Damian Reniszyn: “Rabbit’s hole”
/ Damian Reniszyn: Rabbit’s hole
13.01 – 19.02.2017
opening: 13.01 (Friday), 6 P.M. / admission free
curated by: Natalia Cieślak
In another moment down went Alice after it, never once considering how in the world she was to get out again.
Lewis Carroll “Alice in Wonderland”
An exhibition entitled “Rabbit’s hole” is a review of latest works by Damian Reniszyn. The artist focuses on exploring alternative pathways of art perception, he also questions the ’untouchability’ of an art object. The works presented at the exhibition relate to the artist’s two main scopes of research: experiencing art through touch, and exploring new technologies.
The quotation, which serves a function of a starting point for this text, comes from Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland”, and it captures an essential thematic line, which weaves through Reniszyn’s works. Holes play an important role here – some of them are found, others are dug out by the artist in his objects – the artist enters into a specific interaction with them: he places inside them his head, or limbs. His actions, just to mention here a performance entitled “Wcisk” [The push-in] (2014) done in public space in Israel, may bring to mind an attempt to follow Alice’s footsteps. She went down the rabbit’s hole, and she found herself in an alternative world, where different rules and unusual logic of events prevailed. The need to momentarily step out of schema; the need to reject fossilised rules of reality (in their various forms) links with an attempt to undertake a risk, it also links with readiness to succumb to consequences difficult to foresee. No-one knows if it would be possible to travel back home safely.
The artist, whose persona appears in most of the presented at the exhibition works, takes the role of a mediator between the viewer and the art object. He is also a trickster who encourages to take a plunge into the artwork – he encourages viewers to engage themselves in a game, which breaks the rules of habit, and which questions the customs of exhibiting institutions. At the exhibition, we have an opportunity to experience art in a variety of ways – through a careful observation, empirical examination, identification and play. Reniszyn turns his works into objects generating experiences rooted not only in perception, but also in touch, or even body movement. A creation of a link between the viewer and an art object, as in “Obiekt do ręki” [Handheld object] (2013), results with an active participation of a viewer in a participatory situation that in turn gives new ways of experiencing aesthetically an artwork.
While the reception of sculpture installations by Reniszyn is based on a direct contact between the viewer and the work, his video works, or new media works play an accent on a dematerialisation of an object functioning beyond the real space. While referring to an aspect of virtuality, which is seen as a characteristic feature of post-internet epoch culture, the artist smoothly moves from the real to the apparent – just like Alice, who abandoned the material world for the one artificially created, if not irrational. In “Zwis” [Slack] (2015), a video which was made in The Centre of Polish Sculpture in Oronsko, the artist plays with the rules of gravitation while at the same time he engages the viewers’ focus in order for them to see almost unnoticeable tremblings in the picture. In his latest works, the artist moves towards computer simulations and visions without physical point of reference. A series entitled “Limited Edition” (2015) is comprised of works created by scanning and 3D printing, the starting point for them is the figure of the artist. In order, for example, to create a miniature sculpture, a self-portrait of an artist dressed in an especially made “Performer’s costume” (2015), his figure was scanned and transformed into a database. The database was later used to create a small figure (a few centimetres tall), but also it was used to create files, which were necessary to generate digital images with the artist’s likeness. In Self-portraits the body image is flattened. It is dismembered, broken into fragments and ‘squeezed’ into black background. Shapes and contours of the face, hands, legs and torso are deformed – and thus the very idea of a self-portrait is negated since its very nature is to preserve the memory of the person’s look.
Damian Reniszyn (born in 1989) – graduated in 2014 from the Faculty of Sculpture and Space Activities at the University of Arts in Poznan, Poland. Presently, he is a PhD student at the same university (Interdisciplinary PhD Programme; Multimedia Communication Faculty). He is a lecturer at the School of Form in Poznań. He works in sculpture, creates objects, uses photography, and he creates video-performances. In his works, he pays attention to the aspect of perceiving art through touch. He analyses seemingly meaningless and unnecessary situations in order to turn them into a starting point for creating objects. He lives and works in Warsaw.