A Few Practical Ways To Prolong One’s Life

16.02 – 01.04.2013 A Few Practical Ways To Prolong One’s Life

Zachęta – National Gallery of Art

curators: Ewa Borysiewicz, Joanna Kordjak-Piotrowska
artists: Piotr Bosacki, Bownik, Radek Szlaga, Olgierd Chmielewski, Attila Csӧrgő, Peter Fischli i David Weiss, Rube Goldberg, Igor Krenz, Daniel Malone, Jan Mioduszewski, Janek Simon
and objects from Werner Nekes collection

The exhibition’s underlying concept has been inspired in large part by one of Julian Antonisz’s inventions: a portable device for creating non-camera animations. The easy-to-use, compact mechanism was meant to enable the viewer to react creatively to the ‘unreal reality’ surrounding them. The idea of developing a ‘portable non-camera workshop’ was also part of a larger, ambitious project aimed at effecting the viewer’s artistic mobilization through the popularization of amateur non-camera animation.

Seeing great potential in the combination of human and mechanical energies, Antonisz encouraged members of the public to create their own non-camera works. In the vein of the 19th-century constructors of road-show optical devices, he acknowledged the viewer’s active role in the process of generating moving images. In early motion-picture devices, such as the Kinora or the zoetrope, it is precisely the viewer who makes the machine’s existence meaningful, causing it to become alive, animating it, as it were.

Some of the objects featured in the exhibition exist as autonomous entities. Drawing or painting machines – automatons or semi-automatic devices – generate images without human  intervention, taking over the role of the artist. Just as in Antonisz’s case, some of the these devices are evidence not so much of their authors’ fascination with perfect technology as their keen awareness of their own limits. Error, malfunction and randomness sometimes creep into their operation, and the passion to construct can also assume absurd forms, as in Rube Goldberg’s spectacularly complex machines.

The popularization of the ‘practical ways’ and democratic distribution of knowledge on the artistic and utilitarian potential of technology seems particularly important at a time of (ideological and financial crisis).

The artistic statements presented in the show are clearly relevant in the context of today’s debate on ‘grassroots creativity’. As an alternative to the culture of mass production and consumption, the idea of DIY (do-it-yourself) becomes an important point of reference for the works on display. In the past, we were taught household creativity by Adam Słodowy’s hugely popular show, today the role is performed by hundreds of web portals offering practical advice and instruction on the subject.

The presented works demonstrate that, in an era of ‘digital reproduction’, Julian Antonisz’s postulate of returning to the roots of cinema and fighting for a rightful place for the individual experience has lost none of its relevance.

Exhibition title inspired by Julian Antonisz’s 1974 film.

 

Artists' works in the Zachęta collection

  • Zdjęcie pracy Self-Evident Things
    Self-Evident ThingsPiotr Bosacki2013
  • Zdjęcie pracy Selfie
    SelfieRadek Szlaga2017
Related media
  • Grafika obiektu: A Few Practical Ways To Prolong One’s Life
    mediateka / folders / Texts
    A Few Practical Ways To Prolong One’s Life
    Folder accompanying the exhibition
  • Grafika obiektu:
    mediateka / folders / Texts
  • Grafika obiektu:
    mediateka / folders / Texts
  • Grafika obiektu: A Few Practical Ways To Prolong One’s Life
    mediateka / posters
    A Few Practical Ways To Prolong One’s Life
  • Grafika obiektu: A Few Practical Ways To Prolong One’s Life
    mediateka / video-documentation
    A Few Practical Ways To Prolong One’s Life

Information

A Few Practical Ways To Prolong One’s Life
16.02 – 01.04.2013

Zachęta – National Gallery of Art
pl. Małachowskiego 3, 00-916 Warsaw
See on the map

Godziny otwarcia:
Monday – Sunday 12–8 p.m.
Thursday – free entry
ticket office is open until 7.30 p.m.

sponsors of the gallery: Lidex
sponsors of the opening ceremony: DeLonghi, Kenwood, A.Blikle, Freixenet
media patronage: Polskie Radio, The Warsaw Voice, Stolica, Artinfo.pl