Tuesday, April 27, 2010 at 7:30pm
Satisfaction: Consumption Art in Poland, 1973-1979

177 Livingston Street, Brooklyn

Curated and introduced by £ukasz Ronduda

During the revitalization of avant-garde practices in 1970s Poland, a strain of artmaking emerged that applied Pop aesthetics to the unlikely subject matter of consumer identity in a Communist state, responding to a new initiative by the government that encouraged the private consumption of luxury goods in the service of a more modern socialism. The films that arose from this moment engage with absurd, colorful and even scandalous content. Informed by Marxist analyses of the Western culture industry, they examine the effects of a socialist-consumerist experiment through sensuous fantasies of desire and excess.

The results marry softcore content with hardcore conceptualism. A Polish equivalent to the transgressive feminism of Carolee Schneemann or Valie Export, Natalie LL shows herself licking and swallowing phallic foodstuffs in Consumption Art. In a critique of mass media and popular sport, Zdzisław Sosnowski’s Goalkeeper casts the artist as a bohemian-looking soccer player who is trounced and kicked by a high-heeled dominatrix, a theme continued in Sosnowski’s more structuralist female portrait Permanent Position. Zygmunt Rytka turns a ride in the Fiat 126p sports car into another erotic adventure, while Kazimierz Bendkowski’s Centrum Centre transforms gaudy neon advertisements into hypnotic psychedelic abstractions.

While these films prove markedly different from the contemporary work showcased in Operators' Exercises: Open Form Film and Architecture (curated by Ronduda with Mark Wasiuta and currently on view at Columbia’s Arthur Ross Architecture Gallery), both that exhibition and this screening showcase the rich proliferation of experimental strategies that exploded during the 70s in Poland, proposing new ways to imagine the relationships between art and socialism.

Works will include:

Consumption Art (Sztuka konsumpcyjna), 1973
Natalia LL

Goalkeeper, 1975
Zdzisław Sosnowski

Permanent Position (Stałe zajęcie), 1978
Zdzisław Sosnowski, Teresa Tyszkiewicz

Fiat 126p, 1975
Zygmunt Rytka

Untitled (bez tytułu), 1973
Krzysztof Zarębski, Krystyna Jachniewicz

Centre (Centrum), 1973
Kazimierz Bendkowski

£ukasz Ronduda is an art historian, writer, and curator. He currently runs the Archive of Polish Experimental Film at the Center for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle in Warsaw, and has organized numerous screenings and exhibitions, including: Marysia Lewandowska/Neil Cummings: Enthusiasts from the Amateur Film Clubs (CCA Warsaw, Whitechapel Gallery, London, Kunst-Werke, Berlin), 1,2,3…Avant-Gardes (with Florian Zeyfang, CCA Warsaw, Kunstlerhaus Stuttgart, Sala Rekalde, Bilbao), Polish Socialist Conceptualism of the 70s (Orchard Gallery, New York), Star City: Future Under Communism (with Alex Farquarson, Nothingham Contemporary), Robakowski / Sharits (Anthology Film Archives, New York), Analogue: Polish Video Art from the 70s and 80s (Tate Modern, London), and Polish New Wave (Anthology Film Archives, New York). He is also the author and editor of several books: Film/Art: Between Experiment and the Archive (Sternberg Press), Polish New Wave: History of a Phenomenon That Never Existed (CCA Warsaw), and Polish Art of the 70s (CCA Warsaw). He teaches at the Warsaw School of Social Psychology.