press release

venue: Ludwik Grohman Villa, Lodz

"roads of the world, we follow you. authority over all the signs of the earth. O traveller in the yellow wind, lust of the soul!" ...with these words French poet, Saint-John Perse concludes his poem "Anabasis" (1924). It is with this poem which depicts "the earth given over to explanations" Saint-John Perse, according to Alain Badiou, perceived the century's epic dimension. It is there where the notion of "anabasis" receives its most profound – contemporary – meaning. Originally the Greek term "anabasis" referred to a narrative by Greek soldier and writer, Xenophon entitled "Anabasis" which depicted an expedition of a troop of Greek mercenaries from a coastline up into the interior of a country. For Badiou, "Anabasis" is the name for the "homeward" movement, the movement of lost men, out of place and outside the law and as such, it may serve as a possible support for a meditation on our century (meaning XXth century).

As an integral part of the Festival the Dialogue of Four Cultures, which this year is programmed around the issues related to the notion of TERRITORY, the exhibition "Anabasis. Rituals of Homecoming" considers various dimensions of homecoming – between intimacy and public exposure, interiority and a monument, personal and collective mythologies.

Partly homage to a city of a wounded fabric, this exhibition is a reflection upon a situation that generated an impossibility of homecoming. As a stage for a mental quasi-reenactment of Odysseus's return to Ithaca, Lodz - a modern city of a future, another attempt of utopia, 'promised land' - appears as both a void of no integral identity and a receptacle of failed in-placements and constant displacements, a matrix of failure, indeed.

"Anabasis. Rituals of Homecoming" has been choreographed as a set of tentative chapters: contemplation of a home, home as a process, belonging to a place, fate of place (a residue and a site of transformation), impossible homecoming and a trauma of displacement, performing nostalgia and longing, ruin and the architecture of memory, childhood rites and the ethics of labor, reenactments of personal memory. They operate as mirrors reflecting back the individual and the collective, the political and the private, overlapping singular biographies and pages of history, along the curved lines of the past and the present. All invited to this exhibition artists perform a tension that on the one hand alludes to the inner voyage of Andrey Tarkovsky's "Mirror" (a fetishisation of home and necessity of inner exile) and on the other, it echoes an ironic and decadent study of nostalgia and the subject's deconstruction in Jean-Luc Godard's "Le Mepris" with its ironic reenactment of Odyssey as yet another potentiality and symbolic of the archetypal theme of homecoming. As a collection of rituals, this exhibition is an exercise in distancing and proximity, on the way to delineate a psychological space of estrangement and familiarity.

"Anabasis. Rituals of Homecoming" takes place in charming interiors of the late 19th century villa of German industrialist, Ludwik Grohman, one of Lodz's first luxury residencies that proved a high economic prosperity of a town around the turn of the centuries. A special part of the exhibition, including a unique set of Andrei Tarkovsky's polaroids ("Instant Light") has been staged in located nearby villa of Henryk Grohman (built in 1892), with eclectic interiors, referring, amongst others, to Viennese Secession, partly and most likely designed by Otto Wagner, now becoming a home of Art Book Museum, with an exceptional collection of art books, and a unique atelier with old printing machines.

The extended vernissage (September 5/6) includes performances (Mathilde Rosier, Danilczyk/Krakowska, Kriemann/Roelstraete), late-night screenings (Lockhart, Tarkovsky, Godard), and talks (roundtable with the artists as well as the conversation with Andrey A. Tarkovsky, the son of the director). The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue with a rich visual material (including exhibition's installation shots) and essays by Suzanna Milevska, Mieke Bal, Dieter Roelstraete, Krystian Woznicki, Alain Badiou, Doreen Massey, Adam Budak, Kaja Pawelek, Tomasz Majewski, Jaroslaw Lubiak.