Gallery 2
30.03 - 16.05.1999

What a hell, what a paradise (cont'd)
sculpture, photography, video

------Exhibition opening 29.03, 6 p.m. and again 19.04, 6 p.m.
------Curator: Marek Gozdziewski
My way, 1998-1999, video, 180 min + Real virtuality (Car)
click at the pictures to enlarge them
What a hell, what a paradiseOlga Tokarczuk: Zuzanna Biography

Dancing, 1998, video, 30 min This is the first, big, solo exhibition of work by Zuzanna Janin, the artist famous for the piece Cotton candy Venus. Problems of identity, time and body, the elusiveness of life's fundamental experiences and perception ambivalence are only a few of the themes in Janin's work – one of the leading Polish artists.

Zuzanna Janin was born in 1964 in Warsaw where she studied at the Academy of Fine Arts between 1980-1987. She is involved with sculpture, installation, video, sound installation and photography.
My way, 1998-1999, video, 180 min + Real virtuality (Car) First impressions indicate that Janin's art originates from the constructivist and minimalist tradition, yet it breaks out of this mould through its emotional context, subjectivity, individualism and poetic imagination: in her work geometric order takes on a personal dimension. The artist leans towards figuration but continues to experiment with photography and such original substances as candy floss (cotton candy) and fog, that become sculptural materials for her. She likes to use a wide range of expression. Sculptures from the series Real virtuality are shaped by a computer design net (which allows them to be seen both from inside and from outside).

The sculptures made of candy floss are meant to be eaten and exist as part of a process arranged by the artist. Photography also becomes a special, "sculpture" in space, particularly in the case of the artist's photographic self-portrait which visualises the passage of time, the transience of life and expresses a profound awareness of the blood-ties and "slavery of heritage" in both the biological and cultural senses. Zuzanna Janin's art strongly affects the audience, but is free from spectacular and popular mass media stylistics.

Samochód / CarHere the artist is showing sculptures made from candy floss as well as from fog, works like Eat Me, Remember Me, Follow Me, Change Me and Touch Me as well as the latest works, where the presence and participation of the audience are an essential condition of the works. The artist plays a subtle game with the viewers in the space and with time and symbolically draws them into a "ride" across the area of art.

In the most recent works Zuzanna Janin shows figuration ( f.e. transparent sculptures or 3D-photographs-objects), next to geometry and abstraction while continuing to experiment with original material such as cotton candy or sculpture from frog.

Entrance, air's stairs,
120 x 600 x 320 cmThe exhibition is also in tandem with the editing a book/catalogue containing a text by prominent Polish writer Olga Tokarczuk as well as interviews with the artist. Zuzanna Janin has shown in over fifty exhibitions in Poland and abroad; including Zachęta Gallery of Contemporary Art and Foksal Gallery in Warsaw, the Ludwig Forum in Aachen, Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, Ludwig Museum of Contemporary Art in Budapest, Kunsthalle Bern, as well as Sydney and Istanbul Biennales.

The artist was granted stipends by the Polish Ministry of Culture, the Pollock-Krasner Foundation in New York and by Kultur-Kontakt in Vienna. Part of this exhibition will also be presented in Vienna and the Liverpool Biennale.

See also "Art Game"

Olag Tokarczuk : Zuzanna

Whoever she is, Zuzanna uses herself as an eye with which to explore reality. She is her own instrument, and sees herself as such.

Jumping, 1999, video, 30 minActually, she is interested in two things that in effect may be one and the same thing, or perhaps two aspects of the same thing: namely, space and time.

Cognition depends on the instrument applied; we know that the proposition of cognition cannot be sustained. The act of observing influences that which is observed. This paradox, discovered recently and with some surprise by science, had always been fundamental to thinking about art. That is why art is something akin to a liberal science. Everything that appeared and continues to appear in art makes up an endless discourse regarding the extent to which we can use ourselves in the process of cognition.

Zuzanna sees the source of space and time within herself, as every artist does. She invokes her private history as if she wanted them to take root therein. Human beings are the source of space and time, she says. Human beings are the measure of all things, she could say somewhat loftily. Thus this is neither objective space or objective time.

