Artists: Caroline David, Marek Delong & Anna Slama, Hélène Padoux, Olga Krykun, Max Máslo, Pauł Sochacki, Theresa Weber
Curator: Christina Gigliotti
Venue: Šopa Gallery, Košice
It would be impossible for me to attempt to write this text without acknowledging the current conditions under which this exhibition has been made conceivable. Under the new Covid-19 related regulations of the Slovak government, neither I nor the artists that make up Dwelling were able to freely and safely travel to Košice.The concept for Dwelling transpired during early spring’s quarantine, and is now being executed during the second wave of rising infections. As we’re personally and collectively forced to compromise and adapt to this situation, the burden of responsibility has shifted and weighed more heavily on the organizers of Šopa, who I consider to have cooperated with me on this as co-curators. Navigating through a multitude of emotions regarding this project, I can say that I feel simultaneously saddened, and also relieved not to be in Košice. I wish it weren’t happening like this, and yet I’m grateful it’s happening at all. I want to thank the organizers of Šopa and the artists in this show for dedicating so much time and effort into making it possible and handling this situation with me so thoughtfully. –Christina
The group exhibition Dwelling presents itself as an amalgamation of a continuing interest in interspecies relations and the anthropomorphization of flora and fauna by humans, coupled with an endeavor to simulate a hybrid inside/outside domesticized space–that of a German Kleingarten. During lockdown in Berlin, and well into the summer, I visited what seemed like an endless number of small garden allotments within and on the outskirts of the city. These gardens serve as recreational spaces for city-dwellers, and are subsidized by the government, making them affordable and extremely coveted. Small as they may be, they include and attract an array of plants and animals, both organic and artificial. In passing I’ve recognized functional vegetable and fruit gardens, beekeeping colonies, and water purification systems adjacent to children’s trampolines, eccentric sculpture gardens, and of course, barbeque grills. I’m interested in how these plots serve as an extension of one’s identity, i.e. value sets, aesthetic tastes, activity preferences, and relationships with the environment. Just by spending a minimal amount of time meandering through the maze of gardens, it becomes glaringly obvious that even though these allotments make up a whole community, a “colony”, each and every one is quite unique. I imagine them as individual zones or states, and have endeavored to create my own within the Šopa Gallery space because the waiting list to get a real Kleingarten is simply too long. This overgrown hodge-podge includes a cast of characters–living, inanimate, and in a state of transition. The artworks within Dwelling make up this unique and autonomous environment, that’s both private as well as welcoming for visitors. It should serve as a cozy refuge– a place for leisure and quiet contemplation.
The exhibition is supported using public funding by Slovak Arts Council and the city of Košice.