Tomasz Wendland, 3994_Obraz1_005n, C-print, 50x35 cm, 2014

Tomasz Wendland, 3994_Obraz1_005n, C-print, 50x35 cm, 2014

In the dialogue with "the other", we recognize inaccessible areas of our own identity.

The title of the exhibition "Poles - Kutuplar" refers both to the nationality of the artists, participating in the exhibition in Turkey, as well as to the opposite poles; understood both literally - as the geographical poles, as well as figuratively.

By the end of the Cold War, the world was divided into two, actually three poles: the so-called "the First World" (Western Europe, North America and Australia), "the Second World" (Eastern Europe, the Soviet Union, some countries in Latin America). Other countries were called "the Third World". * After the collapse of the Soviet Union, this division lost its raison d'être. Processes of globalization and cultural diffusion accelerated. Although already in 1960, Marshall MacLuhan introduced the concept of global village to the theory of culture, it was the mass availability of the Internet in the 90's that started the multi-directional, but also uncontrolled infiltration of cultures outside the official circuit.

In the search for simplified and universal forms of communication civilization leads to the standardization of culture both visual and verbal, as exemplified by the widespread use of English today called "Lingua Franca". ** Using a narrow vocabulary reduces communication and limits the imagination.

Manuals of modern equipment, refer to the intuition, so that anyone in any culture, could discover their new functions and applications. The dialogue takes place more often with devices (or by means of equipment), than directly with the people. It also affects the formation of language of contemporary art. Aesthetics, which was used by artists of different cultures, blurred traces of linguistic identity. The art is dominated by universal themes, such as terrorism, gender, consumerism, etc., which created a recognizable and global iconography. The rate of penetration of the Internet into our everyday life, mass sharing and processing of images and information, shape the alternate reality - virtual game producers and consumers. The relationship between them is becoming less distinct. Anyone, in any form, may publish any content, but the success is determined by the number of views and "likes".

This actually creative "dis-agreement" is the key to our exhibition entitled "Poles - Kutuplar" which opens at "The Empire Project" in Istanbul.

Presentation of the work of Polish artists is inspired by the Turkish art and culture, or rather by "what we think" that we understand it as. Otherwise - the dialogue would have to be preceded by an "operating manual": the introduction of both the work of Turkish artists as well as its cultural context.

Despite the 600 years of Polish relations with Turkey, the image of Turkey emerges only from fragments of a shared history, a limited knowledge about Islam and random "news" from the present times. It can be so fascinating, then, to create the foundations of dialogue is in the very area of contemporary art.

Using English, a language that is common to us, and at the same time foreign, our exhibition is ambiguously titled the "The Poles" (People of Polish nationality / North / South Pole). Turkish word "Kutuplar" also has both these meanings.

The concept of exhibitions in Istanbul and Poznan is based on the game between the two "poles", whose relations are not obvious. Polish artists prepare their work in relation to the Turkish art - especially for the exhibition in the gallery "The Empire Project"; Turkish artists from Istanbul and Berlin will present their work while in Poland - in the context of the international "4 Mediations Biennale" in Poznan. Both situations are not symmetrical. Face-to-face meetings - confronting artistic attitudes will take place only during the planned joint exhibition in Berlin.

In the post global reality, the "rules of the game" appear in the course of its duration, and they are created by all the participants, shaping its intuitive one-time "manual".

This assumption of a "non-predictable" dialogue, which is a form of "pure non-agreement" may open new fields for interpretation and reveal threads both local and global, becoming a platform for communication, and sometimes for a complete passing by.

After all, then, the poles do not have to lie on two opposite hemispheres.


Tomasz Wendland


* This division was made by a French demographer and sociologist Alfred Sauvy in 1952, referring to a pamphlet from the period of the French Revolution by Father Emmanuel Joseph Sieyès "What is the third Estate?", which, at that time, was represented by 95% of the French population.



**  “…the term lingua franca refers to the widely used languages, which are a means of communication between groups of people speaking various languages; the contemporary example of lingua franca is English” cited after Wikipedia).

Anna Tyczynska, Anna Orlikowska, Artur Malewski, Konrad Jakub Kuzyszyn, Sławomir Sobczak, Tomasz Wendland, Wojciech Leder, Zbigniew Taszycki


20 Jun - 12 Jul 2014