Absolute Beginners, 2015

Katarzyna Krakowiak: Absolute Beginners

curator: Anna Smolak

BWA SOKÓŁ Gallery of Contemporary Art in Nowy Sącz


For Katarzyna Krakowiak, waves and the vibrations they cause are part of how she perceives and defines reality. The artist calls her works architectural compositions or sound sculptures. These are barely noticeable interventions in buildings, whose power lies in the combination of two media of diametrically different impact – monumental and durable, architectural forms and non-figurative sounds. The critical potential of her works is never expressed straight-forwardly; rather, it manifests itself in exposing the tension between what is permanent and ephemeral, tangible and elusive, accessible and excluded, in its ability to disturb the hierarchy of the use of space and its perception. At BWA SOKÓŁ in Nowy Sącz, Katarzyna Krakowiak has placed carrier pigeons. We can see them through the glass expanse of the walls but we cannot get at them. Since the birds came to dwell inside the staircase, the main architectural communication route has been cut off. The huge glass case that spans the building accumulates alien energy. The tightly sealed interior makes it impossible for it to escape.

The artist has left the spacious exhibition halls empty. The only images that percolate inside are fragments of the landscape of a small section of the town; also a fragment of nature, dormant in the winter, has been introduced into the building. However, it is only theoretically accessible. The pane of glass creates a sense of insulation and distance. Just as a TV screen does, it demarcates the boundary between two implied realities. The dissonance between these spaces has also been emphasised in the acoustic layer.