Agnieszka Brzeżańska / World National Park
“World National Park” sure is a catchy phrase, but ? World as in the entire planet? The cities, highways, and airports, too? And the farmland, the war zones, the environmental disaster? And why national? Seems like the author is planning to conquer the whole World by one of its nations, or perhaps to unify all its Peoples under a single cosmic banner?
Agnieszka Brzeżańska, a painter, conceptual artist, ceramist, performer, video artist active on the international art scene for well over two decades, but still remaining relatively little-known in Poland. The exhibition at Królikarnia aims to fill that gap and present Brzeżańska’s artistic and intellectual journeys, from the late 1990s until today. Next to her most recent works, one will also have the opportunity to see her images of horses and sunsets from times when she was still at school in Gdańsk, Warsaw, and Tokyo.
Before she engages in artistic creation, Brzeżańska usually conducts a theoretical research of the sources, and her interests have a very broad range: from archaeology to futurology, from botany and evolutionism to esoterism and Eastern philosophy systems
Radical as they may seem, the artist’s views are never expressed in absolute seriousness. Capitalism, the climate crisis, or the accelerating development of AI are to Brzeżańska hostile forces, posing a threat to the organic life on Earth. And so she undertakes to save the planet, chanting ecological mantras and painting magic spells in graphic form.
Sometimes her theoretical studies change into personal engagement in the practices of different cultures and traditions. Brzeżańska paints batiks in Java, makes pottery over live fire in the Japanese island of Kyushu, she picks mushrooms and collects herbs in a meadow near the town of Mława, produces Jaccard fabrics in a textile factory in Łódź, and ceramic tiles at a workshop of the old School of Crafts on Łysa Góra. For the purpose of the exhibition, the artist commissioned a traditional double warp fabric with master weaver Ludgarda Sieńko from Janów. The exhibition is a collection of beautiful objects made both in classical artistic techniques, and with the use of methods elaborated in different traditions from different locations in the world.
The viewers decide themselves how they want to react to the artist’s works: to contemplate a prognosed catastrophe or to laugh at her jokes and their own confusion. One is never really sure whether the paintings or display are capably painted abstractions or rather portraits of mysterious beings, plants and spirits inhabiting the whole World.
Agnieszka Brzeżańska (born in 1972 in Gdańsk)
She studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdańsk (1992–1995) and later in Warsaw (1995– 1997), as well as at the Tokyo University of Fine Arts and Music (1998–2001). Received scholarships from the DAAD (Berlin, 2008–2009), the Collegium Helveticum (Zurich/ETH, 2004), the Büchsenhausen (Innsbruck, 2005), and the Japanese government (1998–2001, Tokyo). Her oeuvre includes painting, drawing, photography, film, and ceramics. In her practice, she draws on different registers of knowledge, from physics and philosophy, to cognitive systems marginalized by contemporary science, such as alchemy, parapsychology, esoterism, indigenous knowledge or matriarchal traditions.
Her works have been presented in numerous solo exhibitions, such as “Cała Ziemia parkiem narodowym” at Gdańska Galeria Miejska (Gdańsk, 2018), “Matrix-Sratrix,” Kasia Michalski (Warszawa, 2016), “Ma Terra,” Vera Munro (Hamburg, 2015–2016), “This All Occurs Quickly, With Ease, Grace and Joy,” Marlborough Contemporary (London, 2015), “Motherland/ Ma terra,” Contemporary Museum Wrocław (Wrocław, 2014), “Kobayashi Maru,” Nanzuka (Tokyo, 2014), as well as Bonniers Konsthal (2019), A Painting Cycle, Nomas Foundation, Rome (2012); Back to the Garden, Galerie Kamem, Berlin (2012); Cosmic Equation, Kunsthaus Baselland, Basel (2010). In 2018, she was one of the few Polish artis participating in the Berlin Biennale. During the Warsaw Gallery Weekend (2018) she was awarded the prize of the ING Polish Art Foundation.
Curator: Agnieszka Tarasiuk
Curatorial cooperation: Romuald Demidenko
Production: Julia Kern