“Manuscripts do not burn.”
The Master and Margarita, M. Bulgakov
Marcel Proust, the greatest novelist of the 20th century, author of the quasi-autobiographical masterpiece “In Search of Lost Time”, described the text using the term “telescope” pointed at his own life. It revealed faraway, obscure, literal and metaphorical elements constituting reality. This specific “telescope” magnified details and discovered their true meanings. It laid bare problems, uncomfortable and painful moments, thanks to which the author was able to accept them, draw conclusions, feel relief and carry on as a better, purified person.
This mechanism of analysing everyday reality is used by young Ukrainian glass artist Ganna Grudnytska. In Proust’s case, the literary text became a structure, space within which the artist analysed himself. For Ganna, the medium are small, prosaic, glass objects and what she creates using them: sometimes surrealist, sometimes compositionally classic installations. They tell a story of a girl who is brave but lost, without roots and attempting to find new territories. A story of a girl confined by daily life but passionately searching for keys to freedom. A girl for whom the object and its physicality become platforms for an analysis and understanding of her own life, own failures and bad decisions. Stories of dreams, fantasies, secrets, truth, fear, defeat and memory. “It is hard for me to begin, so let me start the way some films do: with a story which is out of context, a story which begins suddenly, from a random point in time. The story means nothing for mankind, but almost everything for me. When I think for a while I understand that making these objects is the first conscious attempt to analyse my own experience, an attempt (let me stress that) at a conscious modification and transformation of my life”, says Ganna Grudnytska.
The works we will see at the SiC! BWA Gallery Wrocław are small, sometimes even tiny, hyperrealist glass sculptures showing prosaic elements of the artist’s daily life. Minimalistic and formally pure, they bring to mind the Japanese restraint, even though they often feature expressive elements of pop culture. Ganna assigns them the role of monuments which she erects to honour even the toughest moments in her life, unwilling to forget them. The gesture of embedding objects in glass – a disposable Costa cup, an old Nike trainer or a table imitating her first worksite designed by a friend and perfectly adjusted to her proportions and style of work – lends gravity not as much to the object itself as to the stories associated with it. Silent in the gallery space, they are mysterious structures, specific codes, points on the map which only the artist herself knows and feels, at the same time allowing the viewer to give them new emotional and functional meanings, depending on individual experience.
Referring to Marek Krajewski’s book “On the Sociology of Objects”, the exhibition emphasizes the fact that the artist functions in a full symbiosis with the surrounding material world. Things define and allow her to practise humanity, and in turn her physicality and stories define things. In order to experience ourselves, we gather objects around us which express and define us. Ganna makes sure the relationship is balanced, without any element in the jigsaw puzzle dominating another. In this way, she prevents the emergence of what Krajewski calls the “gloomy side” of the man/object coexistence, when things begin to let us down or become obstacles in our proper functioning. Or is it a result of stripping them of their original identity? Ganna turns paper, wood, steel and plastic into glass, in this way ennobling everyday objects whose usage sooner or later leads to their damage or disposal. Consequently, the objects cannot let her down, preserved in the same form even for thousands of years. However, the artist does not treat them materially, like simple tools by means of which she can control her environment, but rather as parts of herself. They may not meet her physical needs anymore, but they do fulfil her most important emotional and intellectual needs.
In this way, Ganna and her surroundings maintain a balanced relationship. The glass objects are projections of her body and experience resulting from her long-time yoga practice, which has always allowed her to retain control over the most painful “monuments”, including the post-war ones. In contrast to the delicate forms, the exhibition also features asphalt, a material the artist faces like a mirror. It is a reminiscence of her hitch-hiking escapade, back in the time when she left her comfort zone, exposing herself to danger and leaving behind all kinds of habits in order to feel the cathartic moment with all her body, physically balancing between risk and a need for equilibrium. This relationship, life-embracing attitude and harmonious diffusion of the artist’s energy with her surroundings, was captured by both Alicja Kielan, whose photographs are an integral part of the exhibition, and Dmytro Isaienko’s soundtrack. In this way, the exhibition invites us to enter a sensory space which is unobvious, ever-changing, absurd, intimate and precise. Built on inquisitiveness and analysis, leading to harmony and refinement we can only achieve through action.
|Place / venue||SiC! BWA Gallery Wrocław|
|Dates||23 February 2018 – 14 April 2018|
|Curated by||Dominika Drozdowska|
|Index||Dominika Drozdowska Ganna Grudnytska SiC! BWA Gallery Wrocław|