June 16, 2013 - Laznia Centre For Contemporary Art - Konrad Smoleński
June 16, 2013

Konrad Smoleński

Konrad Smoleński, S.T.R.H.

Konrad Smoleński
S.T.R.H.
21 June–18 August 2013

Opening: 21 June, 6pm
Dismantling and finissage: 19 August, 6pm

Laznia Centre for Contemporary Art
Ul. Jaskolcza 1
80-767 Gdansk, Poland

T 48 58 305 40 50

www.laznia.pl

Curated by Kamila Wielebska


‘If all of the people who go to museums could just feel an earthquake.’
–Walter de Maria

S.T.R.H. (Stones That Rest Heavily) is a solo show by Konrad Smoleński in the main exhibition hall of the Łaźnia Centre for Contemporary Art in Gdańsk. Smoleński’s installation fills the space entirely, denying viewers a safe distance and pulling them towards its interior. The visual elements consist of massive, static, three-dimensional objects that generate low-frequency sound at specific intervals. The sound unfolds from a nearly inaudible acoustic pressure into powerful rumblings that shake everything in their path—including the walls of the space and the body of the viewer—and eventually dissipate into complete silence. This way, contact with the work of art becomes a total sensory experience that involves not only the viewer’s vision and hearing but their whole body; it is an entirely physical sensation. Though not devoid of a visual presence, the piece makes its impact mainly with sound, which, generated in specific ways, creates the impression of an all-encompassing experience—a synthesis of the senses that combines cues perceived by spatial receptors (eyes and ears) and contact receptors (skin and muscle).

The Laznia Centre for Contemporary Art in Gdańsk is housed in a building that was never intended as an exhibition venue. The public bathhouse, dating back to the early 20th century, was converted into an art centre as recently as the 1990s, with its largest exhibition hall originally a gymnasium. The acoustics of the space is an element that has proved difficult to harness. But controlling the sound is not the intent of the artist. By generating sound waves and unleashing their energy, Smoleński aims to awaken the space and let us hear its sound. The resulting looped composition was created on the basis of a signal derived from a frequency generator. The artist describes the monotone and unrelenting sound wave emanating from the speakers as ‘merciless’ and likens its energy to that of forces of nature such as a hurricane, waterfall or earthquake.

Konrad Smoleński’s S.T.R.H. is an attempt to create a sensation of mounting tension and danger, and a feeling that an approaching force may emerge at any moment. Are we really in danger? We live, after all, quite calmly in a somewhat mundane world. Moreover, we are in an art institution…Is it possible to experience emotions here like those at a live music performance, for instance? Smoleński is an artist whose work is hugely reliant on music, or more broadly, acoustic experimentation. He uses sound in his art and as a member of several bands: in his latest group, BNNT, co-founded with percussionist Daniel Szwed, he plays a self-made ‘baritone missile.’ Perhaps musical experience is at the source of Smoleński’s artistic interest in currents: contrasting intensities associated with growing tension in moments of expectation and the potential of energy which, upon being converted, can be manifest and physically felt.  


The title Stones That Rest Heavily derives from Colin Stetson’s and Mats Gustafsson’s album Stones (2012).


Konrad Smoleński (1977) is a multimedia artist working with photography, video, installation and performance. He graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznań. In 2011, he was awarded the prestigious Views Award by Zachęta National Gallery of Art and the Deutsche Bank Foundation. He represents Poland at the 55th Venice Biennale with a solo exhibition at the Polish Pavilion.


19 August 2013, one day after the official close of the exhibition, we invite you to the dismantling, a meeting with the artist and a promotional event for the S.T.R.H. book.

20–21 August 2013, BNNT sound bombing; Dolne Miasto, Gdańsk.


 

Konrad Smoleński at Łaźnia Centre For Contemporary Art
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