Konrad Smoleński and Honza Zamojski
Transparent was a collaborative exhibition from Polish artists, Konrad Smoleński and Honza Zamojski, presented through a multimedia installation and performance.
The project evolved from an initial concept, which sought to explore models of art education that differ from those in the UK: specifically looking at the pedagogical practices of Polish professor, Leszek Knaflewski and his relationship with former students Konrad Smoleński and Honza Zamojski. Leszek Knaflewski sadly passed away in 2014 and the initial project could not be realised.
The project developed into a collaboration between Smoleński and Zamojski as an experiment into their own artistic practice. Allowing them to take risks outside of a commercial gallery context, relax their everyday practice and redefine their artistic language in order to work together to create a new, communal platform and outlet for the unknown and poetical.
The framework of an institution like University of Arts in Poznań, allowed the relationship between Professor Knaflewski, Smoleński and Zamojski to dynamically thrive and evolve; roles could be reversed and power structure played upon, shifting and removing preponderance. Differences could be shared and considered as a resource.
Knaflewski’s pedagogical ambiguity, his ability to embrace authority and anarchy and to inspire and allow freedom has been influential on Smoleński and Zamojski’s respective practices and on shaping this particular project. By reflecting upon Knaflewski’s and their own methods, they have merged their individual artistic languages to create a fusion: two different set-ups of relations – one based on exchange and order, the other on chaos. Polarities brought to unity.
In this context, the complexity of relationship is seen as a system, therefore Transparent provided a response to this relationship and can be thought of as a variable system; it comes on and off with a fluctuating rhythm. The system changes from active to passive and becomes a magazine of information and potential; the readiness of sleeping energy; the stage of becoming; the communion of nothingness.
Transparent featured configurations of objects and humans, humans and architecture and exhibits, institutions and individuals. Within a carefully structured environment and a precisely scripted scenario of live action, humans animate the system regardless of bounds to establishment and restrictions. Humans excite the inanimate world to vibrate, bringing a dynamic that makes the system flexible. By employing simple elements like movement, water, rhythm of actions, order and vibrations – the image of potentiality is created, a potentiality that ultimately remains humane. This event showed a snapshot – this abstract form of dissected actions and system becomes an anthropological artefact.
Konrad Smoleński (b.1977) – active in the area of visual arts, working with sound, video and performance. His works operate frequently between the potential inherent in the energy charge and the physical limitations of the surroundings. Graduated from the Poznań Academy of Fine Arts. He has presented his works, produced projects and performed in numerous venues, among others: Ludwig Museum, Budapest; Pinchuk Art Center, Kiev; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Zachęta — National Gallery of Art, Warsaw; Kunsthalle, Winterthur; PERFORMA, New York. Member and co-creator of BNNT group. Winner of the Deutsche Bank Foundation Award — Views 2011. In 2013, he represented Poland at the 55th Venice Biennale. Lives and works in Warsaw (PL) and Bern (CH).
Honza Zamojski (b. 1981) – artist, designer, book publisher and also a curator who incorporates a wide array of media — from illustration, through sculptural drawings to infographics taken from the corporate world, and poetry as well. He creates narratives which, when considered from afar, build a universal, multilayered world based on a philosophy of agnosticism and the energy of the perpetuum mobile. Minimalist in form, rich in symbolism, his abstract compositions and figurative representations come together as a visual language that is governed by its own grammatical structure and format. What welds together some of these seemingly divergent elements is a sense of humor about the world and his own place within it. Zamojski is the author of over a dozen books and his work has been shown at solo and group shows in Poland and abroad, including the Zachęta — National Gallery of Art, Foksal Gallery, Morsbroich Museum and the Andrew Kreps Gallery in New York. He’s presented his lecture on self-publishing, titled “How it’s Made”, at the Centre Pompidou, MoMA Library and Printed Matter New York.
Text by Sabina Sallis. Transparent was initiated and curated by Sabina Sallis. Transparent is kindly supported by Arts Council England, The Henry Moore Foundation and Polish Cultural Institute. This project has been completed as part of a scholarship from the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland.