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Poland's vibrant contemporary art and culture at Calvert 22
Wojciech Bakowski, Take a Minute, 2011. Performance. Courtesy Galeria Stereo, Poznan.

LONDON.- The Forgetting of Proper Names is a two-month season that focuses on Poland’s vibrant contemporary art and culture, and which explores the way the past is reshaped over time and reinterpreted as it crosses cultural boundaries.

The main event is an exhibition of three young Polish artists who show for the first time in London: Wojciech Bąkowski (b. 1979), Anna Molska (b. 1983) and Agnieszka Polska (b. 1985). These artists primarily work with the moving image and cross-discipline methods. Hence, there will also be performance, screenings, literary readings and discussion that explore the artist’s innovative engagement with the avant-garde’s history and Poland’s changing social conditions today.

Now in their late twenties and early thirties, Bąkowski, Molska and Polska grew up in post-communist Poland. Although close in age and sharing a use of media and materials, each artist interacts with their subject in individualized and diverse ways.

Wojciech Bąkowski’s animated films record observations of his most immediate and intimate surroundings. Bąkowski, who is perhaps the most prolific and visible member of Poznan’s vibrant art and music community, weaves together video, audio performance, sound and installation.

Anna Molska’s video works are filmed performances. She invites ordinary people, instead of professional actors to be protagonists, allowing for uncertainty and spontaneity. She reconsiders revolutionary thought’s power to cause social change through investigations of the avant-garde visual and political idioms.

Agnieszka Polska’s visually powerful forays into bygone eras or of half-forgotten figures of the Polish avant-garde show how the past is fictionalised and re-worked. Her animated videos juxtapose black and white photographs of performances, and illustrations from old textbooks and magazines, allowing the viewer to enter a false melancholia and to feel a longing for something that perhaps never was.

The Forgetting of Proper Names emphasises the potency of each artist’s visual language, as well as shared sensibility in the re-imagining of historical events, investigations into the relationship between live events and objects, the use of the body as subject within performance, and the use of sound as a narrative tool.

The Forgetting of Proper Names is curated by Lina Džuverović and Dominik Czechowski and is accompanied by an in-depth publication, digital resources, curator and artist gallery talks, and a special performance by Wojciech Bakowski.

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