Precariat: design of the wall, 2015, ceramic, wood, glass, 46 x 46 x 30 cm. Courtesy of the artist
Made of ceramics, wood, and glass, the object was shown in the exhibition The Unit, staged by the Multimedia Unit of the Institute of Visual Arts, Faculty of Arts of the University of Zielona Góra, at the University Library Gallery. A micro-scale model of a rectangular wall remained open on one side and was topped with broken glass. To produce the glass topping, Kubiak used an element of an actual wall, located near Zielona Góra’s Lumel manufacturing plant. The work can be interpreted as a discursive model of the precarious condition. An erosive model of the wall opens itself up to meanings bound up with the phenomenon of ghettoization, a result of functioning in a precarious labour system. This opening-up arises when this model of functioning in the art world is associated with an old method of warding off thieves, but also with low-paid workers who sometimes steal from the company that employs them. It is hard not to apply the situation presented by the artist to the art world. The resulting model makes us think of the social isolation caused by poverty, by waiting for the transfer to finally arrive in an uncertainty of tomorrow, without any sense of security and stabilization. It can produce states of anxiety and doubt about the possibility of changing one’s condition. Kubiak’s wall is a violent brick line that both separates and incorporates a range of symptoms accompanying the absence of welfare regulations for “art workers.” Unsuccessfully looking for shelter behind this wall is the shadowy academic community of women-artists.
text by Ewelina Jarosz, courtesy of the author
Aleksandra Kubiak (b. 1978 in Lubań) is a visual artist, author of performances, films, and sculptures, who in her practice explores art’s social effectiveness. In 2002-2013, Kubiak worked with Karolina Wiktor as the performance duo Sędzia Główny. In 2010, she reassumed a solo career, producing the film Dolce Vita (2011). Two-time recipient of Minister of Culture and National Heritage art grants. With Sędzia Główny, nominated for the Polityka Passports (2011) and the Views 2007 Deutsche Bank Foundation Award (2007), co-winner of the International Performance Contest in Trento (2007) and the TVP Kultura Prize. Her solo works and those of Sędzia Główny have been presented at major galleries and museums in Poland and abroad. They are held in institutional collections, such as those of the National Museum and the Zachęta National Gallery of Art in Warsaw, Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź, or Signum Foundation in Poznań, as well as many private ones.
Since 2014, she has been working on an autobiographical series of works in which she combines often difficult family experiences with an experimental practice at the intersection of performance, documentary film, and theatre. She works with actors, writes scripts and texts, and directs. The series includes films such as You’re a Cute One, Sweetie with actress Elżbieta Lisowska-Kopeć, Elephant Flesh with Monika Buchowiec of the Kazimierz Dejmek Nowy Theatre in Łódź, or Live, You Silly! with Artur Beling. She earned her DFA in 2016 under the supervision of Izabella Gustowska, in collaboration with Marek Wasilewski, at the University of Arts in Poznań. Since 2017, working in the Institute of Visual Arts of the University of Zielona Góra. She lives in Zielona Góra, where she collaborates with with the Salony Foundation and BWA Gallery.