(Archi)tectonic Movements

22-06 - 28-07-2019

Time is movement recorded in space. All things have always been marked by change. Every gallery space deprived of artistic activities is nothing but a dead, architectonic arrangement of white walls. A creative act is required to bring it to life. Katarzyna Szymkiewicz, like a spiritus movens, will subject the Shefter Gallery space to singular tectonic movements. As the artist’s activities are characterized by conducting a distinct dialogue with exhibition spaces, which, on every occasion, she subjects to a metamorphosis. She is directed by her awareness of space as an artistic material. 
Just as the movement of the tectonic plates is the Earth’s secret rhythm, the artist, by a de-realization of an extant architectonic arrangement, will endow the Shefter Gallery with a novel shape.

In Brian O’Doherty’s already iconic “textbook” Inside the White Cube: The Ideology of the Gallery Space, the white cube of the gallery is an ideal and sterile space, a transparent membrane, on which – mechanically and symbolically – successive layers are superimposed. On the other hand, according to Rosalind Krauss, the specificity of the exhibition room consists chiefly in the fact that everything that is not a part of it functions outside art. Katarzyna Szymkiewicz’s exhibition is a site-specific project. The artist transforms the original landscape of the gallery and establishes in it a new architectonic order, which breaks with the conventional idea of exhibition sites as spaces that merely “lend” their walls. This time it will not be a change of the display, but one of the gallery space and its architectonic layout. Katarzyna Szymkiewicz builds the Shefter Gallery anew.

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In the artist’s own words, Katarzyna Szymkiewicz’s previous exhibitions have been a freeze frame of the momentarily suspended creative process – what we saw was decided by time and space, which determined the layout and the artistic activities. The same goes for the exhibited works: they were often elements previously used and “moving on”, as in the system of returnable bottles. So the factor of the memory of those objects was important as an act of using and showing elements subject to a form of reincarnation. What makes this exhibition different is not only the materials used, but also the fact that these elements were made especially for the show, reinventing the interiors of the Shefter Gallery. Who knows, maybe their journey will also continue.

Young tectonic movements and the related seismic shocks are among the most important issues in geology. The unpredictability of these phenomena is fascinating. On the scale of a human lifetime, however, these displacements are completely imperceptible. It will take hundreds of years for these changes to be measurable, and thousands of years for them to be noticeable. It is these transformations in the Earth’s crust that have served as the inspiration for Katarzyna Szymkiewicz’s exhibition. Although we don’t think about it on a daily basis, the Earth pulsates with its own inner rhythm, and the tectonic movements alter it in long-term processes but also cause sudden events, such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions

Through artistic activities, the gallery space is also subject to constant transformation. The changes made to the gallery, such as additional walls, cracks, undulations and newly created forms, are analogies to the structural transformations of our planet. Constant change, being in process, is in fact the meaning of life, including artistic life. In a purely abstract, minimalist and resolute manner, Katarzyna Szymkiewicz subjects the space of the Shefter Gallery to transformation. She uses scale and tension to introduce new rhythms and change the familiar aspect of these rooms.

(Agnieszka Gołębiewska)


The exhibition is a part of the 29th Jewish Culture Festival in Krakow.
This year’s edition of the JCF is dedicated to the Earth. Detailed information about the program of JCF on:

Curator: Agnieszka Gołębiewska
Technical coordinator: Marek Adamiecki
Photograph: Anna Stankiewicz
Opening: 22 June, 4 p.m.

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