exhibition of Antonina Joszczuk
curatorial co-operation: Mika Drozdowska
SiC! BWA Wrocław Gallery, Poland
For Antonina Joszczuk dreams are certainly part of reality, mirages of fears suppressed in the waking life, of worries and everyday struggles. But they are also a liberation from norms and social rules. They distort and transform the artist’s daily life into phantasmagorical visions, in which everyone can become anyone, everyone can do and see anything, perhaps even too much. As Antoni Kępiński wrote, “The day is the rule of reason and sense, the night is the reign of mystery, wild passion, ecstasy, illumination and dread”.
As a little girl, the artist had to face the power of her own subconscious mind. Her dreams were never easy, they destroyed the order of reality. The unyielding visions from the borderline of wakefulness and sleep, often terrifying and grotesque, slowly became an impulse to confront their realm. “I befriended them”, says Tośka. The relationship became the only way to accept the fact that while asleep she is ruled by powers stronger than her conscious self. The exhibition Out of Control at SiC! BWA Wrocław Gallery is a way of reflecting dreams from the artist’s notes, dreams that she has been cataloguing for years. The resulting artworks are sometimes attempts to express the peculiar atmosphere of dreams, and sometimes their attributes, elements and characters become their starting points. Depending on the nature of a particular dream, Antonina looks for an appropriate technique of expression.
The projection of the artist’s dreams becomes a specific stage setting which creates a potently receptive context. Every work can be viewed separately, but together they form a strikingly unique installation taking us to the world of Antonina’s imagination. In it, pools of glass spill out onto the floor, black-and-white glass cocoons infect the space, sprouting out of unexpected nooks and crannies, and modules hanging down from the ceiling protect those delicate and personal phantasmagorias, lifting the veil of secrecy. And hiding them at the same time from the unsuspecting real world. Somewhere in the corner appears a black mound of glass coal with billows of artificial clouds hovering above it. In the visual notes, Wojtuś is called a faggot and Grandad has risen from the dead. They dissect us from reality to leave us eye to eye with a black-and-white autonomous universe resembling surrealist designs of the first cinematic avant-garde or a precise, expressive, disturbing simulacrum made from scratch in the Brothers Quay animated convention.
How to express the atmosphere or nature of dreams verbally? Is our language sufficient for such a task? Are its features, like e.g. polysemy, capable of reflecting the dreamy aura? Or perhaps the only way to show the scale and boundlessness of our imagination is through visual means? An Andalusian Dog, Luis Bunuel and Salvador Dali’s outstanding film is a visual expression of dreams of two great artists for whom a mere story of themselves would not do justice to their real internal perceptions.
We often hear “I’ll tell you my dream”. And most of us even listen, except we don’t understand much. A dream, which is a projection in itself, would benefit from being seen rather than told. In this way, through a visual experience, we would get closer to understanding the incomprehensible.
graphic design: Kamila Widz