Recognizing Patterns

PhD exhibition, Department of Sculpture and Spatial Activities at the Art University in Poznan
Rodriguez Gallery, Poznan, 08.11–16.11.2018

In the Recognizing Patterns project, steel sculptures are potentially used tools to carry out activities in natural terrain, often inaccessible and distant, requiring travel with a backpack and a tent. Seeing a long metal blade and a photograph of an incision in the Gobi sands in southern Mongolia, viewers will think that the author is a madman since he took such a bulky tool with him to cut the desert. However, there is a chronological discrepancy between the creation of steel sculptures and the photographed interference in the landscape.

In an earlier project, Manual Rest, I postulated the rejection of the tendency to produce excess objects as art in favor of observing situations that can be called art. I documented the actions of nature that I considered finished works of art. Some of them were modified with the use of various types of constructed devices and tools, often prepared in advance at home and properly packed into a backpack. Both situations ended with a photograph documenting the action. And I do not know what tempted me to bring one of such tools back to Poland from distant Bolivia, completely against the logic. The work Core has become the reason to recall specific images, travel events and the creation of hypothetically used devices to modify the real landscape.

Salar de Uyuni is a salt desert. Local workers from nearby villages draw the brine first by sprinkling it into rows of cones. Salt turns from loose salt into hard and lumpy lumps over time. To do something out of it, you need tools. I borrowed them from working Bolivians who were willing to help me make a new salt cone. I took the elements of the structure out of the backpack and twisted the device with screws, specially designed for the purpose of interfering with the space of this place. I moved the top of the solid to the side. If the Move Work photograph was robbed of the landscape, the frame I prepared by me would remain invisible – the Core.

Michał Smandek


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