Marek Chlanda. A Study of Obedience
ms1, Więckowskiego 36
Opening of the exhibition: June 28, 2019, Friday, at 6:00 pm
Marek Chlanda has never belonged to those artists who create unambiguously political or critical works. Nor has he engaged in any political movements. His distanced and ironic perspective towards the surrounding reality, both socio-political and the one concerning the world of art, however, has not been left without an impact on his projects. Yet, this separateness, in fact, presents problems with the classification of Chlanda's artwork according to the traditional genres of art. Drawings, sculptures, objects - Marek Chlanda's works escape these unambiguous categories.
"Since sculpture lacks vitality, in other words - that sense of meeting of bodies, perhaps it could be resolved by the simultaneous act of reviving sculpture and sculpturing movement" - said Marek Chlanda about his choreographic experiment during the performance Buenos Dias. On some other occasion, the artist explained that a drawing is based on two basic phenomena: motion and time, and the basic material that an artist works with: his or her own body. In Chlanda’s realizations the elements of space combine with the movement of the viewer and their physical presence. That is why, especially from today's perspective, it would be natural to describe his work refering to performative arts or choreography.
The artistic practice of Chlanda is a continuous research process, based on wandering, erring and finally fully identifying the forms of life with the forms of art. What becomes the very subject of examination is the artist himself and his own corporality, as well as the relations between the objects arising within and from the space.
The starting point of the exhibition was one of the artist's latest projects, called A Study of Obedience (2018). The work was created in Nowa Huta, at the time of dismantling The School of Utopia, a project which was half the exhibition, half the theatre, realized in the spaces of the abandoned wing of the former Technical-Secondary Electrical School. The Study was created in a way as a side effect of The School of Utopia moving out. The installation appeared in the space of one of the school classrooms, practically without viewers.
A Study of Obedience is made up of a labyrinth forming maze-shaped roadways woven into fragmentary choreographic figures. Five-core cable - the basis of their construction - is flexible and sensitive to deformation. Sometimes it springs up and then each of the figures determines its form and position. Marek Chlanda allows the figures to have some freedom. He gives them the potential of movement, in which they embody the composition of space and the relationships existing within it.
The labyrinth of A Study of Obedience consisted of the remains of Drawing Locations, projects often created at random spaces (vacant or private apartments) since the early 1980s. The artist would make use of the existing architectural structures and create multi-layered and multidimensional works which became part of the space to such an extent that they were being gradually destroyed as the places themselves were undergoing destruction. Their presence in museums or galleries often constituted a kind of compromise between a privately realized and continuous process, and an external one, resulting from the logic of the art world, whose main aim is to popularize art. A Study carries fragments of Chlanda's works which bear historical traces of their path: stamps of museums and institutions in which they were once present, customs or transport clearance signs . These scraps of their old life build an additional space of the maze, which is the context and centre-stage of the choreography created by Chlanda.
The exhibition of Marek Chlanda, an artist whose work in various ways is associated with the history of Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź, revolved around the topics set by A Study of Obedience. It combined historical elements with contemporary ones. It followed the artist and his research processes. It examined the maps he has left, sketchbooks, traffic records, and traces of gestures. It opened to his sensual and intuitive associations. It looked for traces of choreographic strategies within different families of works. It referred to the assembly tools rather than thoughts about the composition of space and chronology.
The exhibition was accompanied by a publication that offered a complementary narrative of the exhibition through the texts of Piotr Graczyk, Katarzyna Słoboda, and Magdalena Kownacka, who analyzed the individual ideas and threads, present both in A Study of Obedience and other projects by Marek Chlanda that have been being created from the 1970s to the present day.