Cezary Poniatowski at Fonderia Battaglia

Artist: Cezary Poniatowski

Exhibition title: Heavy Silence

Venue: Fonderia Battaglia, Milan, Italy

Date: November 18 – 19, 2021

Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and Fonderia Battaglia, Milan

A bulky opalescent object laying still in front of disoriented eyes. It recalls a shield, a piece of a sandstone or a rare type of bronze gong. One may feel an unbearable nerve of awaiting the action of somebody who would know how and when to use it. The permanent temporariness of our times does not appreciate such forgotten powers.

In his project for Open Studio at Battaglia Foundry, Cezary Poniatowski focused on the motive of a gong, one of the simplest forms of metal music instrument and a tool, almost as old as the discovery of bronze itself. The first gongs have been traced back to around 3000 BC in Mesopotamia — they were originally used to summon peasant farmers from the fields. Through the years and many civilisations, gongs have been used for essentially the same purposes: to make announcements, to accompany life’s events or to raise alarms in the face of threats. Gongs served an important role in prophesying at ancient Greek oracles. In Tibet their function expanded to be a key part of meditation, the altering of consciousness and spiritual development. The gong has later become a part of the modern symphony orchestra, often used to convey a feeling of drama, fear, or surprise. It has never lost its sense of mystery and ceremony.

The mute gong cannot properly sound off, it may only happen potentially, in fact, it remains silent. The ambience of presented scene aims to resonate with the never-ending crisis modern man faces despite the apparent progress of societies. The passiveness of waiting for the gong to be rung denotes naive cravings for clear answers, safety, and guidance.