Nothing but Blue Sky
Nothing but Blue Sky
8 December 2023 – 20 January 2024
A neon on the wall reads: Where does your heart belong? – a significant question concerning the basic human need for belonging, whether in the context of family, community, or the nation-state. This question is particularly poignant in the current period of mass migrations.
This is of course a very personal question and therefore the author, Michal Martychowiec, does not intend to lead the audience towards a designated answer. However, the work itself demands the participation of the viewer, like a happening.
With the unanswered query still pending, the exhibition offers what seems at first undefined images and figures that fill the space with a quiet mystery.
Rit Premnath’s “slumps” are figure-like sculptures that imply the scale of a human body, made of cast foam or tarred rubber. Incapable of holding their own weight, they lean against walls and are propped up by architectural supports. These sculptural forms draw attention to the uneasy relation between a figure and its context, not unlike the struggles migrants face in new and often hostile territory. The artist focuses on two interconnected concerns: the contradiction between the occupation and ownership of space, and the conditions of invisibility and misrecognition that define the migrant experience.
Michal Martychowiec presents a gentler but equally intriguing series of works called Blue. These large format photographs are the answer to the artist’s quest for a view that has remained the same for all the history, the very same view on which our ancestors had looked. A cloudless sky is a view that has always been the same, and yet we know that the blueness of the sky is never really the same. The exact colour of the sky never repeats in a different place or time. Each of the photographs has been taken in a specific part of the world and the artist has chosen to specify their ‘provenance’ with the historical name of every region. Each photograph becomes an entry point to contemplate history and its reverberations in the present.
Hope and resilience seem to guide Premnath’s crawling bodies towards the promise of a blue sky, longing for a better future ahead. After all, migrations, whether forced or not, have always been built upon the utopian dream of a safe place. Yet blue is arguably the most immaterial of all colours and, in this case, is a record of an empty space. So where are they really heading? Who owns the sky? Where, and to whom, does this nothingness belong?
Nothing but blue sky.
Artists Michal Martychowiec, Sreshta Rit Premnath