WHAT REMAINS OF A REMBRANDT TORN INTO FOUR EQUAL PIECES AND FLUSHED DOWN THE TOILET at PGS
15 - 20 September 2017
Państwowa Galeria Sztuki, Sopot
Concept: Simone Basani
Curatorship: Alice Ciresola
Performers: Dana Chmielewska, Joanna Czajkowska, Julianna Graczyk,
Katarzyna Pastuszak, Agnieszka Sprawka.
Developed during the art residency at Laznia Centre for Contemporary Art, in the frame of the international project 'Artecitya', financed by the European program Creative Europe 2014-2020.
What Remains of a Rembrandt Torn Into Four Equal Pieces and Flushed Down the Toilet is about narration, empathy and memory.
For one week, this project transforms PGS in a temporary laboratory to produce and stage memories in a collective dimension: in its spaces a group of performers tests strategies of remembering and creating new cultural myths.
The museum understood as a complex stratification of layers - historical, institutional and architectural - is narrated in real time through an ongoing and diffused performance. The audience itself is included in the portrait of the museum as a living organism. A voice is given to the artworks, a body to the architecture.
Unexpected corners of PGS host, as well, a sequence of reconstructed places. These have been the scene of events fixed in individual or communities’ memory. The act of re-creating their physical dimension is made visible and shared with the audience. A collaborative effort of memory and narration precipitates into invisible architectures, echoing the impressionist landscapes by Jan Ciągliński. Instead of bringing visitors to far countries by seducing them with oil brush strokes, the group of performers evokes tangible spaces produced through the quest to the original spatial dimension, sounds, and smells.
Processes of collective remembering and forgetting are brought into PGS also for their consonance with Polish history. It is well known that, after Second World War, more or less intentionally cities like Gdansk and Warsaw have been rebuilt concealing or stress certain architectural features, this way partially changing their identity.
The Angel of History - as depicted by Walter Benjamin who looks at Paul’s Klee Angelus Novus - is evoked as a guarantee of this process of remembrance. In his famous quotation, the German philosopher describes it as a creature who faces toward the past but is pushed backward to the future by the wind of progress. At the PGS its presence is multiplied through a series of angel invocations. These replicas, sung and whispered, represent the frequency with which Benjamin’s quotation occurs among scholars and authors who try to solve the problem of historical memory.
Ultimately, What Remains shows the attempt of reconstructing far and recent events and the relationship they still have with our present.
*** What Remains borrows its title from the homonymous art essay written by Jean Genet on Rembrandt’s portraits, in 1967.
Photo credit: Adam Bogdan
Trailer by Agencja Vizualna.
Text on the project written by Monika Popow.