Siggi Hofer and Marcin Maciejowski
23 June–26 August 2012
Opening: Friday 22 June, 7 pm
Galeria Bielska BWA
43-300 Bielsko-Biała ul. 3 Maja 11
T +48 33 812 58 61
F + 48 33 812 41 19
Curated by Goschka Gawlik.
Galeria Bielska BWA will be featuring the exhibition Fantom, which shows the latest works by the Austrian artist Siggi Hofer and Polish painter Marcin Maciejowski. The title of the exhibition alludes to Hofer’s letter painting bearing the same title.
The exhibition is an attempt to find out both artistic and linguistic similarities between the works of the two already recognised artists, and cultural and political differences, or even contradictions. Hofer came to the capital of Austria from South Tyrol, which like Galicia, was a part of the Habsburg Empire. Maciejowski, too, after a few years of underground activity in the Kraków-based artistic circle Grupa Ładnie, began his international career in Vienna which greatly enhanced his future prospects for artistic development. Once called “Little Vienna,” Bielsko-Biała may also become a platform for searching out other relations between the two artists, which are more deeply hidden in history.
By using the “sublime object of ideology” in the form of painting and text delivered in a number of formal variants, and by combining old and new systems of signs and national-cultural codes, the creative work of the two artists offers an extreme level of artificiality, as well as disturbing fictions, realisms, idealisms, and materialisms—all of them phantoms of reality which refuse to succumb to an unambiguous presentation within the dominant mode of narration, but at the same time give coherence to the different yearnings of subjects. Whilst showing interrelations between imaginative and symbolic identifications, both Hofer and Maciejowski resort to phantasms which are inspired by childhood memories, topographies of places, history, ethics, and politics. These, in turn become mixed with individual experiences, as well as with motives borrowed from the art world. However, in the process of secular pop-cultural erosion, these phantasms become trivial phantoms. Confronting the phantoms rooted in the cultural traditions of two opposite ends of the former Monarchy, the exhibition is a phantasmatic attempt to remerge those Realities which have been divided, replaced or reduced as a result of long historical processes.
One notable attraction of the Fantom exhibition is a three metre by three metre sculpture by Siggi Hofer called This Is Your Stage, Baby, Best: Siggi. The work doubles as an empty wooden stage that can be used by any viewer willing to make their own self-presentation, to become an actor/actress or a subject in the installation. The exhibition will be launched by a performance by Sven Sachsalber from London.
Siggi Hofer is an artist specializing in drawing, painting and performance, and poetry. He creates objects, drawings, letter paintings, videos, and installations. In his art, which comprises a collection of various themes and materials, he often returns to his home region of Tyrol and childhood memories. Among the motives of his art are relationships between and analysis of different social and political processes, also in historical contexts. He poses questions about the rise and reconstruction of identity and individuality. His work refers to the aesthetics of rebellion and resistance of the last few decades while involving the audience in model situations.
Marcin Maciejowski is a painter, draughtsman, creator of press illustrations, murals, and cartoons. He is one of the most interesting artists of his generation. In 2010 he held a retrospective exhibition in the National Museum in Kraków entitled That’s How It Is; also in the same year he received the prestigious German Award Lovis Corinth Preis 2010. His realistic post-pop-art painting is inspired by mass media narration, photography, books and the Internet. While making a selection of such appropriated pictures, he often refers to the canons of the history of art in an attempt to expose the occurring changes.
Siggi Hofer, fanTOM, 2012. Pastel, paper, 152 x 152 cm.
Photo by Tina Herzl, Courtesy of Galerie Meyer Kainer.