Martyna Czech. Summoning

4 July 2020 - 28 August 2020

Martyna Czech. Summoning / Martyna Czech. Przywoływanie

Place ul. Rynek 26, 41-902 Bytom, POLAND
Organizer Centrum Sztuki Współczesnej Kronika / Centre for Contemporary Art Kronika
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Curator: Paweł Wątroba | In one of East-Asian stories the Emperor, dressed like a poor and starving old man, asks different animals for help. Among the creatures there was a rabbit, which – knowing that grass would not satisfy man’s hunger – decided to jump into fire to offer its body as food. For this moving act of sacrifice the Emperor saves it from self-immolation, rewards it with immortality, and sends it to the moon as an example to all humanity. This symbolic association between the rabbit and virtue, the vulnerability of the species coupled with the horrific situation are reflected in Martyna Czech’s works, where the care for the rabbit’s fate constitutes the artist’s opus magnum. Her painting studio is also a sanctuary for lagomorphs saved from death and the creatures occupy a special position in her paintings.
This animal element in Martyna Czech’s images is also an act of contesting anthropocentrism – people tend to be presented as beasts, degraded by their physiology and desire, punished by the fauna – an emanation of universal morality. This dehumanisation of people reveals the artist’s distaste with the human species, its repulsiveness and formlessness. This aversion finds its continuation in abjects made from zoonotic material. By summoning death and the mystical totem of the rabbit, made from accumulated matter (bone glue), Czech announces the fate of the entire group. Humanity, being its own greatest enemy, does not deserve respect but madness and loss of the human form. The secret curse is performed by reversing the order – the symbolic fouling of the entrance to one of the exhibition rooms. With the aesthetics of disgust, the artist directs our attention to the finiteness of the subjects, their inevitable disintegration and psychological hopelessness.