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Everything about the contemporary is panda

Michal Martychowiec
Everything about the contemporary is panda

21st September – 2nd October 2018

Rodriguez Gallery
Al. Jerozolimskie 51/2
Warsaw

Rodriguez Gallery
Warsaw Gallery Weekend

 

 

The panda has been a significant symbolic element in the artist’s practice since 2016. This project is utilising various symbols with emphasis on the panda which functions on several levels and throughout many different areas of human activity: politics, culture, conservation, ecology and then again as a sort of idol. All this is again placed within the existential and historical framework.

The panda, as a sort of degenerated created (‘we want to keep the good times even though they are gone’ – Robert Lifton), also symbolises the contemporary man, following Ortega y Gasset: ‘a satisfied little man’.

The panda, as the most reappearing element in the project, follows modes of existence of the spectator and most importantly pivotal moments of art history, whereas the other elements become interwoven comments on contemporary human conditions. This project is in a very direct discourse to two other bodies of work: The incredulity of St Thomas (where Thomas becomes a somewhat symbol of the spectator) and Do you believe in art? (where the rabbit Josephine becomes an existential symbol opposing the panda).

The mentioned actors of the projects represent these different modes of existence and they are meant to be understood as symbols.
The exhibition is structured around two core works: a bin depicting the panda and recalling words of Marcel Duchamp installed in the very centre of the exhibition space and a neon asking “Has Marcel Duchamp changed the world?” installed within a daily office space. It can be viewed only from the outside, which happens to be inside of the gallery space. And so the voice of Duchamp echoes: ‘Let us consider two important factors, the two poles of the creation of art: the artist on the one hand, and on the other the spectator who later becomes the posterity.’
As the matter of preservation of the species of panda remains the major point in the ecological discourse, similarly one of the matters Martychowiec points to is the validity of preservation of art and thus construction of history. Reading “Has Marcel Duchamp…” from within the art space points to modernity, as Duchamp remains here a symbol of a modern artist. And despite modernity’s many attempts to change the world, contemporary art ends up over and over being repetition of a repertoire of the same ideas which eventually have become empty. And so the sound of Duchamp’s words is coming out pointlessly from the abyss of a panda bin. What remains of art are the concepts (poetry) and symbols. In other words, mythology.

– 2018

art by Michal Martychowiec
art by Michal Martychowiec
art by Michal Martychowiec
art by Michal Martychowiec
art by Michal Martychowiec
art by Michal Martychowiec
art by Michal Martychowiec
art by Michal Martychowiec
art by Michal Martychowiec
art by Michal Martychowiec
art by Michal Martychowiec
art by Michal Martychowiec
art by Michal Martychowiec