The Flowers of Evil – an exhibition curated with Arti Grabowski in Sopot, Poland

opening: 28th of September, 19.30
exhibition: 29 September – 13 January 2019

Curators: Małgorzata Kaźmierczak, Arti Grabowski
Artists:  Przemysław Branas, Mary Coble, Deborah Castillo, Dariusz Fodczuk, Nadia Granados, Moshtari Hilal, Fatimah Jawdat, Aleksandra Kubiak, Cecylia Malik/Kolektyw Matki Polki na Wyrębie, Yasmeen Mjalli, Erika Ordos, Bartłomiej Otocki, Petr Pavlensky, Jacek Piotrowicz, Mariusz Sołtysik, Katia Tirado, Mariusz Waras, Andrzej Wasilewski, Monika Zawadzki.

The dichotomy indicated in the title of Charles Baudelaire’s volume of poetry, The Flowers of Evil, is highly evocative. Flowers, commonly seen as beautiful, delicate and vulnerable are contrasted with broadly conceived evil, ignominy, crime, humiliation, and death. The title provokes multiple interpretations. It can symbolise the pursuit of beauty in ugliness as well as focus on the attractiveness and enticing power of evil. According to Małgorzata Kosmala, “For Baudelaire evil is the founding principle of the world; it splits being into two parts, the ideal … and the real, where the human being operates”.[1] Creating “flowers of evil” means writing beautiful poems about all things corrupt and vile. A question arises about the vocation of the artist in the world. “The role of the artist is to soar above the tangible reality, his fate inevitably that of a messenger living in permanent misery, aware of the exile since no beauty of the real world can measure up to the ideal. Searching for eternal beauty, the artist is then doomed to suffering and insatiability, to transcending all boundaries, even those of good and evil”, continues the same author.[2]
The title of the exhibition, The Flowers of Evil, is at the same time the title of Andrzej Wasilewski’s installation (Le fleur du mal). The artist processes data downloaded from the Internet; thanks to a special interface they “set in motion” an installation of artificial flowers. Making use of this classic title, the artist moreover followed the thinking of Jean Baudrillard, author of The Intelligence of Evil, or the Lucidity Pact, and of the idea of simulacra. In Andrzej Wasilewski’s installation the data are grouped within categories: Population, Mortality, Human interference with the natural environment, Energy production and consumption, Food, Economy, and Crime. The artists taking part in the show make statements about the risks they can identify. Inspired by the title, they refer to violence, war, environmental degradation, enslavement by political regimes, homophobia, xenophobia, and racism. Most of the works were made specifically for this exhibition, the bulk of them documenting the art of performance, one whose form is especially conducive to taking a stand on the topical issues of the day.
“Art is but an idea, prostitutionalised by its realisation”, wrote the author of The Lucidity Pact.[3] Such a statement is highly provokative. Baudrillard implies that contemporary art flourishes on a landfill.  Our aim was to create a beautiful image of this landfill.
/Małgorzata Kaźmierczak/
——————————————————
[1] Małgorzata Kosmala, “O estetyce Charlesa Baudelaire’a”, Biesiada (2004). http://biesiada.polon.uw.edu.pl/bodler.html.
[2] Ibid.
[3] Jean Baudrillard, The Intelligence of Evil, or the Lucidity Pact, transl. Chris Turner, Bloomsbury, London 2013, p. 83.

https://www.pgs.pl/wpisy/kwiaty-zla

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