A moment before disaster
January 16 - April 10, 2021
Opening: February 13, 2021, at 2 p.m.
Curator: dr hab. Maciej Aleksandrowicz
Coordinator: Weronika Elertowska
Piano: Michał Bialk
Sound: Frédéric Couson
Graphic design: Gabi Kowol - Wasiluk
A moment before disaster
Exhibition of Krzysztof Franaszek’s latest sculptures and installations
What bonds this set of presented works is the concept inherent in the title. A moment before a disaster, a moment of freezing, a second in which nothing has happened yet but we are sure something will. This complex, multifaceted emotional state which contains a fear of destruction, hope for change, freezing while waiting, a stupor full of contradictions. Creating visions of destruction, a spectacular end to the familiar order is a frequent motif in literature and pop culture. A vision of disaster engrosses and evokes an impression that at the time we live something exceptional is happening in a historical dimension. Additionally, there is this typically human tendency to head for self-destruction, where societies keep starting conflicts, wars and opening divisions. The latest events in the world: global pandemic, a return of nationalism bring a moment in which it is unclear where the world is heading.
In the exhibition we are going to see sculptures and spatial objects of diverse forms. Geometric abstraction interlaces with organic nature. In the cycles there appear compositional systems, recurring symbols which make a formal and conceptual entirety. A significant and frequently used motif in Krzysztof Franaszek’s work is an imbalance – achieved thanks to the use of counterweight – overloading or suspending heavy objects in such a way that they give an impression of levitating, falling down; they seem disharmonic or deformed. Balancing – work with matter and gravity – leads him to use an unobvious composition, sometimes a crooked, toppling form which freezes time a moment before its fall.
The matter of the presented objects is radical and extremely contrasting. Franaszek uses light in an integrated form, mounting hundreds of LED lights, building geometric forms illuminating space. The light is so intense that you need time for your eyes to adapt. It is only after a moment that you can discern black objects which make an entirety with the luminous form. Black shapes made of tar, artificial stone, ceramics and wood. The installation emanates brightness, transforming the surrounding space. Importantly, the shining glass solids are usually the base – they stand on the ground lifting the black objects above them. It causes a reversal of a well-known situation in which the light is overhead and the matter associated with the earth, below. Such state of the matter, plus an extreme contrast, evokes a feeling of anticipation of a break or reversal of a situation that we know or that we have been accustomed to. This state may be compared to stringing a bow or turning things upside down. Three monumental squares built of steel, inspired by information boards on express ways, make a vertical object. They project abstract patterns, we can see bits or remains of signs. The installation is based on broken boards. A system error, mistake, zero flow of information, unclear message, abstract. We live in a world of aggressive and noisy but, at the same time, shallow information. Clear, lucid communication is the foundation for the functioning of a social system. It is a paradox of our times that the message is not always true, and it is difficult to separate the truth from falsehood. The breakdown of the top-down imposed image of reality fills us with hope for creating something new for the sake of change and development of creativeness.
Tar and asphalt, coal, oil – these are sculptural materials that in an experimental way feature in Krzysztof Franaszek’s work. They are also significant and symbolic in the context of this exhibition. Tar is a sticky substance, easy to mould. In room temperature, it warps, deforms and spills. The objects change during the exhibition. This process may be compared to the psychological relations between Id and Superego, where certain principles keep being formulated, and then they are continuously dismantled by organic, primeval nature. Objects produced from such materials are impermanent and change in time. Consequently, the moment we look at the sculpture will never happen again. Black, coal structure people use to build roads, connected with the earth is asphalt, sealant, fuel, basis for making synthetic materials, and ultimately it is a toxic material causing pollution and degradation of natural environment, and an inevitable ecological disaster.
Krzysztof Franaszek, b. 1981 in Lublin
The artist creates of sculptures, objects, installations, and drawings. He is a graduate of the Sculpture Faculty of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw (diploma in 2006), Doctor of Fine Arts (2013). He received stipends form Christian Jankowski’s studio at the Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Stuttgart, Germany (2005), and of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage (2009, 2018). He showed his works at ten solo exhibitions, inter alia at the Le Guern Gallery, Studio Gallery, Centre for Contemporary Art in Warsaw. He participated in several dozen collective shows and projects in Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Russia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Bangladesh, and India, including the New Museum New York, KunstMuseum Stuttgart, National Art Gallery Dhaka. Krzysztof Franaszek collaborates with the LeGuern Gallery in Warsaw.
In his artworks Franaszek continuously searches for new means of expression. Working with metal, wood, and plastics, he merges rich visual forms with ideas and symbols, using 3D printing and electrical and luminescent installations. In Franaszek’s work, the theme of human nature and emotionality alludes to ways of functioning in public and urban spaces, which is reflected in clear abstract forms, totems, and installations. The exploration of creative and destructive forces as two equivalent causative energies takes on the form of artistic series, in which the artwork changes and evolves.
Since 2006 he has been working as assistant professor at the Sculpture Department, Faculty of Interior Design, Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. Since 2013 he is a senior lecturer and supervisor of diploma projects at the WIT Academy of Applied IT and Management, Faculty of Graphic Design. In 2020 he implemented a project of international cooperation of art academies participating within the framework of the NAWA ‘Katamaran’ program.