Ines Doujak “Masterless Voices”


The exhibition “Masterless Voices” is Ines Doujak’s first individual show in Poland. Doujak studied Textiles at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, but she quickly abandoned traditional crafts in favour of art, inspired by the native peoples of South America and their belief that textiles are bearers of cultural knowledge.

The body is another significant area of interest for her, in particular the body as a cultural construct which is at the same time subject to abrasive influences from the political and social sphere as well as from different ideologies. Doujak’s reflections on the skin (as an external veneer) and the hermetic world of fashion are an extension of this train of thought; the artist sows confusion in that world, employing the latter’s own devices including fabrics, clothing and the fashion show.

At the exhibition in Bunkier Sztuki Gallery, collages from her series “Skins” will be presented, which make use of educational posters and a medical atlas from the beginning of the 20th century. In the collages, the artist associates the human body with plants and animals, constructing “hybrid creatures”. Ines Doujak believes that skin changes and rare diseases bring us closer to the primal world of plants and animals, and in fact are emanations of the latter. She’s also interested in poisonous and hallucinogenic plants, using them in the same away as early peoples – to push the limits of the mind and body.

Under the rubric “Not Dressed for Conquering” – which rejects the label “power dressing” that’s ubiquitous in pop-culture today – we’ll see works playing with concepts of high and low art, and we’ll look at fashion as a global business, examining its roots (literally) embedded in cutting up and stitching things together, i.e. “Haute Couture”.

 

 

“Every crisis is an opportunity”, the looters’ anthem asserts, and we can rest assured their angry, masterless voices are not going to die down. Those enraged and relentless “vandals” of social order board its stage and stand in the forefront, like a raging vanguard. Ready to steal instead of defending – not unlike Gibraltar’s daring street monkeys – as they carry shoes, bags and armfuls of clothes torn off the racks in the nearest boutique. This colourful rabble means disobedient and rebellious crowds, unleashed force exercising its rights, class second to none when it comes to awareness of structured exploitation in societies today. Noise is their weapon – racket is their arms. Can you hear their song? Let them greet you at the show!

Follow them into the realm of textiles, patterns, “haute couture” and mass-manufactured clothing. Meet the industrial women soldiers on the front of globalised production, trade, rule and violence affairs, hidden from your sight, locked in mean factories somewhere within the bounds and confines of the Global South. See how the filthy secrets of glittering and gadget-packed private jet lifestyles begin to surface, from fires and arsons in textile plants to neoliberal forms of exploitation and shameless abuse of female workforce in sewing halls. Let colony-like employment relationships, in vogue nowadays as much as in the times of conquest, introduce you to the traditions of Andean fabrics; to Dapper Dan, a New York-based tailor who dressed the brightest hip hop stars of the eighties; to geometrical military camouflage; and to the power of transgression induced by carnival as celebration.

“Masterless Voices” makes Ines Doujak’s (born 1959 in Klagenfurt, Austria) first solo show in Poland. The artist’s practices, inspired by indigenous South American peoples’ belief that textiles are carriers of knowledge, history and cultural memory, decipher all sorts of truths concealed in the world of fashion, related to gender, class, race and colonialism. “Fashion is rooted in “haute couture”, which is literally cutting and sewing up pieces of cloth”, she explains, turning our attention to the centuries-old tradition of perceiving fabric as work of women’s craft. The monumental cycle titled “Not Dressed for Conquering”, consisting of video pieces, installations, collages, textiles and clothing collections, features the global fashion business as the protagonist. For fabrics and clothes are a commodity so ridiculously common and so freely available today that any remembrance of their production processes and manufacturing conditions is wiped out as we choose to remain comfortably innocent.