Exhibition at Galeria Milano (1994)

MY TEXT 1/1994

I’ve been experiencing a strange feeling lately that opening new exhibitions is something absurd and ridiculous. Like flexing one’s muscles at a bodybuilding show or vocal displays ‘at my aunt’s on my name day’ It’s scribbling on canvas or whatever and creating ooooooobjects of art that carry no concrete meaning or practical consequences ….

How to relate this to our reality? How do we rescue something of our own, something real, in this bigotry of sectarian social-entertainment events that our vernissages are becoming.

Absurdly, however, I still constantly find something in art that keeps me awake.

It is never, however, anything that has anything to do with the concrete of reality. All literary content, all programmes and ideologies have been boring to me in art. Because, either exaggerated in their ‘congenial intellectuality they created a prosthesis for poor quality visual products, or the over-complex art became an illustration (label) of an ideology or philosophy. In both cases it was the pro-duction of bland artistic pap.

Art should deal with problems that lie beyond the concreteness of our everyday lives. Right now, it is extremely important for it to stand up to the powerful dictates of media hyper-reality. Only rhythm and relativity can, in my opinion, give art quality.

The concept of rhythm in art is quite difficult to define. It is not about that rhythm, which in music is defined by note values and bar division. Rather, it is the ability to set tempo and dynamics based on the score. Something that, apart from technique, determines the brilliance of some musicians. They refer to it as – timing. The term applies not only to jazz, but paradoxically also to visual arts, theatre, cinema and even literature Rhythm (timing} is the meat of all the arts.

Kurt Schwitters said that art is just rhythm and nothing more. I think. that artists who know what rhythm is already achieve something of great value, but a higher value is only given to art by understanding what relativity is. In contemporary physics, this is well defined by the principle of indeterminacy, which relativises the whole concrete of our view of reality.

 A very important function of art is to relativise form in such a way that the created -picture, with its rhythmic consistency, is not flat and unambiguous (homogeneous). It should create multiple entities that relativise all direct references to a given time and place. I call the products of art that meet these conditions multi-ist art. This art, unlike primitively unambiguous activities, does not give any concrete answers. It levitates on the periphery of reality. It usually begins where reality ends It can exist in many different contexts, at different times and in different places.

This does not mean, however, that I advocate only art without content, where only abstracted form counts. It is the content, sometimes even the sensu stricto literary content, that can give rhythm to the form or relativise it. Thus, absolute realism can give a work of art a many-sidedness, while abstract form can reach a state of flat homogeneity, like a pattern on wallpaper. And vice versa.

So it is not the content that is important, nor the form, but the rhythm and relativism. Art without these qualities, for me, is not art.

After the deaths of Kantor and Lutosławski, does anyone else in Poland know what Witkacy and Gombrowi-cz were about? Apart from the works of these artists, is it possible to see, hear, how rhythm and relativity function in art beyond styles and time?

I would like to dedicate my exhibition at the Milano gallery to these two brilliant artists.