Above the Sea of Fog: Chapter I
Above the Sea of Fog
11 November – 2 December 2022
The practice of Martychowiec is characterised by construction of a continuously developing symbolic narrative submerged in historical research.
The exhibition Above the Sea of Fog concentrates on the shifts of power: between that of the individual and that of the collective and their relation to freedom, ideology and apparatuses. The exhibition is conceived as a continuously changing conceptual landscape which draws on progressive historical theories. The title places it in the narrative of art history and that of the artist’s practice. The former is the historic painting by Friedrich (as a symbolic reference to the political conditions relevant both in the time of the Industrial Revolution and the present) and the latter installation Where Do We Come From? Where Are We Now? Where Are We Going? from 2021. In the installation the visitor is immersed in the thick fog filling the space of the gallery, preventing one from seeing anything (a basic expectation of anybody visiting an art gallery). The fog becomes a symbolic element of the contemporary landscape, subjected to which one cannot fail but to wish to observe the landscape from above, like the wanderer in Friedrich’s iconic image.
What thus awaits above the fog?
Martychowiec places his narrative within various histories: of painting, of power, of historiography and poses important questions on the contemporary conditions in which we live and structures or ‘frames’ to which we are subjected and within which our relation to institutions and apparatuses, culture and ideology, freedom and power intertwine.
The mentioned changing nature of this ‘exhibition-landscape’ is emphasised through the exhibition’s ‘reading’ which is to be undertaken not only throughout the space it is installed in but also time. The project is divided into two exhibition chapters, or rather two independent exhibitions occurring successively. Such construction is to suggest an ongoing incompletion both of the historical process and its interpretation.
In the centre of both chapters is work Reading history 2022-1834 – a reenactment of an unfinished Go game from 1834. The meaning of the reenacted game is valid in relation to another game from 1835, which nevertheless is not presented and both its detail and intricate history are only known to scholars of the subject. However, to those not knowing the history, but about the grammar and language of the game what is apparent is brilliance and energy of one of its players, whose tragic fate we are nevertheless not informed of.
Through the questions about the visible versus the unseen, the remembered versus the forgotten and finally, destruction versus creation the artist ponders on the valid historical perspective on the present: how to stage history for future success rather than failure?
Pabellón 5. Antiguo Cuartel de Artillería
C. Madre Elisea Oliver Molina, s/n
Curators Aurélien Le Genissel, Renato Della Poeta