Domestic Animals

Domestic Animals presents the works of local artists and artists of the younger generation, for whom the common denominator is the personal nature of the work. The exhibition is an attempt to diagnose the situation of contemporary artists whose artistic activities are focused on their experiences, thoughts and immediate surroundings. Their works reflect a longing for the body, materiality and rootedness in space. The artists being shown are selected participants of the first two editions of the SEJSMOGRAF project, held at the Bunkier Sztuki Gallery in the years 2016 and 2017.

The titular domestic animals are the opposite of Aristotle’s zoon politikon – political animals. The idiosyncratic nature of the artists’ work causes them not to engage in public life, rejecting the utilitarian function of art. It may ostensibly seem that they are acting in a way that is contrary to what is contemporary, logical and efficient, and their actions are unnecessary and meaningless. Meanwhile, reluctant to build a utopia, they are focused primarily on the exploration of their everyday life. Separated from reality, they deal with the endless need to create, creating ever new “unnecessary entities” – products of a particular sensitivity and desire for materiality.

They are flâneurs of the winding streets of their own minds. They travel to distant, non-existent places in their own invented worlds, examining them carefully with the accuracy of cartographers, geographers, naturalists, astronomers. They withdraw to the quiet of their studios, to realize there the work of imagination and dreams in the face of an excess of technology, incentives and expectations. On the one hand, they yearn for a different, new world, while on the other they defend themselves against the one outside the window.

The works in the exhibition create a narrative about the privacy and personal microcosms of the young artists. The works function as diaries documenting the activity of the artists in the real world and the virtual. They deal with intimate topics, raising questions about emotions and relations with other people or the environment. Some of the works have a bigger effect on the senses, evoking a sensation of pleasure or tension. Others in turn deal with the question of physical presence in space. For these individual histories, the gallery space acts as a secure laboratory, enabling artists to cultivate passion, realize dreams and contemplate gestures. For viewers, it creates a set of exercises for the imagination, encouraging them to change their way of thinking and perceiving.