Museum of Contemporary Sculpture
POMNIKI CZASU / MONUMENTS OF TIME
Retrospektywa / Retrospective
Centre of Polish Sculpture in Orońsko
Museum of Contemporary Sculpture
7 November 2020 – 03 May 2021
7 November, 12:00 - open day with the participation of the artist
3 May, 12:00 - guided tour with the artist
Curators: Anna Podsiadły, Agnieszka Chodysz-Foryś, Henryk Gac
Virtual walk through the exhibition
About the exhibition:
Ice perfectly represents the nature of transience and its condition in the metaphorical perspective is extremely close to our, human condition. In the case of Monuments of Time we are dealing with a huge compression of the existence of an ice solid in relation to the time that man has at his disposal. Thanks to the plastic situation, I create an artistic incident or facilitating conditions for symbolic observation of time. During the action we are subjected to an attempt to accept the inevitability of events in which we all participate.
Tomasz Domański, in: Tomasz Domański. Pomniki Czasu, 1992–2018, eds. Tomasz Domański, Sylwia Świsłocka-Karwot, Wrocław 2018, Ośrodek Kultury i Sztuki we Wrocławiu, p. 324
‘Identifying himself with nature’ (to recall Rosołowicz once again) Domański has a great chance for deriving aesthetic qualities from nature itself. It is a marvelous opportunity because generally at this moment, art terrified of naturalness, stops halfway.
Andrzej Kostołowski, Sztuka bez odpadów, „Exit” 1996, nr 3 (27)
The Centre of Polish Sculpture (CRP) in Orońsko is the only sculptural centre in Poland, a significant point on the cultural map of Poland, situated in its very heart. This is a place particularly friendly for artists, place where nature harmonizes with art, tradition with modernity, history with the present day.
The Centre is an excellent space dedicated to creative work focused on sculpture and activities related with it, the site to which artists willingly return at various stages of their career. Over the last three decades, Tomas Domański has also been a resident of Orońsko. As a representative of the young generation, making his debut at the turn of the 1980s and 1990s, he participated in the seminar and exhibition Polish Young Sculpture – Places, Non- Places (1992). It was then that he realized in Orońsko his first object from the series Monuments of Time (Sublimatory). In 1994 Domański was a curator of the international sculptural symposium Stone. During a stipend stay in the same year, his monumental installation Drifts was made, presented in his individual exhibition at the Orangery Gallery (CRP), in the following years exhibited also at the BWA galleries in Krakow and Kielce as well as in the Iconopress exhibition at the Pomeranian Dukes’ Castle in Szczecin. After two decades, Drifts not only did not lose their form but also acquired a noble patina. They presented themselves attractively in their consecutive editions: during Art Market at the Millenaris Park in Budapest (2016), at the University Library Gardens in Warsaw (2017), at the Radom ‘Elektrownia’ as well as during the CRP collection and Warsaw Zachęta exhibition at the National Forum of Music in Wrocław in 2019. At present the work is exhibited in the Centre’s park collection. In 1997 the artist participated in the group exhibition Geometry in Polish Sculpture, two years later in the show Utopia and Vision at the Museum of Contemporary Sculpture. In the years 2000-2004 he produced two artistic actions with ice: Respiratorium and Seasonal Sculpture as well as he took part in the group exhibition The Matter of Light. At that time he was also a member of the Programme Council of the Centre. Within the framework of the exhibition The Art of the 3rd Republic of Poland (2003) he presented the documentation of his video-installation Forest Movements According to Macbeth which was shown at the Historical Museum in Wrocław in 1997. The present exhibition is another testimony to Tomasz Domański’s special bond with the Centre.
The Monuments of Time have the character of a retrospective, monumental show, the artist’s tale summing up his almost thirty-year-long programme whose idea is based on a utopian attempt to visualize time. The exhibition was organized in collaboration with the Centre for Culture and Art (OKiS) in Wroclaw, the producer of the first, 2019 edition of the Monuments of Time at the Science and Art Centre, Former Mine / Stara Kopalnia in Wałbrzych and the publisher of a monograph publication with the same title.
The Orońsko edition of the Monuments of Time is going to be presented at the Centre of Contemporary Sculpture in a slightly changed configuration. The artist has prepared his own concept for the arrangement and construction of the exhibition spaces to showcase: installations, objects, multimedia works, models, photographs and films as well as the archival iconographic documentation which accompanied the production of the Monuments of Time. We will see the artist’s opus magnum, a review of his early and mature works, including still not realized projects which are relevant for the new stage of his work. His ephemeral action Shaky Balance will be shown outdoors, in the Orońsko park.
Tomasz Domański is a unique artist, a visionary, researcher and observer of the processes of nature, endowed with huge artistic intuition. He practices the art of action, ephemeral art and performance. Besides traditional materials he incorporates unobvious sculptural media – the elements: ice and fire, which mark out the course of the actions he constructs; he uses natural phenomena of melting, burning or gravity as well as acoustic values, the recordings of the sound of fire and water, e.g. the sound of drops dripping from the melting ice. What makes a crucial part of these actions-projects is multimedia and new digital technologies which enable him to record the behavior of elements, their changing forms and processuality.
