I Call Your Name / Agnieszka Polska

- exhibition, curator

Associazione Barriera, Turin

03.11.2019 — 14.12.2019

I Call Your Name is a first solo exhibition by Agnieszka Polska  in Italy. The show faces the urgent environmental matters that question our individual and collective responsibility towards society. The artist uses animated images and video clips, combining her vision with acoustic choices that aim at maximizing the impact on visitors’ perception. She intends to bring the public on a hallucinatory journey that overlaps historical references with the poetic sense of interpretation, creating a cata-strophic atmosphere on a cosmic scale.

The new video Perfect lives (Galileo’s task), exhibited in Barriera’s smaller room, reflects on an experiment that occurred in 1990, during which the space probe Galileo was used by NASA to study Jupiter and its satellites. Through this experiment scientists wanted to verify whether the data sent from Galileo during its tourney around our planet would confirm the existence of life on Earth. The film has the structure of a visual essay where the overlapping of images creates a melancholic atmosphere. This dense collage is made of a collection of hundreds of stock videos representing scenes from every day life that are associated to human activities: “business meetings”, “the contemplation of nature”, “group therapy”, “wedding”, “loneliness”, “crime”, and so on. This situations have a factitious nature and they seem to problematize the existence of life itself: they are the proof of an illusory and strictly western idea of life.

The Happiest Thought, shown in the adjacent space, is a multimedia work, initially created for the Berliner Festspiele program Immersion as a full-dome projec- tion, namely with a 360-degree range. On this occasion the piece is presented as a sound installation, next to a series of images taken from the video and printed on textile and several photographic works. Is an audio essay that gives a poetic reinterpretation of a catastrophic event in the history of planet Earth: the mass extinction in the Permian-Triassic age, during which up to 90% of the planet’s vegetation disappeared. The reason for this devastating event, which occurred over 250 million years ago, are still a mystery. Paleontologists and geologists growingly support the theory according to which its cause is related to a series of cyclical events connected to the increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere because of the activity of volcanoes. In the installation, which recalls a hypnosis session, the spectator is surrounded by the sounds and immersed in a fabled scenery of the forest, populated by animal and vegetal creatures that no longer exist. By weaving sound with images in a sophisticated configuration of emotional and sentimental ties, the installation creates a bewitching environment in which the transposition of this threatening historical fact is set in our uncanny contemporary times — it connects to the future through the present in an exchange of reverberations and alterations.

Photography by Cristina Leoncini                

article on Frieze (ENG)