This semester my MFA program is focused on internationalism. One of the projects we are working on is selecting a top 10 category based on our interests and then discovering the artists to fill that number. My personal top 10 centers around artists working with narrative in their work, but not only this. For an artist to make my top 10, narrative is the beginning of the idea, from there I am interested in those who are collaborating with either other artists or communities or histories or what ever. By this I mean that the work can not be just of the artists creation. The story they are telling must be significantly influenced by someone or something outside themselves, so that they arrive in a place different from where they would have gone on their own. The last criteria is that the artist use technology in some way to help tell that story. Either as a means of dissemination or within the work itself.
The method for my search will be organic an intuitive. My job is to keep my eyes open to the channels that are open to me, from there I will be inspired or even hijacked as happened today, to tell the story of a particular artist.
So then I offer great thanks to cfile http://www.cfileonline.org for their post on Monika Patuszynska today. Patuszynska is a Polish artist who’s work over the last few years has focused on a project called Bastards and Orphans. For this project the artist visits derelict ceramic factories where she sifts through the piles of decaying factory molds to cast her bastards and orphans. An orphan is an object that cast from the molds she finds in the factory with no intervention on her part other than the discovery. These molds have been corroded by elements and time which add dramatically to the forms that come come them. A Bastard comes from the same molds but has been joined to other pieces from other molds.
In my original statement for my top 10 I said I was interested in artists that were making work that disrupted the quiet , clean world of the gallery and had a presence that could be heard outside that protected space. I did not include that in my statement here because this is some of the finest gallery work I have seen. Its not that I have changed my mind on this point, but somehow Patuszynska has taught me better. The process of making is a rough dirty business as you will easily see if you take the time to watch the videos, but what comes from that dirty and dangerous project is of the finest art.
These videos are beautifully produced and so mysterious. When I first watched them I had never heard of her and felt compelled to discover more of the work being made. The films serve as a vehicle for the artist to include the safari through the old factories as part of the work without bringing that aspect into the gallery shows, this allows they complex and evocative forms to speak for them selves without forcing the narrative on their shoulders. With the film, what is made from the old stacks of molds remains hidden, just as the deterioration of the objects in the gallery remains unknown until the viewer investigates. This use of the film medium exactly compliments to aesthetic of the objects so that neither becomes more important than the other and both are servant to the larger story of end of factories throughout Europe.
The artists web site is also very well considered. She transcends the language barrier for an international art beautifully, both by offering multiple languages as the first choice on the page, but also by refraining from labeling every button. Rather the viewer is allowed a treasure hunt of their own, to first find the buttons and then to follow them to discover the work.
Here are additional links to past articles from cfile, worth the read.