The main idea of the artist’s programme, inherent in the series title, is a utopian attempt to visualize time, or creating facilitative conditions for its symbolic observation. Critical texts explaining the understanding of the Monuments of Time as a relative monument in the category of contemporary sculpture can be found in the artist’s monograph. Writing about the Monuments of Time, Tomasz Domański remarks that they ‘are a realization of objects created with the view to observe the effect of time in matter’. It is not the complete artwork that matters here but the process of its creation, the life cycle of the artwork, which also includes destruction and dematerialization. The theme most conspicuous in the artist’s works is time, its course recorded in matter, its flow, elusiveness, dependence on points of reference. Our consciousness is affected by the orders: of circular time, based on the cycles of nature, and linear time, consolidated by the tradition of western culture. In his review of the monograph, published in the Sculpture Quarterly ‘Orońsko’ (2-3 / 2019, p.91) Grzegorz Borkowski writes: The Monuments of Time cover several concepts of time: subjective time, emotional, molecular time of the disintegrating bits of ice, absolute time, measured with a calendar and clock, and finally the spiritual, cryogenic time connected with an individual experience of the sense of life […].’
The works that can be seen in Orońsko were created as a result of the artist’s fascination with nature. Adam Sobota argues ’What occupies Tomasz Domański is human position within nature and towards other people. His works tell us that individuals must constantly define themselves in relation to phenomena which unfold in time and may be identified through the relationships of co-dependent factors.’ The feeling of temporariness, transience, cyclical nature are immanently intrinsic to this work. In his artworks Domański refers to extreme categories, combining them into inseparable pairs: life – death, nature – culture, physicality – metaphysics. The way of expression in art adopted by the artist is ephemeral sculpture in the form of monumental and spectacular installations situated in the public space.
The exhibition will also present the documentation of the artist’s long-standing project, which reflects the idea of ephemerality in the dynamic structure of a symbiotic sculpture garden – Wieżogród / TowerTopia in the Niemcza-Strzelin Hills in Lower Silesia.
Tomasz Domański (1962, Giżycko) studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Wrocław, where in 1993 he got his diploma in sculpture, and in 2003 defended his doctorate on ephemeral sculpture as a relative monument.
He is the author of sculptures, installations, objects, performances, drawings and photographs. The artist mainly works with natural materials: water, ice, fire, wood, straw, ash, metal, using processes characteristic of them. He makes films and animations as integral elements of many projects.
In 1995-1996 he obtained a scholarship of the Banaras Hindu University in Varanasi. Five-time stipend-holder of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage as well as many foundations and institutions, inter alia twice Pollock-Krasner Foundation from New York, Lorenz Foundation from Basel, Montag Stiftung Bildende Kunst from Bonn, twice UNESCO-Aschberg from Paris, KulturKontakt from Vienna, Adolph and Esthera Gottlieb from New York. In 1997 he was nominated by Mariusz Hermansdorfer, the director of the National Museum in Wrocław, to the Paszport Polityki award. In the same year he represented Poland at the 9th Art Triennial in New Delhi.
He realized his projects and exhibitions among others in Poland, Germany, France, Luxemburg, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, USA, Canada, in Alaska, Hong Kong and Korea. He took part in fifty solo exhibitions and over a hundred and fifty group ones.
Tomasz Domański’s works can be found inter alia in the collections of such institutions as the Lower Silesia Society of Fine Art Zachęta in Wrocław, National Museum in Wrocław, Contemporary Museum in Wrocław, Centre of Polish Sculpture in Orońsko.
Main solo exhibitions:
1999 – Acropolis – exhibition at the National Museum in Wrocław, installation referring with its form to an ancient temple which over the centuries has transformed into an industrial ‘techno-shrine’ of the 21st century.
2003 – Ephemeral Sculpture – Relative Monument – Museum of Architecture, Wrocław, doctorate exhibition
2008 – Recycling Programme – Awangarda BWA Wroclaw; a series of objects, paintings, collages and films, austere sculptural projects in elementary materials.
2011 – Middle Age - Wro Art Centre, Wrocław; multimedia exhibition consisting of 9 works
2014 – Square Dome – European Capital of Culture – Umea 2014, Sweden; object from the series Monuments of Time made of ice and steel
2016 – Jacob’s Dream – European Capital of Culture, Wrocław 2016; installation in the public space
Since 2016 four relieves of 1997 have been included in the permanent exhibition: Collection of Polish Art of the 2nd Half of the 20th Century and 21st Century, National Museum, Four Domes Pavilion, Wrocław
2019 – Monuments of Time / Retrospective, Science and Art Centre – Museum of Industry and Technology – Former Mine / Stara Kopalnia in Wałbrzych
Centre of Polish Sculpture in Orońsko
Centre for Culture and Art in Wrocław – Institution of Culture run by the Self-Government of Lower Silesia District
Co-financed from the means of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage and from the Lower Silesia District budget
Co-financed from the budget of the Lower Silesian Voivodeship