press release

Fondazione Galleria Civica is pleased to present the first solo exhibition of the Polish artist Robert Kuśmirowski (Łódź, Poland 1973) in an Italian public art institution.

Robert Kuśmirowski creates meticulous simulations of historical settings, where the artist's mastery combines, on the conceptual level, with his deep thoughts on our experience of reality and history, and of the role of memory and imagination in the definition of this experience. Kuśmirowski's art practice is the result of a careful preparatory survey of documentation, followed by a conscious sensory emphasis on the source documents. Kuśmirowski environmental installations, conforming to reality and strongly utopian at the same time, are out-and-out time crossings where the artist brings the audience. They are reconstructions of hybrid places, match points between the authentic and the copy, middle earths hanged between verisimilitude and reinvention whose inhabitants are lost in a multiple time which belongs to us because it is part of the collective memory as well. They are also the result of a research on historical sources - sometimes forgotten or disregarded by the official historiography – which the artist presents to us with all the effective and incisive power of a current event which the audience is invited to experience.

Kuśmirowski builds all the elements which form his works with his bare hands and then assembles them with other objects of different nature and origin – as in the case of Bunker, 2009, an installation exhibited at the Curve Gallery at the Barbican Art Center in London which was a life-size replica, complete to the last detail, of a World War II era bunker situated in Europe, or the railway carriage (Wagon, 2006) exhibited in the 4th Berlin Biennale, which was modeled after train carriages used to transport detainees to Auschwitz. In each work the artist leaves some traces which reveal the fiction on which his operation is based, underlining the fantastic side of reality, exploring the many potentialities of the demystification of art and of the revelation of the original object, and casting doubts on the possibility of a faithful reproduction of an historical document.

In some cases the performance, made through the active presence of the artist inside his own installation, gives the art work a further troublesome level of authenticity and enhances the illusion element thanks to the presence of a human being. In the long creative process which is at the base of these artistic interventions there are moments of improvisation, risk-taking and choice-making. However, the audience can only see the final result: a source of wonder inside a space which was initially neutral (the museum) and where external and distant situations break into and wrap it around to such an extent that the audience will have the impression of being elsewhere, or in another time.

On the occasion of his solo exhibition in Trento the artist presents two installations and two drawings which will change the spaces of Fondazione Galleria Civica into a fascinating "time museum". This Kuśmirowski's exhibition, which is composed of three different projects, has a methodological character allowing to perform an analysis on some important aspects of his art practice: the archive research and the following work of re-proposal and falsification; the recovery of an historical document, which was given a new intended use; the reinvention and mutation of an art work when it is presented in a different context, to which the artist gives a new formal and conceptual aspect; the construction of projects which are constantly and/or potentially in progress.

P.A.P.O.P. (2010), a work realized in 2008-2009 for the MDD-Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens in Deurle, Belgium, is shown in a substantially revised version: the replica of a big 60's analogic computer which filed and analized mathematical data. A techonological and scientific laboratory where empiricism and thought, utopy and reason, authenticity and fiction, science and art, past and present melt one in the other and cohabit in the space of the museum.

Cosmorama (2010), is the title of the new installation expressly conceived for the Fondazione: it is a box of wonders which leads the audience to another, parallel journey in time and space. A view through the work, from seven different points of view, reveals seven new works which show the artistic process giving birth to the artwork and its sources. Real and unreal images renew experience of watching "through", of traveling exclusively thanks to the "visual" and "imaginative" experience. The work recalls the 17th-19th century popular entertainments (Cosmorama) and their modern derivatives, such as theFotoplastikon in Warsaw. This last still working device, allowing to view exotic tridimensional images, was originally designed for educational purposes and then, during the II World War, was used by viewers to escape from the war's horrors.

Two drawings complete the structure of the exhibition: they are drawn from two digital images of old prints portraying the life course of men and women, from birth to death, and they will be realized by the artist at night-time during his stay in Trento. These images are part of an in progress artistic intervention made for a series of in-situ projects organized by the Signum Foundation in Venice. These projects aim at the construction of an anthology of artistic interventions closely related to the architecture which hosts the institution. Kuśmirowski's project – curated for the Signum Foundation by Sebastian Cichocki, the curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Warsaw – is transforming the courtyard of Palazzo San Donà, where the SIGNUM Foundation is located, into a gloomy laboratory, the place of an obscure initiative knowledge where the artist, whose interventions are not instantly evident to the audience's eye, plays the multiple role of alchemist, scholar, archivist, conservator, artisan and artist.

Robert Kuśmirowski's exhibition is supported by: Signum Foundation Palazzo Donà Venezia Istituto Polacco, Rome

Sponsored by: Grand Hotel Trento

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Cosmorama / P.A.P.O.P.
Kuratoren: Andrea Viliani, Elena Lydia Scipioni

Künstler: Robert Kusmirowski