NOT ALL THAT VISIBLY
—curatorial text accompanying the exhibition
Not All That Visibly
22 May—3 Jun, CCA Zamek Ujazdowski,
“The destructive force of the quotation is the only one
in which there is still hope for something from this time
and space to be preserved—for it is taken out of it.
"Not All That Visibly" is a presentation of the most recent works by Kama Sokolnicka. In the project the artist focuses on the motifs generally important in her artistic output while also introducing a new material constituting the subject of her reflection and search. She is interested in the analysis of the concepts of territory, place, mechanisms of memory, opacity and perception of space. In her works she skilfully uses collage, quotation and editing techniques, as well as suspense. For the interpretation purposes she also adapts Sigmund Freud’s concept of the unconscious.
The starting point for the exhibition entitled "Not All That Visibly" is a cycle of collages made on paper We came from beyond (2011/2012). In a light, sometimes playful way Sokolnicka constructs in them situations pointing to a clash of two types of order, i.e. the one from “here” and from “there”, the real world and its shadow. Being something out of the ordinary the clash raises anxiety. The collage technique, so willingly applied by the artist, seems to be a perfect tool for the subjective reconstruction of fragmentary information, pieces of still preserved memories, unexpected change of contexts. Her black and white collages are mainly based on the materials from her family collection of post-war, mostly German illustrated magazines from the 1950s-1970s. Sokolnicka recognises and uses the resemblance between the collage and structure, and the organisation of memory and imagination.
A new series of works prepared especially for the exhibition "Not All That Visibly" comprises collages and drawings inspired by archival photos from the Museum of the Castle and Military Hospital at Ujazdów. Original photos depict fragments of hospital interiors, document medical procedures and everyday life of the hospital personnel and patients. The artist referred to this material to present her reflections upon the presence and disappearance of traces, as well as to connect things that can be experienced with the metaphysical ones. Sokolnicka’s works constitute subtle operations and artistic procedures which stress the nature of the “invisible,” follow the relation between what exists and what remains hidden, or between what exists now and what is already gone. One can experience the substance of the archival photos, memories, historical facts and emotions connected with them. That time is gone together with its witnesses. The only thing that is left are their traces and our ability and capacity to read them. Sokolnicka covers them, puts shades on them, paints them black—she places marks which point out our acts of “not-noticing,” denial, memory blackouts, thus making invisible, questioning the illusion of memory and its reconstruction tools.
The photos may also be perceived as traces of death preserving the look-alike images of both persons and spaces. Thus, the viewer is confronted with the phantom of the past, the communication with which takes place through our memory known to be frail and imperfect.