Arts of the Maria Curie Skłodowska University in Lublin. He is continuing his artistic education at the Fine Arts Academy in Wrocław.