DON’T LOOK BACK [competition exhibition of the Wrocław Drawing Triennial 2022]
Opening: 7 April 2022 (Thursday), 6.00 pm
The title of this year’s Drawing Triennial competition was chosen for its relevance as well as its capacity and multifaceted nature. It gives the participating artists the opportunity to explore various contexts and meanings, references to ancient and recent history, pandemic reality, new and old orders, culture, pop culture, religion, politics, and to take up personal issues. Among the works presented at the Wrocław Contemporary Museum, which are extremely varied not only in terms of the way of thinking about the medium, but above all on the level of meaning, three main issues stand out. These are: the past, the present and the future, which in this case are a kind of vectors without a clear direction and course, along which, in a non-linear way, the artists move.
In this context it is impossible not to take into account the location of the exhibition – once an anti-aircraft bunker, today the seat of the Wrocław Contemporary Museum, which is a silent testimony to the complicated history and identity of Wrocław. Thus, by looking at the most current artistic practices, we explore not only the potential of drawing as a medium immersed in and creating the present, but most importantly we look at artists’ attitudes towards what will be, is and was.
It takes a certain amount of determination and ruthlessness to not look back. This raises some questions as to whether it is at all possible to actually, truly and fully reject the past and – thus – part of one’s identity? This seems to be a kind of historical negationism in the context not so much of historical events, but in anthropological terms, it means rejecting the role of upbringing and society in the processes of formation of personality and collectivity in general. It is impossible to move only forward without acknowledging a part of yourself. The impossibility of gaining complete autonomy from the past is one of several perspectives adopted by the artists – on the other side, however, stand those who affirm the past, believing that recognition and critical self-reflection provide a substrate for awareness, positioning oneself in reality and taking actions that affect the future.
As if naturally, the most numerous works at the exhibition are those that can be understood as a kind of existential product, a product of the process of living, referring to the present, to the reality currently being lived or just experienced, serving as a kind of commentary to it, sometimes expressing disagreement with it, entering into a discourse with reality or even actively opposing it. The artists, moving in the area of broadly defined drawing, undertake a struggle for power, the possibility of shaping reality, self-assertion in reality.
Although the works presented at the exhibition represent varied artistic strategies, they are always reflections of the present, distorted by personal experience, images of a specific, highly individualized, personal perception of reality.
The future, invariably unknown, nevertheless in its inevitability has an inexhaustible speculative potential, the space between the probable and the unreal is infinite. The future, according to the artists taking part in the exhibition, is closer to Mrożek’s words that “tomorrow is today, only tomorrow”, so one should look at it without excessive optimism, especially if one has a rather critical attitude to reality. Ironically, the works presented at the exhibition, which take up various topics related to the future, can evoke a sentimental sigh that “it didn’t use to be like that” and provoke an urge to look back.
More at: trwro.pl
Organizer: The Eugeniusz Geppert Academy of Art and Design in Wrocław
Co-organizer: Wrocław Contemporary Museum
Co-financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage
Curator Patrycja Sap
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