The Memory and Emotions of Objects

Today, many artists focus on objects of daily use, “poor things”, available non-artistic materials. While the tendency has been rising in Polish art for more than a decade, today we are witness to a shift in the centre of gravity from the research of modernist “remnants” (tying in with a growing interest in the heritage of local variations on international style in architecture) to objects within easy reach: furniture, wallpaper, office materials. The ever more intense interest in the “poor thing”, which “remembers”, “speaks”, “forces” us to act or enters an emotional relationship, is an unquestioned derivative of Leszek Knaflewski's and Mirosław Bałka’s pedagogic activity (work relating to his Otwock homestead can definitely be seen as classic realisations of the trend) and, as well as of the community of artists of the Stereo gallery (formed in Poznań, now operating in Warsaw).

As opposed to pieces formally similar yet basing on the modification of objects found, omnipresent in Berlin or London galleries, Polish artists create “warmer”, more emotional works rooted in their own biographies. In a search for reference in art history, they ought to be connected to traditions of the ready-made or assemblage, and of surrealism rather than of minimalism. In a broader context, the issue might be perceived as an “illustration” of matter-related interests in social studies: research of objects which do not remain passive in their relation to humans, but have their own biographies and survival strategies, as well as a tendency to model our behaviours.