Exhibiting Artists: Dániel BENCS, Máté BENCS, Filip RYBOWSKI, Kristóf LÁZÁR, Michal SROKA, Michal ZAWADA, Dávid NÉMETH, László NÉMETH, Krisztina SZALAY, Mónika ÜVEGES
Participating Artist-Run Spaces: Piana Galeria, Skurc Group
Curator: Tímea FÜLÖP
Text: Patrick TAYLER
Photography: Krisztina SZALAY
I explored the idea of getting in, and I tried finding the exit, hoping that I could enter through the back door or a window. Fat chance!
I swear, I checked everywhere, but the entrance to the art world does not really seem to exist. In this Lara Croftian adventure, we have to battle a cultish maffia of mid-tier snobs, pseudo-cultivated jerks and unaware gatekeepers, but even while the fight seems real enough, and we speedrun through our hand-crafted curriculum vitae, becoming fluent in International Disco Latin (Hito Steyerl), or becoming Animal or Posthuman or other weird shit, earning those hard-earned, levitating golden loops of theoretical know-how or at least collecting some hard-earned street cred, the space-age infrastructure of the art world’s flying castle only seems to be a speculated reality, a projected D.I.Y. backdrop that we speak into existence. Finding the entry point to this fictional realm is like trying to get back into a corrupted save-game file. It is broken! We start watching youtube videos that give us friendly, rectangular guidance, we attend expensive courses on assertive involvement, and we try to fix ourselves. Self-help tutorials are a great joke when the problem is the system itself.
Nobody is doing anything. Everybody is doing everything. They are all burnt out, shell-like, trying to get the motivation to stop for a second / to start. Oh, are we confused! Then again, those extended seconds of secondary embarrassment-infused power play remind us that there might be a good-old ’us and them’ at play. But, hey, who invited you? – we might ask ourselves, looking at our CV’s missing teeth, the wannabe white cubes of our imagination, that would lend us that healthy bite to feast on the art world’s cake and radiate that aggressive sense of stardom. Heavy pimpin’ and impostor syndrome.
You are bound to fictionalise your drama! You imagine your struggles in an outmoded knight’s tale: lo and beholdeth, their standeth before thee, the grand palace of practice, adorned by the shiny towers of theory. Thou hast understood that this is but a metaphor, but thee layed siege, to receiveth thyself in… and then your thought process didn’t quite cut it, you were lacking that certain it-factor. „We are so-so-so sorry to inform you, that your proposal didn’t make it this time.” Feeling dislocated from the contemporary. Lost like the Neo-Marxist medieval peasants in the Monty Python scene. How can you become part of the exclusive club of this century? The Now? Build a character that can inhabit this cliché-driven collective fiction! Heavy fictin’ and Stockholm syndrome.
In this Byung-Chul Hanesque nightmare, the artist is the Troyan horse, the soldier in the horse, and the tricked Troyans simultaneously. The artist is the 30 euros transferred via PayPal, the emails sent out into the sublime ocean of possibilities, the polished .pdf, in fact, the entire charade. That’s why small talk breaks down so often: when everybody has multiple personalities and is fragmented into brief email blurbs, it is really difficult to vibe on one wavelength. Post-factual alternative realities didn’t help either: there goes culture down the rabbit hole…
After this healthy shot of criticism, we should pour a few beers down and start sketching a new utopia: yes, bohemian table-dancing, spirit-seeking hope. A collective incantation that seeks to open up a portal that might help different flavours to pour back into the black box of cultural life. We them spices!
Instead of networking in a Ponzi-pyramid scheme, to help the big bucks swim upwards, influencer-trendwarlock Brad Troemel says artists should establish their own micro-communities and forget the husslepoints. Cut the middle man; forget the hussle. Exit.
* * *
People running the art world have long believed in the power of champagne. A bubbly sea that lets minds forget their isolated nature, where ideas lose their owner… This belief in bubbly beverages, white-cube spaces, fashionable shirts and other questionable practices hasn’t really led us anywhere. Maybe artists should run the spaces?
Let’s just keep it simple: New game. Click. Level: Brutal. Click. We already know all the key-combo-special-moves.
Artist-run spaces spring to life in the cracks of the institutional system: they are driven by the need to add more color to the art scene, as the horizons of commercial galleries are full of blind spots and we have given up on public institutions a long time ago. With the birth of non-profit spaces, art is becoming decentralised, new voices are being heard through the internal support of small communities.
But even if these experiences are universal, geographically distant artist-run spaces are very different. They serve the same purposes in different ways, as they have to adapt to specific social and economic circumstances, which vary from country to country, city to city, and often even district to district.
The exhibition Out of Space is the first part of a collaboration between a Polish (Piana Galeria) and a Hungarian (Skurc Group) artist-run space, bringing together their different experiences and possibilities, in the knowledge that the ultimate goal is the same. The project, based on information transfer and joint thinking, aims to bring small communities closer together, expanding the support network outside the institutional system.
The second part of the project will take place in December in Krakow. The project is supported by the Wacław Felczak Foundation