Artist: Anna Bąk
Exhibition title: 9 minutes
Venue: Pracownia Portretu, Łódź, Poland
Date: February 20 – March 13, 2015
Photography: Courtesy of the artist and Pracownia Portretu
The ideal way to introduce this exhibition is not with a precise description of the items which we are about to consider, but would probably be a haiku about a sleepless night spent on a plane (or about the sound of a petrol tank exploding). Thus, the thought which accompanies a viewing (and which is remembered after a viewing) could be written in one, poetic sentence. The film (which is shown in one of the rooms) achieves the same with someone singing and a started car engine taken out of its “natural” shell, a car’s body-work. The objects on view in the main room of the gallery give the impression of having been left after an explosion. As if they have been pulled apart and then put back together in a completely new configuration, part planned, partly by chance. The marks of usage which have been left on these items (and which clearly give this work its character) tell us very little about their past, and so the viewer’s task is analogous to that of investigators who have to decipher the contents of an aircraft’s black box.
As described by Nicolas Bourriad, such a personal interpretation of the present moment created by digging through the past is one way of reinterpreting symbols which we are faced with and which bring with them a suggestion of past history. Indeed, what links all the elements in the main room with the other room (with the installation based on the projected film) is one element, a small round object which has been made on a factory conveyor belt (rather than by hand), and is now mis-shapen and partly burnt. The object comes from the burned-out car which is visible for just a moment in the film. It is the emblem of the company which made the car, an emblem which bejewelled the bonnet of a luxury Mercedes until the car was turned into a charred wreck. In the next shot, in a place which resembles a workshop, we see the car’s started engine, which shivers like something being experimented on as it lies on an operating table, and which comes to life before our eyes. In that moment, we are watching a freeing of energy; there is euphoria and, at the same time, fear of what may result from that energy.