Crooked Circle

14 Jun - 19 Jul 2008

© Michał Budny
Untitled (Untrue), 2008
11 x 40 x 11 cm, 6 x 64 x 16 cm, 39 x 19,5 cm

Saturday, 14 June 2008, 18.00-21.00. Exhibition open through 19 July 2008

Agata Bogacka
Michał Budny
Rafał Bujnowski
Aneta Grzeszykowska & Jan Smaga

The show's title should be taken literally. Crooked Circle is a strictly formalistic presentation of works whose visual meaning is based on an analysis of a basic geometric figure - the circle. It is for a purpose however that the circle, written by the artists into the rectangular Raster exhibition space, is crooked. Geometry serves here to filter the artists' personal obsessions concerning art, form, their own practice, but also emotions, Abstract at first glance, the pieces allude in fact to real places, objects, motifs, concepts (Budny's Untrue) or materials, such as in a painting by Bujnowski (Lamp Black is the name of a paint used to make it). It is formalism, therefore, but one full of references, including to avant-garde artistic traditions (Bogacka's photograms), but also to other, 'realistic', pieces by the artists themselves. Formalism is a method here, an attempt to create a language devoid of moral-carrying stories and post-conceptual games. Crooked Circle used this language, reemployed here in a slightly 'crooked' manner, to relate the nature of the artistic process - on the artist side as well as on the audience side.
The exhibition's title should be taken literally. Crooked Circle is a reference to the famous Warsaw gallery Krzywe Koło, affiliated with the Staromiejski Dom Kultury culture centre between 1955-1965, at that time the most high-profile venue in Poland promoting abstract art, a focal point for a milieu of avant-garde artists and critics. All major Polish artists from the late 1950s and early 1960s exhibited at Krzywe Koło.
Still, despite some formal similarities, the current Raster show presents a wholly different artistic and historical moment. Viewed from the perspective of Raster's own history and that of the affiliated artists, it has a special significance, because it documents a change in the way they construct their artistic statements. With Crooked Circle, Raster enters a new, abstract-geometric period. The participating artists, well known and often associated with a narrative and realistic artistic idiom, reveal here, independently of each other, but all at the same time, a different arsenal of formal means - experimenting with geometry, light, texture. The pieces shown in Crooked Circle (all, with one exception, made over the course of last year) analyse the formal dimension of the work of art, the illusive structure of a sculpted object, a painted or photographic picture. In this sense, they shift the reality debate to a new, more fundamental level, clearly emphasising art's creative power. Art is not a mirror of the visible world here, but rather an innovative, imagination-engaging laboratory of 'crooked circles' thanks to which the story can suddenly take a completely unexpected turn.
The show's title should therefore be taken literally. Crooked Circle is another circle made by art that closes itself at starting point, but it also describes - with a line twisted here and there - a wholly new field of excitement.

Tags: Agata Bogacka, Michał Budny, Aneta Grzeszykowska, Jan Smaga