ZUPÄ is an exhibition that marks the culmination common exchange project and art residency at AFA Katowice and Valand Academy.
Space: Rotor Gallery, Gothenburg
Time: February, 2019
Content: In 2018, at our we had the pleasure of hosting students from Valand, which obviously led to spending some time together.The first opportunity to do so came in the form of a trip to a number of Silesian post-industrial structures. What attracted my attention straight away was how we communicated with each other, as for some of us the language was a barrier, which luckily enoughwas overcome quite quickly. However, after a few initial conversations it became clear that the main topic was how different our Academies were and what suited us better. In the beginning, everybody was arguing their point a bit, but I was able to see whatwe could learn from our friends from the North. I came to the conclusion that what we missed was, the project approach and a different way of talking about our works. Being an individualistin art is no obstacle to confronting your ideas and sharing observations in a group. In February 2019 a group of 6 students went to Gothenburg in Sweden. They went there to create a collective exhibition, start, breath fresh air, eat masses of liquorice, cinnamon rolls, spicedherrings, tubed cheese and compare the products with those sold by IKEA in Poland. As a person brought up at the Swedish kindergarten Smalandia at the Katowice IKEA I have become an expert in eating Swedish rolls, squeezing cheese out of a tube right intomy mouth and plaiting braids with a wire, Pippi Longstocking’s style. The conversations at the table resulted in the ZUPÄ (Polish term for soup) exhibition, whose plan was not fully known to us. It had just one, simple principle – interaction. Making maybe easy, quick and pleasant, and the final effect substantial and satisfying. It may also happen that the broth, bubbling for 8 hours will finally boil and get sour the moment you lower your guards. Our eight-hour watch at the pot will end in flushing a fewlitres of bouillon down a toilet. It may also happen that the carrots from the broth will block the toilet and apart from feeling hungry and disappointed we will end up paying for 24/7 plumbing services. We might as well remain vigilant and not leave the potfor 8 hours, observing every little bubble, and all the our soup will be spoilt by an unexpected storm. Coming into terms with our failure and getting rid of the soup has also a positive aspect. By accepting the sour fact and flushing the brothaway, instead of making sauerkraut soup from it, we may save the taste buds and stomachs, ours and our guests’. Just like Polish, Swedish cuisine is rich in soups. Soups help survive winter failures of the heating system, all diseases of the world and a hangover. The Polish-Swedish soup was made very quickly, spontaneously and in a stormy fashion. Our lungs, accustomedto the Katowice smog could not bear the excess of fresh air and failed us. We came down with an infection of the upper respiratory tract but were too squeamish to burn some tyres and unblock our bronchi. We resorted to what was at hand – usingup the reserves of, biting on ginger, eating bags of lemons – all these to finally make our soup. The time for its production was limited and each of us had a different idea of the dish. It was important to achieve harmony so that it was not one-dimensionaland would question its own ingredients. A chicken-flavoured VIFON poured with hot water will also satisfy our hunger and warm us up, we will even feel the taste of, produced by combining palm fat with E 551 and E 306. We will taste the Orient with a tone of Polish but will end up with a strange aftertaste in the mouth and a scorched stomach. This was what we wanted to avoid. Discussions, constructive criticism, different experience resulting from different educational models turned out to be propercomponents. Our acquired habit of preparing soup at least a few months beforehand was abandoned for action. We threw everything into one pot, boiled it and seasoned with a drop of service-berry brandy and quince vodka, snacking on Swedish saltand vinegar crisps.
The observation of the Swedish educational model, with its focus on theoretical classes, discussions on projects, artistic criticism, the division between a week of intensive work and a few days free from classes allowed us to see such a product as an exhibition in a different light. ZUPÄ (Polish for soup) was not a typical exhibition, probably it was one at all. It was an attempt at quick and spontaneous cooperation, combiningtwo different systems – Polish and Swedish. The taste of the soup depends on the people making it, so it is always different.
Artists: Emely Hansson, Stephanie Johansson, Jakub Kazimierczak, Karolina Konopka, Zlata Labedz, Magdalena Lacek, Gloria López-Cleries, Johanna Oskarsson, Alexandra Papademetriou, Emanuela Pawlowska, Beate Persdotter Loken, Rasmus Richter, Magdalena Sendek, Åke Sjoberg, Kolbrun Inga Soring, Alexander Stevenson
Text: Karolina Konopka & Magdalena Lacek
Photo: Pawel Mendrek