“All you need to make a movie is a girl and a gun” – this famous bon mot by Jean-Luc Godard provided an impulse for the Austrian virtuoso of the found-footage technique, Gustav Deutsch, to create a film screened in the intimate cinema hall of the House of the Colonels. According to the director, two grand themes: sex and violence, have ruled the history of cinema since its very beginning. Deutsch’s film abounds in images that depict the war of the sexes and the destructive force of drives and power. The woman is represented here as nude and debauched, submissive and tamed, passive and hysterical, whereas masculinity is defined by aggression, imperiousness and physical strength. Building on Godard’s thought, the exhibition “The House of the Colonels. A Girl and a Gun” demonstrates the presence of the same themes addressed in a perverse way by the invited artists.
The oppressive colonial architecture of the House of the Colonels became a departure point for a more profound reflection on the categories of domination and submissiveness, which resonate both in the architectural vision of the building and in selected works by such artists as Rafał Bujnowski, Miriam Cahn, Celina Kanunnikava and Jadwiga Sawicka. The same categories appear in works by the classic artist Bruno Schulz, who uses them to describe the primeval sexual force that combines suffering and bliss. In an obsessive or nearly perverse way, Schulz depicts a dialectic of entanglement and determination in relations between men and women. A similar atmosphere is evoked by films by Santiago Sierra. However, apart from domination in the sphere of the sexes, they also address the problem of race and immigration. Other artists discern the problem of domination and submissiveness in political, racial and ethnic (in)correctness (Dr Lakra, Konrad Kwasek, Santiago Sierra, Grzegorz Sztwiertnia).
The exhibition “The House of the Colonels. A Girl and a Gun” explores and challenges the fluid borders between the appropriate and the inappropriate, the civilised and the barbarian, the “high-brow” and the “popular.” In a certain way, barbarians are represented in the exhibition by outsider artists Władysław Grygny and Iwona Mysera, who develop their own language (Gr. Barbarophonoi, or those who say “bar-bar” – utter incomprehensible sounds). The Western European definition of unprofessional art is founded on a colonising notion of the “Other,” who delights the connoisseur of high-brow art with his “untamed imagination” and “freshness of perspective.” It is also eagerly appropriated by mainstream art, for instance within the contemporary strategies of appropriation art (collaboration between Paweł Althamer and Youssouf Dara documented by the performer Daria Giwer). The sound work by the Swedish artist Marie Fahlin (who borrows from practices used amongst people with speech disorders) directly addresses the conventions of obedience and domination in situations of conflict, for instance between a human being and an animal (relation between a man and a horse) or between an artist and an institution.
Bondage, discipline, domination, submission – BDSM – are terms that serve to describe the techniques and forms of behaviour in specific situations, usually of sexual nature. The same categories govern interpersonal relations on a much broader and more profound level every time when differences and contrasts build a tension – exciting and attractive, but also destructive. The exhibition “The House of the Colonels. A Girl and a Gun” does not focus on social injustice or gender and racial discrimination, it is not a treatise on political correctness. Instead, it investigates the border of the appropriate and the inappropriate as well as searches for tensions and clashes that govern and determine human life in the postcolonial world of oppression and violence.
|Artist||Rafał Bujnowski, Gustav Deutsch, Marie Fahlin, Celina Kanunnikava, Miriam Cahn, Youssouf Dara feat Paweł Althamer i Daria Giwer, Dr. Lakra, Władysław Grygny, Konrad Kwasek, Iwona Mysera, Jadwiga Sawicka, Bruno Schulz, Santiago Sierra, Grzegorz Sztwiertnia|
|Exhibition||The House of the Colonels. A Girl and a Gun|
|Place / venue||La Casa de los Coroneles. La Oliva, Fuerteventura|
|Dates||10 March – 9 June 2018|
|Curated by||Katarzyna Karwańska|
|Index||Bruno Schulz Celina Kanunnikava Dr. Lakra Grzegorz Sztwiertnia Gustav Deutsch Iwona Mysera Jadwiga Sawicka Konrad Kwasek La Casa de los Coroneles Marie Fahlin Miriam Cahn Rafał Bujnowski Santiago Sierra Władysław Grygny Youssouf Dara feat Paweł Althamer i Daria Giwer|