Heading South is an exhibition that marks the culmination of a semester-long International Studio at AFA Katowice entitled ‘Looking and Re-looking: Hybrid Processes and the Nature of the Encounter’ by Martin Newth.
Space: Common Space, Academy of Fine Arts in Katowice
Time: 24/30 May, 2019
Curator: Martin Newth
Content: Heading South is an exhibition that marks the culmination of a semester-long International Studio entitled ‘Looking and Re-looking: Hybrid Processes and the Nature of the Encounter’. Experimental use of technologies (bothnew and old) and an analysis of the process of production have formed the focus of our discussions since early March 2019. The group of 9 artists have developed new work and collaborated on every aspect of this exhibition. Its title Heading South implies more than one meaning. The geographic nature of the term acknowledges a common concern, where the camera has performed the function of a roaming eye, charting terrain and exploring relationships between body, landscape and memory. In the work exhibited here, the act of mapping is more than a cartographer’s overview. It is distinguished by an immersion in landscape and a motivation to deeply connect with the atmosphere or mood that is characteristic of the specific nature of post-industrial Silesia. And it is this prevailing aesthetic, that is the other aspect towards which the title points. According to the Farflex Free Dictionary to ‘Head South’ is an idiom that has three definitions: 1, To escape; to vanish or disappear. 2, To fall or drop; to depreciate; to lose quality or value. 3, To cease working or functioning; to quit, fail or fall apart. These descriptions seem to capture something of the atmosphere in the work and something of the nature of the particular landscapes on which the artistshave chosen to draw our attention. When I asked the group about the political motivations behind an exploration of this kind of subject matter, it was pointed out to me that it wasn’t so much political as a ‘Silesian mood’, something more deeply rooted inthe experience of growing up at this particular point in history in this particular part of Europe.
A further aspect that the exhibition explores is the nature of the encounter with the work of art. Here we return to the act of navigation. The encounter with this exhibition is one where the viewer is encouraged to explore. The set-up emphasises the physical nature of the work and the visceral impact of sound, image and material. Most of the images we encounter on a day-to-day basis ask to be read from the surface of screens, but here, the works encourages a more physical, perhapsbodily, material engagement. So ‘Heading South’, in spite of its self-deprecating connotations, provides an evocative experience that is as uplifting as it is absorbing.
Artists: Karolina Fabia, Karolina Gwozdz, Janina Janicka-Grabowska, Magdalena Lacek, Jakub Padula, Klaudia Pisarek, Aleksandra Rajnisz-Podlaska, Magdalena Sendek, Konstanty Stanczyk
Poster: Klaudia Pisarek & Aleksandra Rajnisz-Podlaska
Film by Magdalena Grunwald, 2019