Contemporary Museum Wroclaw “The day is too short”

The day is not enough

Contemporary Museum Wroclaw, Director: Dorota Monkiewicz

Partner: Galeria BWA Sokół in Nowy Sącz
The exhibition is part of the Lower Silesian Art Festival OKiS
Curated by Magdalena Ujma
Coordinated by Agnieszka Chodysz

Artists:

Azorro, Basia Bańda, Wojciech Bąkowski, Agata Bogacka, Monika Drożyńska, Pola Dwurnik, Aneta Grzeszykowska, Elżbieta Jabłońska, Zuzanna Janin, Łukasz Jastrubczak & Małgorzata Mazur,Katarzyna Józefowicz, Katarzyna Kozyra, Robert Kuśmirowski, Maess, Cecylia Malik, Malwina Niespodziewana, Hanna Nowicka, Joanna Pawlik, Joanna Rajkowska, Wilhelm Sasnal, Maciej Sieńczyk, Magdalena Starska, Mariusz Tarkawian, Zorka Wollny, Ewa Zarzycka, Erwina Ziomkowska, Artur Żmijewski.

The exhibition and the publication are subsidized by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage and the Government of the Lower Silesian Voivodship.

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The exhibition is dedicated to autobiographical accounts in new Polish art. Participating artists relate their own stories. These are real life stories, mostly first-person narratives. On the one hand, the tension between the figure of the author and the subject of the work and, on the other, between the fiction and the truth of representation constitute the axis of this exhibition.

The phrase “the day is too short” comes from a director of an art gallery, who is also an artist. It was a remark he made referring to the impossibility of performing both functions simultaneously. These words are an expression of frustration experienced by a person consciously observing events occurring in his life and commenting on them as they happen, doing his best not to overlook anything. His perturbation may be termed as a diarist’s worry.
The autobiographic character of newest art constitutes a fairly broad topic, encompassing multitudinous trails and potential artistic or research approaches. Two paths have been marked out for the exhibition. The first has already been mentioned: contradictions that cannot be avoided when one records one’s own life, the frustration of a diarist. Is there a way to note every single thing down? Or should some things be omitted? How can one know what will appear significant in the future? The other path is delineated by history, whose reflections are to be found in personal notes as well as in chronicles of everyday matters. The feeling of disappointment felt by critics, whos after the restoration of independence in 1989  expected great novels, films and other narrative works describing the times of major transformation to be created in Poland may turn out to be unsupported as those days are present in personal relations, which may not be directly devoted to history but they relate it in an indirect fashion.

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After 1989, references to the figure of the artist have become commonplace in Polish visual arts. Bożena Czubak points out that the death of the author never occurred in Poland and the subject was never deconstructed, sustained by modernist discourses, which never stopped being popular. * Admittedly, the tumultuous 1980s witnessed attempts to demythologize the figure of the artist, which subsequently came under harsh criticism in the 1990s that markedly eased off after 2000. Defined in a variety of ways, the figure of the author was still going strong nevertheless.

Autobiographical narrations may be a product of the gradual erosion of the myth of a creator. In recent years, and especially after 2000, art inspired by everyday ordinary lives has been particularly popular. First-person narratives originating in private lives, documentary and quasi-documentary reports hide a series of problems crucial for contemporary art scene. They may feature references to history which affects not only individual lives but also art, references to memory, to the status of the author and artist. Filtered through everyday life, history seems to decline in importance, while noting down daily events suggests that the content of these works is supplied by life itself, that all an artist has to do is to report them as they happen.
The exhibition “The Day Is Too Short ” focuses on selected examples of personal documents. It is going to present cases of suggestive use of first-person narration to pose the question why contemporary artists chose their own autobiographies as the basis of their creation, revealing themselves as narrators of the stories.