All Familiar Characters
In June, the Studio BWA Wrocław gallery will hold a solo exhibition by Karolina Freino. Join us for a presentation that calls our attention to the problem of human exploitation of the planet, abuse and unequal treatment of nature.
The hypnotic film image created by Karolina Freino explores themes concerning the violent and irreversible transformation of our planet into a state beyond our comprehension. Employing the motif of a mullein torch, the artist makes references to pre-Christian rituals and beliefs. Dziewanna (Polish for mullein) was the name of a Slavic goddess of nature, the equivalent of the Greek Artemis. The herb is also charged with solar and vitality-related symbolism, and associated with primordial relations between humans and nature. Nevertheless, the fire consuming vegetation evokes images of a catastrophic end and conflagration.
The video installation was inspired by the last page of the herbarium created by Rosa Luxemburg during her time in prison in Wrocław’s Kleczków district (1917-1918). Dried mullein leaves were placed on a sheet of paper with a description stating that they came from the prison yard. The economist and activist for Polish and German social democracy was known mainly for her political work, but her deepest and truest passion was botany. During the time in prison, she tried to find solace and a semblance of contact with nature in the work on the herbarium. Her publications and speeches dealt mainly with the social inequalities generated by capitalism, and in her letters to friends she often addressed this inequality and exploitation of the natural environment. She showed concern for her natural surroundings, observing the negative impact of industry and human activity on animal and plant life as early as the beginning of the 20th century. The title of the exhibition refers to a passage from a note she wrote to her friend Sophie Liebknecht. Luxemburg called the trees and bushes in the nearby park “familiar characters”, thus providing them with a symbolic subjectivity.
About the artist:
- Karolina Freino – born in 1978. She studied sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Wrocław, Edinburgh College of Art (School of Sculpture) and Bauhaus-Universität in Weimar (MFA in Public Art and New Artistic Strategies). Assistant professor at the Department of Sculpture and Art Mediation of the Academy of Fine Arts in Wrocław. In 2014-2017 she completed her PhD (Faculty of Media Art, Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw / Faculty of Sculpture and Intermedia, Academy of Fine Arts in Gdańsk). She has received scholarships from, i. a., the Alfred Töpfer Stiftung and the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. In her work, she blends diverse media and disciplines – from sculpture, photography, video, performance and sound art to natural materials and physico-chemical phenomena. She is most interested in public space, which she observes with a critical eye and in which she makes unapparent interventions. One could call her a social activist who, while not attempting to introduce radical changes, draws attention to inconvenient, forgotten and hushed-up issues. The majority of Freino’s works are site-specific, set in the context of a given place and time.
- Curator: Joanna Kobyłt
- Exhibition production: Joanna Sokalska
- Realization: Tomasz Koczoń, Michał Perucki, Marcin Szalwa
- Graphic design: Ania Witkowska
- Collaboration with the audience: Czarek Wicher
- Executive producer of the film: Yanki Film
- Pictures: Przemysław Chojnacki, Krystian Stępień, Jakub Stypuła
- Sound: Michał Matusz
- Editing, color grading: Przemysław Chojnacki
- Securing the film set: Volunteer Fire Department in Wisznia Mała
- Environmental consultation: Zygmunt Dajdok, Małgorzata Piszczek
- Honorary patronage: Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Wrocław
- Media patronage: Magazyn SZUM
- Support: Academy of Fine Arts im. Eugeniusz Geppert in Wrocław
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