U-jazdowski, Warsaw

Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art | ul. Jazdów 2
00-467 Warsaw

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artist / participant

press release

The exhibition of Anna Konik summarizes an important stage in her artistic practice, above all with video. The artist combines the aesthetics of audio-visual media with the spatial form of an installation, in which the dynamic presence of the viewer gives the works a transformational dimension and personalizes its reception.

Four video installations by Anna Konik are shown in the exhibition: In the same city, under the same sky..., Villa of the Enchanted, Play Back (of Irene), as well as Our Lady's Forever. Other works, such as Toys and Transparency will find their representation in the form of spatial models, sculptural props, and documentation. The context for these projects includes never seen before video footage, which complement them, serving as stage directions, but also the student works of Konik, her drawings and photographs.

The specificity of Konik's artistic creativity has its core in the proces of introducing separate discourses into the video space, mainly sculptural, performative, film and scientific. Working with video allowed Konik to achieve richer and more comprehensive realization of topics that interest her as an artist, and the form of video installations allows for "sculpting space" during the final arrangement of the works in their place of presentation. Pivotal in her works is the "spatial montage," performed during the viewer's movements inside the space of the video installation. It is at this time, in the viewer's perception, when the individual process of combining visual structures, rhythm, sound, and text occurs.

Man is at the heart of Anna Konik's research—almost all of her works are an "investigation" into the Other, which arise as a consequence of meeting people. Assuming the perspective of subjective experiences, the artist transfers them to the social dimension, and the recipient is confronted not only with an individual history, but also with the real problems of the contemporary world.

For Anna Konik, art is a sensitive cognitive instrument, through which she communicates to recipients what for her was most significant in the work on successive realizations. The fringes of society prevail in the interests of Anna Konik. Most often these fringes consist of the alienated, the excluded, and the lonely. Konik maneuvers through them with the empathy of a careful observer.

The opening video installation In the same city, under the same sky... is dedicated to the theme of refugees. This work in progress (2011–15) is presented for the the first time on such a large scale. In its current shape it consits of 35 film episodes produced in Stockholm, Białystok, Bucharest, Istanbul and Nantes. In ghettos and centers for refugees Anna found women touched by horror of armed conflicts and racial oppression from many countries: Chechnya, Ingushetia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Congo, Nigeria and Cameroon. 35 women told the artist their stories, which have been recaptured in front of the camera by Swedish, Polish, Romanian, Turkish and French women living in the centres of mentioned citites, who at the request of artist incorporated themselves in the role of refugees, giving them faces and voices.

As part of the events accompanying the exhibition of Anna Konik are a series of lectures, given by, amongst others, Professors Bernhard Waldenfels and Holk Cruse. Transdisciplinarity, the cooperation of specialists from various fields of contemporary culture is one of the main objectives of the activity of the prestigious Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, which is not only the content partner of the exhibition, but also from whom the artist received a scholarship in 2008/2009.

The exhibition is accompanied by two publications: a Polish-English catalog, with texts by Waldemar Baraniewski, Holk Cruse, Judy Fudge, Marcin Giżycki, Patrick Harries, Ewa Gorządek, Ryszard W. Kluszczyński, and Bernhard Waldenfels as well as an English version of 35 histories of immigrants and refugees, told by the protagonist of the work In the same city, under the same sky..., with texts by Judy Fudge, Susanne Stich, and Anna Konik.

Anna Konik 's work includes video installations, objects, video art, photography, and drawings. The artist lives and works in Berlin, Warsaw, and Dobrodzień. She studied in the Faculty of Sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw in the studios of Krzysztof M. Bednarski and Professor Grzegorz Kowalski, wherein she defended her thesis in 2000. In 2012, Konik received the title of Doctor of Arts at the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts from the Faculty of Media Art and Stage Design. In 2009, she was nominated for two major awards for young Polish artists: the Deutsche Bank's Views award and the Polityka Passport award. In the same year, she was invited by Professor Horst Bredekamp, as the first visual artist, to became Rudolf Arnheim Associate Professor in the Art History Department, Humboldt University in Berlin.