Zuzanna thinks. Her art springs from a profound reflection. It transforms sensation, experience and intuition into the outline of a conception. Zuzanna philosophizes without words. She plays with points of view; changing worlds depending on where she places herself - the instrument of cognition, that most tender of lenses.

/ SkullZuzanna has shown me space from the inside, its negative. The hidden side of space. Her elusive, token covers challenged received wisdom as to the essence of space. Zuzanna has posed a subversive and paradoxical question: what is space not? She has turned space about on its head. Zuzana is not really interested in the objects occupying this intellectually suspect space. Their stories have already been told, represented with tons of paint, in thousands of blocks of marble and innumerable other materials. Show me the trace an object leaves in space and I will infer what it is, Zuzanna tantalizes. She focuses on the emanations of things, on their traces, signs, and shadows. Hence her covers for inexistent objects. Zuzanna uses silk to sketch in space.

Zuzanna says her works are not there to be viewed. Her concern is with something different. She realizes that viewing itself does not matter: it is an irrelevant process, one which museums and galleries have proliferated ad infinitum, but which is only an excuse for something more profound. Zuzanna is after sensation, experience, and something I would call intellectual sensibility.

Dancing, 1998, video, 30 minOnce the arbitrary space has been defined, Zuzanna turns her attention towards time. And once again she becomes the instrument of her inquiries. This time, she expands herself to include her loved ones. She manages to catch time in its limitations, so terrifying from the human perspective, to reveal its fragmentary and noncontinuous nature. Time progresses in spurts: human awareness pins down individual moments, snippets of time, constructing entire sequences therefrom. What is time, Zuzanna asks, holding up its photographed specimens for the world to see. The reflection of a viewer-investigator who follows in the footsteps of the maker-investigator produces unease. Unease could be time's middle name.

The childish idea of laminating a bouquet (photographed on a fresh grave at the close of a funeral ceremony, the last moment when contact with someone seems possible) seems consoling even in its absurdity.

My Memory, 1993 -1999, electric light, fog, 162 x 800 cmThe time and place are accounted for and now it's my turn, Zuzanna seems to be saying. The I is a balancing between intimations of the permanent and of the mutable. That which is eternal and that which is illusory. Wire and cotton candy. What is permanent and what is mutable is the subject of Zuzanna's present inquiries. She experiments, she rearranges orders. A metal skeleton and flesh of white fluff which falls apart practically in the eye of the beholder. "Edible" cotton-candy flesh and its metal wire underclothes.

Zuzanna Janin - Yellow room, 
dimention variable, sand paper, phones (curses in Polish, English, French, German,
etc).The fourth stage of Zuzanna's inquiries, as befits the fourth part of any whole is a summary. The I in space and time. At the juncture of these three vectors, the emotions come into focus. It is to them that we owe our being. Now, with her nature of an untiring investigator, Zuzanna is sounding the space of specific emotions and, as always, plays as she studies, conducting her mad experiments all the while. She builds apartments for the emotions. Bedsits for sentiments. Condominiums for feelings. Aggression inhabits the room of yellow sandpaper; memories, the room of mist...

Only when the emotions have been portrayed can a study of identity begin. That is the next stage in her research program, for Zuzanna, like any true scholar, is systematic and conscious of her actions. She will begin by cataloguing identities, sensing in this some kind of order. Such is her present preoccupation. The present always seems to mark the end of all inquiry: in fact, all inquiry inherently unfolds in the here and now. By portraying all the people she has ever met, Zuzanna will reveal her potential to the full.
I sense in this a new beginning.

Olga Tokarczuk
Walbrzych, February 1999

Biography : Zuzanna Janin
address: Pomologiczna 19
04-859 Warsaw, Poland
tel/fax. +48 22 615 73 63

