Emoticon. Robert Rumas / Piotr Wyrzykowski

The Emoticon exhibition, consisting of works by Robert Rumas and Piotr Wyrzykowski, is a summing-up of a journey the artists made at the beginning of 2011 to European countries. They visited Ukraine, Turkey, Romania and Georgia in search of emotions in geographically, culturally and aesthetically different places. The artist, as if they were travel documentary makers, traced, with no concrete script, places and histories giving the journey a sociological and anthropological dimension.

The word “emoticon” is a combination of two words „emotion” and „console”, where “console” (keybord, screen) is the carrier of emotions transmitted in the text. Emoticon itself was created at the end of the 19th century. The word used nowadays refers to digital symbols, signs representing emotions and moods of the author of a text (text message, e-mail, etc) connected with contemporary extra-verbal communication. The signs are symbols of a simplified human face, use mental and graphic association as a carrier of emotional load. The artists associated the function of an emoticon with a function that used to be typical of a peepshow (pol. fotoplastykon) – a device used for presentation of singular photos where new images were put in front of the viewfinder every few seconds by means of the imbedded mechanism. According to the artists, peepshow also accumulated emotions recorded on the presented images. The device used the technology of stereoscopic photography which, thanks to two photos taken from different perspective creates an illusion of three-dimensional space. Peepshows were one of the elements of the nineteenth-century visual culture consisting of magic lantern shows, moving panoramas and later – kinetoscope and cinematograph.

This reference to film is not accidental in the context of the exhibition: the artists, considering the arrangement of the exhibition, looked at gallery rooms from a bird-eye view, thanks to which they saw rooms as frames of celluloid film. As a result, each room is a separate narrative whole, but all of them viewed together will become edited audio-visual material. Despite the fact that the structure of the exhibition forms an enfilade of rooms, it will not possess the features of linear narration. On the contrary, it is built on the contrast of meanings, emotions and temperatures.

Following the example of the old masters of photography, whose works were used in peepshows, who organized trips to far away lands, took care of current, chronicle documentation of events, Rumas and Wyrzykowski visited the selected places located on verges of cultures and civilizations, remaining true to all marginal civilization issues. Their assumption was to create an exhibition that, by means of the photos taken, sound files recorded, films shot and objects will be a vehicle of these emotions and moods gathered, but also those awakening: surprising to both the authors and the recipients.

The journey of the artists was organized, among others, courtesy of Turkish Embassy in Poland.

Robert Rumas (b. 1966) – visual artist and curator, associated with the current of critical art.; a graduate of Gdańsk Academy of Fine Arts; co-founder of Wyspa Gallery in Gdańsk. He creates installations, performances and actions in public space. His works use objects of religious cult, placing them in a non-religious context. His most famous projects include Termofory X 8 (Waterbottles X 8) and Manewry miejskie (City Maneouvers).
Simultaneously to his artistic works he has been organizing space and set design in multimedia and theatre performances since 2004. He cooperates with theatres and the Opera in Wrocław, as well as with Stary Theatre in Cracow, Wybrzeże Theatre in Gdańsk and with Opera and Teatr Narodowy in Warsaw. His works can be found, among others, at Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź.
He lives and works in Gdańsk.

Piotr Wyrzykowski (b. 1968) – contemporary artist, performer; in his works he uses video film, video performance, the Internet, installations, video screenings in public space.
He studied interior design (1989-1991) and painting (1991-1995) at Intermedia Workshop of prof. W. Czerwonka at PWSSP (Academy of Fine Arts) in Gdańsk. In the 1990s he actively participated in the activities of Gdańsk artistic circles as a member of Active People Association (1991-1992) running the C-14 gallery, a member of the Otwarta Gallery Foundation (1992-1993) running City Baths, vice-president of the Wyspa Progress Foundation (1993-1995). He was an artistic co-founder of the CUKT (Centralny Urząd Kultury Technicznej – Central Office of Technical Culture) group. In 1995 he received the first, and in 1997 the second prize at WRO festival. Nominated to the "Spojrzenia" award by Deutsche Bank Culture Foundation in 2003. His works can be found in many international collections such as MoMA and Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź.
He lives and works in Gdańsk.

Curator: Maria Morzuch

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