Rachel Poignant. Generations
3 December 2017 – 18 February 2018
Retrospective – a most suited characterization. And it is not at variance with the term Premiere. It is the first, relatively complete, exhibition that shall encompass about 30 years of the artist's work. The explanation for this unwonted situation is simple: Rachel Poignant dedicated 30 years of her life to working with and on sculpture. She filled her time with work. All of her time. Leaving none for so-called promotion in the form of exhibitions, publications, etc. A case extremely rare.
Anka Ptaszkowska, curator of the exhibition
What connects Rachel Poignant (b. 1986) to Poland is her teacher and mentor, Anka Ptaszkowska. Ptaszkowska, an eminent curator and art critic, works only with outstanding artists. She was the initiator of many unconventional artistic events, which connected the Polish art world with Western Europe. Also this time, Ptaszkowska, convinced of the extraordinary talent of Rachel Poignant, has initiated a Polish-French collaboration. The artist has made several trips around Poland, and in the summer of 2016, a few week long artistic residence at the Centre of Polish Sculpture in Orońsko. Poignant completed a series of sculptures in Orońsko, which, alongside the rich oeuvre of her earlier years, will be presented at the Museum of Sculpture at Królikarnia Palace.
The title of the exhibition refers to both the bygone generations of sculptors well-known to the history of art, of whom Poignant is a symbolic heiress, and to the process of generating works of art, as well as to the subsequent generations of things—the artist’s works. The unusual and abstract objects, dozens of them, even hundreds, fill all the rooms within the gallery of the Museum of Sculpture. The distinctive process through which the sculptures of Rachel Poignant are created is a complex system of activities derived from the traditional foundry workshop—form construction, its modifications, further casting, imprints, copies. The titles of the works, as well as their form, are not born of fantasy, but instead result directly from the applied technology and date of the work’s creation. The names are generated according to a consistently used scheme. For example, RACPA/2016/60x60x4 stands for a low relief of 40 cm in height, 40 cm wide, and 4 cm thick, created in 2016 as a cast from acrylic resin taken from a mold made in paraffin. The abbreviation RACPA stems from the French résine acryligue sur paraffine.
Poignant is an exceptionally industrious artist. Her life revolves around the creation of sculptures; however, the sculptures are not a portrayal of the artist's life. There is no psychology in them, nor anecdote. It is as if they were about something greater and more permanent than a human. The very process of their formation resembles geological phenomena: the shape of the sculpture is a result of the accumulation of layers, cracks, faults, and wrinkling—like the construction of continents under the influence of tectonic plates on the surface of the planet. The materials that the artist utilizes are not durable—entire series of sculptures undergo slow degradation, erosion, atrophy. The material of the sculpture as well as the matter of the earth's crust remains in a process of continuous slow changes.
The sculptures of Rachel Poignant, though abstract and unique, resemble forms we know: shells, stones, cookies or the avant-garde works of the constructivists. They are anachronistic—they do not seem to belong to the time in which they originated, reaching both the remembered past as well as the imagined future. They are reminiscent of remnants of 20th century modernism extracted from the ruins of our world by archaeologists of the civilizations that will come after us. Perchance they carry in them nostalgia for faith lost in the progress made at the beginning of the twentieth century by pioneers of the avant-garde. Today—100 years after the manifestos of the futurists and constructivists—catastrophe is becoming an ever stronger figure of the future.
Exhibition curator: Anka Ptaszkowska
Graphic design: Magdalena Frankowska, Artur Frankowski / Fontarte
Events accompanying the exhibition:
Honorary Patronage — The French Ambassador to Poland Pierre Lévy
Partner of the Exhibition — French Institute in Poland