Cezary Poniatowski

Vacation 

Combined Media 

Fakulty od Informatics of Masaryk University

Botanická 554/68a

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Cezary Poniatowski’s work Vacation, featuring two markedly geometrical stylised human figures shows direct references to classic sculpture more than any other work presented at BAO 2019. At first glance, it is as if the formal solution of the installation fulfils societal expectations for clearly defined functions of art in the public space, i.e. for a decorative or “ennobling” function. However, the artistic articulation of Poniatowski’s sculptural group cannot be understood as serving the “majority taste”. In fact, he operates with conservative motifs with the same interest and enthusiasm as he does with elements of “low” culture, today’s emo and gothic tendencies as well as the mainstream. The fact that the work is made of crushed office paper destined for recycling speaks not only about the long-time disintegration of traditional artistic conventions, but also about the excessive information and material pressure that is a typical symptom of the present. By means of sensitively chosen contrasts between the monumentality of the figures and the ephemerality of the chosen material, the artist points to the society-wide neurosis.

The sculptor Sylva Lacinová, whose legacy the entire exhibition relates to, was an artist whose work conformed to the commissioning mechanisms of the art life in the Socialist period: she made “non-problematic” sculptural decorations improving the attractiveness of architecture and the public space, and sometimes monumental realizations commemorating important historical events. The form of Cezary Poniatowski’s work and its positioning in front of the Faculty of Informatics, Masaryk University, where the sculpture by Lacinová had originally been located on the façade of the former Associated Research Institutes in Brno building, are therefore clearly interconnected: the artist has conceived the installation as a critical commentary on the “true story of the work’s removal during the 2012 reconstruction”. At the same time, the blocs of destroyed documents, of which the two “mummified twins” are made, are intended to appeal to the conscience of stakeholders in the processes connected to the fate of Lacinová’s work and are – in a broader sense and with regard to their temporality – also a reminder of the finality of human existence. It is not by chance that the installation is titled Vacation, yet the figures don’t rest in the sun before the school in order to step out of their everyday duties; instead, they seem to be leaving their own bodies. Their location in front of an important educational institution thus gains another dimension: although informatics is an essential discipline in today’s life, there has been enough information.