The theme of the second instalment of CALLART – an exhibition series featuring works from the collections of Wrocław Contemporary Museum and the Zachęta Lower Silesian Society for the Encouragement of Fine Arts – is cosmos. The presentation reflects the intrinsic diversity and variety of cosmology as a science investigating not only the origins, but also the evolution and structure of the universe. These issues, however, cannot be reduced solely to research questions in physics or astronomy, as they raise questions about the limits of cognition, time and space, the laws of nature, the existence of life in the cosmos and, ultimately, the place of humans in the universe.

The notion of perspective cuts through the entire presentation. The featured artists examine not only outer space as such, but also the boundaries and relations between the terrestrial and the extraterrestrial. However, even attempts to look at the Blue Planet from the outside, like extraterrestrials might perceive it, are inevitably part of an anthropocentric optic. In the case of astronauts, adopting the point of view of a distant observer supposedly produces a peculiar aesthetic experience accompanied by a sense of the fragility of our planet and conviction of humanity’s shared fate. American writer Frank White calls this experience the overview effect. In his book The Overview Effect – Space Exploration and Human Evolution, the author argues that it is also possible on a smaller scale, e.g. when flying in an aeroplane – and possibly, it can also be mediated by art.