Current and announcment

‘Breakdown of the Relationship Between Albatrosses’ – an exhibition of works by Joanna Zdzienicka-Obałek in Small Space

The word BREAKDOWN has a feel of finality to it. The assumption is that something irreversible has happened. Something has come to an end, so, at first, the word that denotes it may sound negative. This finality often abounds in questions, one of which is: What is next? Breakdown of the Relationship Between Albatrosses is an exhibition focusing on reflections about the surrounding reality. It includes people, animals and relationships between all living creatures, between people and the environment.

Albatrosses mate for life and, in most cases, these birds are together until the end of their lives. They live in the vicinity of water, which provides them and their offspring with food. The ongoing climate changes have an immense impact on the natural environment, resulting in the rise of water temperature and, consequently, less food for many species. The catastrophe that we can see with our eyes leads to substantial changes in the functioning of many animals. Albatross couples, who have until now lived together, decide to split up. Divorces among these birds have become a fact – and so they have become a metaphor of the current changes and consequences that we may suffer if we fail to take the necessary steps.

Joanna Zdzienicka-Obałek demonstrates the processes that are involved in the creation of her works. The artist has committed herself to recycling and upcycling. Therefore, she uses readily available materials, most of which have already had their past history, and she subjects them to transformation, giving them a chance to live further in a different form. The metaphorical breakdown, resulting from the artist’s deliberate act, has brought about a new beginning. The artist gives us a tour of her own microworld, which she has created under the influence of the advancing changes, to show us how to counter them at the personal and community level. For the purpose of this exhibition, all the materials have been purchased from a – currently closed down – pawnshop in Bytom. There are dufex prints, from which the artist has made a floral-themed collage, and a pair of skates, which she has converted into knives. Both items link to her favourite catastrophe movie from the 1990s. The floral-themed collage points to the direction that she advises us to follow. Yet, she has placed many obstacles on the way – she makes the viewers feel distressed on purpose, to make us realise that everything in this microworld results from purposeful transformation. When we witness this process, which has been guised as an exhibition, we can reflect on the state of our own ‘backyard’, explore complex issues and try to deal with the inevitable questions of whether this is the breakdown or the starting point.

Curator: Claudia Spałek

The vernissage will begin at 5 pm on 30 September 2022.
The exhibition will run until 6 November.