Mediations Biennale


03 - 30 Oct 2008

3 – 30 October 2008

Curators: Lorand Hegyi, Gu Zhenqing and Yu Yeon Kim.

”That which is, is there, that which isn’t – is there too.”

Mediation begins to become extraordinary only when knowledge and intuitive insight allow us to assume the existence of everything. I often ask myself whether an emerging concept is a new entity, or whether it is just a symptom of a thing that is probable, of an idea inaccessible so far. If so, then knowledge needs another chapter on ideas that were given a name.

And yet our vision of the world divided into here – at hand, and there – in infinity and now – at this very moment and then – in eternity, has always been confronted with simultaneous questions regarding the dimensions parallel to us: on matter and anti-matter, or the so-called black matter.* Recently, the national daily broadsheet “Rzeczpospolita” published an article with an intriguing title “The universe chose matter”. And we read that “ the moment of the Big Bang the amounts of matter and anti-matter were equal”.

I would like to see Mediations Biennale ask questions about Central European identity, perceiving them in a context of cultural attitudes of other continents, the world’s art, and the widest reality. The artist’s freedom results from his/her uninhibited honesty towards himself/herself, from asking questions that are emotional, intuitive, personal, apparently absurd, and from the courage of saying things aloud. Mediations Biennale attempts a dialogue about reality from our, Central European perspective, and on the soil of our sensitivity.
The axis of the Mediations Biennale is determined by a dialogue of two exhibitions.

The first: “Corporeal/Technoreal” refers to the human being in the contemporary, globalizing world. The human, still an element of nature, is becoming an organism subjugated by new technologies, an instrument and part of a system transcending the borders of countries and continents. Yu Yeon Kim living simultaneously in New York and Seoul, observes the world from this broad perspective. Under the umbrella of global reflection, the exhibition “Voyage Sentimental” delves into the European microcosm, particularly that of Central Europe, defined in a variety of ways, from different perspectives: the Republic of Poland’s “from sea to sea”, Austrian-Hungarian Monarchy, the division decided at Yalta or contemporary Europe adapting to the rules of global market dealing in diverse values. Searching for one’s identity is no longer related solely to the description of geographical location, language group, ethnic background, religion, or social class. Officially more then 800 satellites orbiting around earth (of which half are American satellites) constitute, as it were, another, eighth continent, whose presence in our reality in more marked than that of other continents.

A continent through which our thoughts flow across to other hemispheres of the globe but simultaneously an entity subjecting us to permanent surveillance and objectification. Jill Bennett from the College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales, uses the term migration aesthetics suggesting the existence of a common language of artists being in permanent motion, anticipating and creating art which has its roots everywhere, but at the same time does not actually represent any culture. This is nothing new in this part of Europe. Robert Musil, an Austrian novelist, predicts the attitude of the 21st century European by naming him the man without qualities (Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften – written in 1930-1943). T.S. Eliot calls him/her the hollow man, an inhabitant of the Wasted Land.

An exhibition of Chinese art entitled “Identity and Tolerance”, and a Japanese event “Progress or Backwardness” provide the Far Eastern context, whose importance nowadays cannot be understated. During the recent years China have devaluated many of the notions we may have cherished about the world order. As the Jiang Zhi’s “Onward! Onward! Onward!” emphatically suggests, the ceaseless drive to success is deeply rooted in the Confucian vision of the world, in which the man of success is the one who attains salvation. I frequently encountered Chinese stating “now it’s our time”. Japan, living by the spirit of Shinto philosophy, has greatest respect for the world teeming with gods (there are 8 million of them, which symbolically means very many). In the Central European understanding, and using a paraphrased title of Jerzy Andrzejewski’s 1948 novel, which became the basis for Wajda’s film, one does not know which will remain of it all: Ash or Diamond?

Tomasz Wendland
Mediations Biennale Poznań Director

* The nature of the dark matter has not been examined in experimental research. The theoretical conjectures presume that, similarly to matter, it consist of particles. These were defined as “supersymmetrical”, and a theoretical model assumes their number to be equal to the number of common particles. Thus, each known elementary particle would have its supersymmetrical counterpart with specific properties.

Lorand Hegyi – Voyage Sentimental

Director of Musée d'Art Moderne in Saint-Étienne, is one of the most important European curators and art historians. For years, he viewed Central European art from the perspective of Vienna, where he was director of Ludwig Museum. In 1993, he was co-curator of the Biennale in Venice, in 1995 – director of the Sculpture Triennial in Stuttgart, in 2003 – curator of the Biennale in Valencia. In 2006, he was Artistic Director of 48th October Salon in Belgrade. His latest exhibition, ”Micro Narratives” /Musée d'Art Moderne in Saint-Étienne/, featured works by 80 artists, mainly from the Balkan and Mediterranean regions.

Hegyi is also a recognised critic, who specialises in modern and contemporary art of Central and Eastern Europe, as well as author of numerous publications on contemporary art and cultural criticism /e.g. New Sensibility – Change of Paradigm in Contemporary Art, Budapest, 1993; Roman Opalka's Places, Prestel, 2000; The Courage to Be Alone – Re-inventing of Narratives in Contemporary Art, Charta, 2004/.

Gu Zhenqing - Identity and Tolerance

Lives and works in Beijing and Shanghai. In 2003-2005, he was Principal Curator of Shanghai Duolun Museum of Modern Art, 2006-2007 – Principal Curator and Managing Director of Zhu Qizhan Art Museum. Since 2007, he has been editor-in-chief of Visual Production magazine. In 2004, he was Director, and in 2008 member of the jury of the Chinese Contemporary Art Award.

Yu Yeon Kim - Corporeal / Technoreal

Based in New York and Seoul, independent curator, founder of DMZ_KOREA and DMZ_Worldwide /Demilitarized Zone/. In 1994, she co-founded PLEXUS Art Communication, a non-profit Internet-based artistic organization. Curator and commissioner of numerous well-known international exhibitions of contemporary art, incl. Liverpool Biennial, 2004; 3rd Gwangju Biennale, 2000; Five Continents and One City, Mexico City, 1998; Johannesburg Biennale, 1997-98, she has had her presentations shown at such venues, as the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin /2001/, or the Queens Museum of Art in New York /2002/.

Tags: Roman Opalka, Jiang Zhi