Waiting for Another Coming
Night of the Exhibition at Stroboskop, 2018
If we didn’t exist, would it change anything? This question was the starting point for “Night of the Exhibition at Stroboskop.” We (Stroboskop, Norbert Delman and Kathryn Zazenski) asked this question as co-directors of a space that functions somewhere in the less-defined grey area of the art world. We are neither an institution nor a proper gallery, and we can’t support artists because we have no buyers and make no profit. Yet, we have a community, we regularly exhibit new works, we are engaged in local and international conversations, and at the end of the day, have a physical space in the garage of an old communist-style bloc building. So the weight of this questioning, in all of its dramatic, existential glory, is very real. We ask it in order to both understand our position and validate the time, energy, and resources that we devote to giving Stroboskop life. “Night of the Exhibition at Stroboskop” has been staged to depict exactly what the title suggests. Through painting, we position Stroboskop within the canon of Western art history, where countless other images from stories, fables, tales, and folklore – part fact and part fiction – have been depicted over the centuries for the very same reason in the very same way. This type of painting is the allegory of Stroboskop. Playing with the art historical styles of both Romanticism and Polish Historicism, we declare our relevance and cement our position in the world. We believe the myth because we have created it. Now, we promote it to perpetuate it.
Two-part group exhibition Waiting for Another Coming at the Contemporary Art Center, Vilnius, (31.08-18.10.2018) and the Center for Contemporary Art Ujzadowski Castle, Warsaw (25.10.2018-27.01.2019).
CURATORS: Anna Czaban, Jaroslaw Lubiak, Ūla Tornau
PARTICIPANTS: Ewa Axelrad, Wojtech Bąkowski , Przemyslaw Branas, Jokūbas Čižikas and Robertas Narkus, Rafal Dominik , Malgorzata Goliszewska, Styrmir Orn Gudmundsson, Duonis – Donatas Jankauskas, Edyta Jarząb, Mateusz Kula, Dainius Liškevičius, Nomadic State (Stach Szumski, Karolina Mełnicka), Dominika Olszowy, Sponge Lab (Kipras Dubauskas, Vytautas Juzėnas, Eglė Razumaitė), Stroboskop (Norbert Delman, Kathryn Zazenski), Cezary Poniatowski, Viktorija Rybakova, Ieva Rojūtė, Iza Tarasewicz, Bartosz Zaskorski, Kristijonas Naglis Zakaras, Darius Žiūra
A planet made of frozen human bodies has confronted the landscape of a small rural village; cemeteries delineate maps imaginary maps of memory; the innermost corners of the human soul neighbour the political underground; immigrant enclaves are adjacent to the oases of identity, and so on. This is a flow of perpetual transformation; going with this flow results in traversing manifold heterotopias. The exhibitions in Vilnius and Warsaw show two possible routes through them. The project Waiting for Another Coming probes the opportunities for finding one’s one place in the changing world and the potential for preparing for what is in store. These questions are being posed from the viewpoint of countries located outside the core of the global order.
The starting point is the centenary of the independence of Lithuania and Poland which both countries celebrate in 2018. For hundreds of years they have been bound by close links, and have a history of alliances and conflicts, which can be presented by formal or informal political, cultural and ethnographic narratives. For this reason, the concept of heterotopia – which Michel Foucault used in reference to situations that evade the usual principles governing our daily lives – has become the project’s leitmotif. Individual art works and indeed the exhibitions themselves are heterotopias. The transformations that have taken place in Lithuania and Poland over the last century have followed different trajectories, yet the exhibitions do not reflect these distinctions. Indeed, the project Waiting for Another Coming provides an opportunity to lay aside any differences between the two countries and create new spaces for art to sketch out the landscapes that both can share.
There are 30 artists and artistic groups taking part in the whole project, with twenty of them involved in each presentation. The exhibitions in Vilnius and Warsaw are conceptually separate configurations. The first of these takes the form of a constellation that comprises heteroscopic worlds and themes that evoke a feeling of suspense. The narrative being created in the second exhibition is a story of waiting.
The present Lithuanian and Polish collaboration has been occasioned by an anniversary of historic events. It has no intention, however, of embarking on yet another retelling of the past; on the contrary – it is focused on what future potential emerges from today’s creative praxis and, to take a broader view, from cultural processes in general. The eponymous ‘waiting’ emphasises a predicament in which artists have given up the construction of projects and visions pivoted on the future or which effect a transformation of the present, aiming instead for creating for themselves alternative spaces and environment. Rather than constructing utopias, they focus on specific heterotopias – whether actual, virtual or imaginary. They employ diverse techniques – typically, to sample, remix or compost materials that can be sourced from the world of art, popular culture, everyday life or national mythology. In turn, the eponymous ‘coming’ refers to a leaning towards the future while being open to all possible outcomes. As well as being indicative of the concrete approaches of the participating artists, the title of the project refers to the general condition of both countries in the dramatically evolving geopolitical order.