The tradition of Wrocław’s SIC! BWA Wrocław Gallery is closely linked to glass and ceramics. The history of the venue and its exhibitions has always been connected with the artistic circles of the city, as well as the Academy of Fine Arts in Wrocław and its Faculty of Ceramics and Glass. Glass itself, as an artistic medium, is for SIC!BWA Wrocław Gallery a starting point, both for exhibitions and more complex projects. Here, glass is not only a material but also a medium for raising issues and problems characterising our modern times, and it is this tradition that inspired Transparency, an exhibition presenting four artists from Berlin.
Transparency is defined as a material’s ability to conduct light, and the properties of glass – conduction, permeability or diffusion – are the main theme of the exhibition. They are, however, approached in a non-literal, indirect way here, becoming a mere starting point for the artists and their individual ways of understanding the subject matter in the context of the SIC! BWA Wrocław Gallery and its history. The exhibition concentrates on the visual perception and reception of dynamic optical processes. The artists use the properties and characteristics of glass, but the process and development of physical phenomena is analysed by means of various, not necessarily traditional, media and materials.
The reflection on the perception of reality which affects us by means of various stimuli begins with the human eye. In their works, the artists show how unreliable and imprecise it is in reception as well as visual interpretation of the world surrounding us. The viewers will often feel a sense of illusion and surprise when visiting the exhibition. At times the primary image will pass through a number of subsequent filters or layers of artistic interaction. Another deliberate technique is the use of non-standard materials whose physical properties might at first sight appear to have little to do with transparency.
The invited artists all live and work in Berlin, but each of them represents a different approach to art and different creative fields. In their artistic work they often raise diverse subjects and use various media, ranging from photography and drawing to sculpture and site-specific installations. A similarly heterogeneous approach may be seen in their treatment of the exhibition’s main theme: transparency. Works selected for the exhibition are meant to encourage the viewers to discover their own, individual connection between the matter and final perception of a work of art.
Apart from the main SIC! BWA Wrocław Gallery, the Transparency exhibition annexes a back room and basement space it leads to. They are perfect places to present works by the sixth artist from Berlin – Edith Kollath. In her artistic practice, she combines the unpredictability of natural phenomena with the programmed mechanics of appliances. The artist is particularly interested in the dynamics and movement of objects. By means of self-made mechanisms, she sets immobile objects in motion. However, the most interesting thing is the final result: the movement, even though planned and defined, seems natural and spontaneous. Kollath’s two installations are complemented by a selection of drawings, in which the artist experiments with the properties of non-painting tools. By means of adhesive tape on black sheets of paper, she manages to achieve the effect of a damaged pane of glass. In the space leading to the basement, the artist will set up a new dynamic installation, making use of movement and permeation of layers. In the underground room, she will be working on light, with lit bulbs whose movement illustrates one of the fundamental laws of physics – conversion of potential energy to kinetic energy.
Each of the artists presents a different attitude to the subject matter and uses different, often contrasting media. However, juxtaposing such varied artistic approaches will turn the SIC! BWA Wrocław Gallery space into a network of cross-references and fields of dialogue, with the works complementing each other. In the context of the exhibition, the eponymous transparency, a physical property of glass, inspires to reflect on the perception of material reality – tangible objects and fragments of the surrounding world – but also on the way we perceive ourselves and the times we live in. The purity (czystość) in the Polish title of the exhibition is often blurred and lost in the excess of visual stimuli, or deliberately taken away in order to change our perception. And it is precisely thanks to the incompletely “transparent”, if not deformed, vision that we manage to see art from a different, less obvious perspective.
curator: Paulina Olszewska
artists: Vanessa Enriquez, Hannah Gieseler Monika Goetz, Johanna Jaeger, Edith Kollath, Alanna Lawley
graphic design: Grupa Projektor
parthner of the exhibition: Goethe-Institut
Special thanks to COLLECTIVA gallery and SCHWARZ CONTEMPORARY for help with implementation of the exhibition.