born 1964
education: Academy of Fine Arts, Warsaw (1980-1987), gradueted in 1987

Selected Solo Exhibitions
1990 Prace/ Works, Galeria Dziekanka, Warsaw (cat.)
1991 Prace/ Works, Galeria Mlodych, Warsaw (cat.)
Prace/ Works, Galeria Wschodnia, Lódz
Prace/ Works, Galeria Arsenal, Bialystok (cat.)
Prace/ Works, Galeria Grodzka, Lublin (cat.)
1995 Salzburger Kunstverein, Salzburg (cat.)
Galeria Foksal, Warsaw (cat.)
1997 Follow me, change me, Szombathely Kunsthalle, Szombathely
Touch me, A.v. Scholz Galerie, Berlin
Drink me, Galerie drei, Drezden
1998 Matkobójczyni (zagryz mnie)/ Matricide (savage me), Galeria Manhattan, Lódz (cat.)
Co za pieklo, co za raj / What hell, what heaven, Galeria Foksal, Warszawa
1999 Zjedz mnie / Eat me, Galeria Starmach, Kraków
Co za pieklo, co za raj, cd. / What paradise, what hell, cont'd, Center for Contemporary Art, Warsaw (cat.)

Selected Group Exhibitions
1990 Expressions, Point East, Third Eye Centre, Glasgow
1991 IV Biennale of New Art, Zielona Góra
Germinations 6, Ludwig Forum, Aachen
1992 Germination 6, Budapest Galeria, Budapest
Obecnosc III/ Presence III, Galeria ON, Poznan
Frontiera 1`92, Fiera di Bolzano, Bolzano (cat.)
Ostsee Biennale, Kunsthalle Rostock, Rostock (cat.)
Current situation 3:3, Galeria Otso, Espoo, Waino Aaltosen Museo, Turku (cat.)
Miejsca, nie miejsca, Centrum Rzezby Polskiej, Oronsko
The 3rd International Istambul Biennial, Istambul (cat.)
The 9th Biennale of Sydney, Sydney (cat.)
1993 Sonsbeek`93, Arnhem (cat.)
1994 Wanas`94, Wanas (cat.)
Der Riss im Raum, Martin Gropius Bau, Berlin (cat.)
1995 Rysa w przestrzeni, Galeria Zacheta, Warsaw (cat.)
Beyond Belief, Museum of Contemporary Art., Chicago (cat.)
1996 Beyond Belief, Allen Memorial Art. Museum, Oberlin Collage, Oberlin,
Institute of Contemporary Art., Philadelphia (cat.)
Art in Poland, New Directions, The University of Buffalo Art. Gallery (cat.)
Interieur, Galerie Menotti, Baden bei Wien
The Palace of Good Luck, Burnett Miller Galery, Los Angeles
Styki/ Contact Prints, Galeria Foksal, Warsaw (cat.)
Despite/ Difference, Herbert Read Gallery, Kent Institute of Art., Canterbury (cat.)
Schwere-Los Skulpturen, OO Landesgalerie, Linz (cat.)
1997 Presently, Galerie Menotti, Baden bei Wien (cat.)
Schwere-Los Skulpturen, Ludwig Museum, Gallery of Contemporary Art., Budapest (cat.)
L/M/S Skulpturen und Objekte, Galerie Menotti, Baden bei Wien
1998 Genius Loci, Kunsthalle Bern (cat.)
Sissi, Sisismus, Sisismen, Galerie Menotti, Baden bei Wien (cat.)
A fragment of collection 3, Galeria Zacheta, Warszawa ( post- card )
Fotografie` 98, Fundacja Turleja, Kraków (cat.)
1999 Sztuka polska konca -poczatku wieku / Polish Art of End - Beginnig of Century, Manez, Sankt Petersburg (cat.)
Rondo, Ludwig Museum of Contemporary Art, Budapest
Liverpool Biennale, Liverpool
After the wall, Moderna Museet, Stockholm
Negocjatorzy Sztuki. Wobec rzeczywistosci, Centrum Sztuki Wspólczesnej Laznia, Gdansk
Aspect Position, Milano, Museum Moderne Kunst, Wien
L'autre moitie de l'Europe, Jeu de Paume, Paris

Works in collections
Zacheta Gallery, Warsaw; Ludwig Museum, Gallery of Contemporary Art, Budapest
Selected Bibliography
Zuzanna Janin (, Salzburger Kunstverein, Salzburg 1995

Exhibition supported by:

The Centre for Contemporary Art, Ujazdowski Castle
Al.Ujazdowskie 6, 00-461 Warsaw, Poland
tel: (48 22) 628 12 71-3, (48 22) 628 76 83 ; fax: (48 22) 628 95 50