Janek Simon: Synthetic Folklore

Janek Simon: Synthetic Folklore

Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art

Janek Simon, Untitled, 2015. Collection of The ING Polish Art Foundation. Photo: Daniel Rumiancew.

February 22, 2019
Janek Simon
Synthetic Folklore
February 22–May 19, 2019
Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art
2 Jazdów Street
00-467 Warsaw
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 12–7pm,
Thursday 12–9pm

T +48 22 628 12 71
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Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art is pleased to announce Janek Simon's Synthetic Folklore, the artist’s first retrospective in Poland.

Curator: Joanna Warsza

The exhibition by Janek Simon maps and decodes fifteen years of the artist’s work, organizing his various and almost too many, as he claims himself, preoccupations: from political geography, through artificial intelligence, financial speculations, DIY strategies, to post-colonial theory. Synthetic Folklore raises the question of whether and how artificial intelligence can protect us from the pitfalls of homogenization, xenophobia, and essentialism. Featuring, among other things, mosaics with universal folk patters generated by AI, a collection of paintings recovered from a ship graveyard in India, a visualization of the Polish national budget, or a psychedelic house from his childhood, the retrospective follows Janek Simon’s paths, presenting, so comprehensively for the first tim, his fascinating work and life. It opens on February 22.

The exhibition can be viewed, read, and experienced on a number of levels: as a voyage, an essay, an algorithm, or an abstract picture. It opens with the eponymous world of synthetic folklore, in which we find sculptures of glued-together ethnic forms as well as mosaics, their abstract patterns generated by algorithms combining motifs from India, Africa, South America, Europe, and Poland.

Another series of works deals with the global circulation and overexploitation of matter, the migration of electronic goods through the world: from their beginning in the Chinese “silicon valley” of Shenzhen, where iPhones has been manufactured, to their inevitable end at the Alaba e-junkyard in Lagos, Nigeria, which also happens to be the birthplace of Nollywood cinema. Many works creatively tackle various aspects of Polish history, such as the project 1985, with the suggestion that communism in Poland ended with the onset of street vending, video tapes, satellite TV, and economic liberalization.

“The Sea” series presents repressed Polish colonial aspirations, returning today in dreams of regional hegemony, inland waterways, and the idea of Intermarium. The show also includes a “psychedelic” room featuring a model of a childhood summer house built using a rigged calculator that offered distorted results, with robotic breads crawling on the floor.

The retrospective leads along Janek Simon’s paths, presenting, so comprehensively for the first time, his fascinating work and life, driven, as they are, by curiosity, erudition, and love of adventure, and supported from time to time by institutions such as the Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, for which it has been staged.


Related events:

Curatorial tour by Joanna Warsza of Janek Simon Synthetic folklore exhibition
February 23, 3pm

A Portrait of the Artist as a Living Algorithm, lecture by Mohammad Salemy
February 23, 4:30pm

Guided tour by Janek Simon
February 28, 6pm

Guided tour by Max Cegielski 
March 7, 6pm

Guided tour by benevolent dictator Aditya Mandayama, Brud
March 16, 3pm

Guided tour by publicist Edwin Bendyk
March 28, 6pm

Guided tour by philosopher and artificial intelligence specialist Aleksandra Przegalińska
April 11, 6pm

Guided tour with artist Nina Katchadourian and editor in chief of Cabinet Magazine, Sina Najafi
April 27, 3pm

Janek Simon and Joanna Warsza, artist talk
April 27, 5pm

Guided tour by artist Marta Deskur
May 16, 6pm

Guided tour by curator Joanna Warsza 
May 18, 3pm

Guided tour by Janek Simon
May 18, 8pm


For more information, please visit: www.u-jazdowski.pl

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Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art
February 22, 2019

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