Konrad Smoleński Everything Was Forever, Until It Was No More – Time Test
11.10 – 16.11.2014 Konrad Smoleński Everything Was Forever, Until It Was No More – Time Test
Zachęta – National Gallery of Art
artist: Konrad Smoleński
curators: Daniel Muzyczuk, Agnieszka Pindera
collaboration on the part of Zachęta: Joanna Waśko
A year after its presentation in the Polish Pavilion in Venice, Konrad Smoleński's sculpture has evolved into a project presented successively at the CentrePasquArt in Biel (6.07–17.08.2014) and Zachęta – National Gallery of Art (11.10–16.11.2014). In both these locations, Everything Was Forever, Until It Was No More has transformed in order to convey the key characteristics of each particular space. Ever-present elements in this structure are two traditional bronze bells and rows of wide-band speakers accompanying them. A new component in the versions of the project presented this year, meanwhile, is a vibrating wooden platform that also serves as a stage for a series of performances commissioned from outstanding contemporary composers and musicians. This type of duet with the installation has already been performed by: Mats Gustafsson (saxophone), Andrea Belfi (percussion) and Hilary Jeffrey (trombone). In Warsaw, Audrey Chen and Phil Minton (voice), Yaninis Kyriakides (electronics) and Andy Moor (guitar), and Stine Janvind Motland (voice) will perform in interaction with the sound sculpture. Each performer works in a different way with the delay and repetition of sound that is at the base of Konrad Smoleński's installation which, in the basic version of the exhibition (without the presence of live musicians), works through the manipulation of the strike tone of the bell. By transforming this familiar noise, the artists changes its meaning: this sound, full of diverse significations, when submitted to manipulations becomes abstract and deprived of connotations. In the liberation of the signal from its source use is made of its delay and reverberations, amassing simultaneously a cumulative acoustic wave that endows the sound with a real mass during its emission into the ether.
The exhibition in the Polish Pavilion has borne fruit this year not only in new versions of the installation. In the time that has elapsed since the opening of the project in Venice, Smoleński has undertaken work on new large-format realisations, such as in the frame of individual presentations in the Kunsthalle Winthertur or in the Volkspaleis in The Hague, as well as taking part in many group exhibitions (amongst others in the Marta Herford Museum or in Performa 13). The works created by him, although diverse, demonstrate an artist that works consequentially, developing a unique language of his own. He is also encroaching ever more decisively into the space between installation and performance, as it were testing the possibilities of both formats. The artist opens up a sphere of experiences which emerge both from the constellation of expectations provoked by the media used, and equally from the breaking of the habits associated with them. Smoleński blurs the boundaries between the scenes of music and theatre, and the space of art. For some time now, one of the main themes of his work has been the use of elements known from the aesthetics of rock culture and their presentation beyond their original context. His interdisciplinary experiments, and also the ways in which he makes use of either existing instruments or those he has constructed himself, are clearly visible in the successive editions of Everything Was Forever, Until It Was No More. The subtitle The Test of Time is, on the one hand, a light-hearted reference to the various incarnations of a single installation and, on the other, a reference to the theories of Julian Barbour about the illusory nature of time that were an integral part of the original Venice version of the project.
The exhibition is complemented with a vinyl record with the remix by Michał Kupicz based on recordings of the sound installation in the Polish Pavilion and the improvisation on a baritone saxophone by Mats Gustafsson recorded on 30th May 2013 in the Polish Pavilion. The publication is available in a standard edition (300 copies) and a limited collector's edition (100 copies), which consists of a unique white vinlyl record, a booklet with curatorial and critical texts about the project, as well as photographic documentation of the exhibition.
Konrad Smoleński. Everything Was Forever, Until It Was No More
LP record, Bocian Records, 2014
available in the Zachęta Bookshop
Works on exhibition
Artist's works in the Zachęta collection
Everything Was Forever, Until It Was No More – Time Test
11.10 – 16.11.2014
Zachęta – National Gallery of Art
pl. Małachowskiego 3, 00-916 Warsaw
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Tuesday – Sunday 12–8 p.m.
Thursday – free entry
ticket office is open until 7.30 p.m.