Disappointment Island at Griffin Art Space

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Artists: Martin Erik Andersen, Giulia Cenci, David Flaugher, Benjamin Hirte, Bill Jenkins, Piotr Łakomy, Rolf Nowotny, Laure Prouvost, Piotr Skiba, Michael E. Smith

Exhibition title: Disappointment Island

Curated by: Stereo, Warsaw

Venue: Griffin Art Space, Warsaw, Poland

Date: September 24 – October 15, 2016

Photography: images copyright and courtesy of the artists, Griffin Art Space and Galeria Stereo, Warsaw

South of New Zealand, on the Auckland archipelago, lies tiny Disappointment Island. From our perspective in Europe it is the proverbial end of the world, and thus potentially the perfect subject for some travel fantasies. But the direct name for this uninhabited island, not devoid of literary values, is reminiscent of Bob Dylan’s “It Ain’t Me Babe”. The island somehow sings, “I’m not the one you want, babe / I’ll only let you down.” This same song is quoted by Jan Verwoert, who proposes disappointment as the basis for an experiment in ethics: “Imagine if, in a crucial moment when a role is assigned, a job appointed, and the requisite behaviour assumed, we had the guts to say: “Wait! What you expect me to do or be is something I cannot possibly fulfill. (…) I can’t give you what you want.” This is a heartfelt, but terrible, confession. “So,” concludes Verwoert, “to keep alive the illusion that there are still things to aspire to, we need a steady supply of smoke and mirrors. Aspiring cultures thrive on unfulfilled yearnings.” In this context, Disappointment Island appears as a natural monument to dystopia: it does not fit within the logic of progress, it dissents from the dynamic of satisfaction and it creates an impasse in the course of the world. And yet it breathes with an ambiguous charm, as if refusing to meet expectations, but still intriguing. It is an island of castaways.

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Piotr £akomy, Untitled (Triple Room), 2016

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Piotr £akomy, Untitled (Triple Room), 2016 (detail)

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Bill Jenkins, Clock 2, 2016

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Rolf Nowotny, Pinocchio Leaves (Oak), 2013

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Laure Prouvost, Drunk Shovel, 2015

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Michael E. Smith, Untitled, 2015

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Benjamin Hirte, oO, 2014

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David Flaugher, Dad’s Hobbies And Free Time Activities, 2016

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Martin Erik Andersen, Leviathan / Sepik, 2016

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Piotr Skiba, Untitled (Spinnytailed lizard), 1980-2016

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Giulia Cenci, Bianco Bagnato, 2014

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