Date: October 15 – November 21, 2021
Opening: October 15, 6 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Venue: Gdańsk City Gallery GGM1, ul. Piwna 27/29
Artist: Róża Litwa
Curator: Franciszek Smoręda
Coordinator: Andżelika Kliś
Visual identification: Marcel Kaczmarek

In the kingdom of the moment
The high and mighty will come down,
The low and humble will uprise
When the time has passed.

One look at you and I turn to dust[2]

The kingdom of the moment is the land of illusion, an inverted tabula rasa that turns out to be a palimpsest. Expectations constantly challenged by reality, as the popular meme goes. Attempts to forsake the borders set by time and space are obstructed by a white cube, solid and sterile. It will always return to its original shape even if burned just a while before. But the carefully planned escapes are not a form of escapism or immersion into the poetics of dreams, or a praise of onirism. They lack nostalgia or sentiment. The scraps of reality found in the pictures invoke what is familiar yet not quite domesticated. Everyday objects are no longer functional; instead, they become allegories. Images and figures appear out of the blue: a play of lights under the narrowed eyelids.

A moment is something that eludes measure. Mili-, micro- or nanoseconds are strangers in its kingdom. Momentary duration breeds processes of various intensity, of which we are barely aware. They take place on the surface of the body, at the interface between the body and external objects. A jumbled mixture of oxytocin, endorphins and electromechanical dissociation, it can be far from pleasant. The snowy white of the walls is distorted by a mural; like a rock painting, it tells stories from the times before words were invented for that purpose. The picture shows the eternal battle between the two titans, the heart and the reason. Do not place your bets – simply believe in their integrity.

In the kingdom of the moment, the main occupation is crushing great narratives and outdated ultimate truths. Perhaps the coveted act of vandalism will never be committed, as the time is running out. The hourglass is filled with the cosmic dust, the same one from which man was born. The crawling figures in the sculptures remind us of cheerleading pyramid stunts. In the kingdom of the moment, there are two enemy teams of opposing ideologies. The kind that parent tell scary stories about to their children at night. The choice of an option is yours and yours only: the Big Bang versus the stationary state. The kingdom of the moment is the haunted house where all you can hear is laughter. As all ideas for utopian social projects will be eventually rejected, it is easy to turn them into jokes.

The eye, the heart and the reason live in symbiosis, as inseparable as the families strolling down the promenade. Astronomical anxiety creeps in through the windows. A flickering night sky projection takes us closer to the Universe, the good order, the moral and social order. Looking in its direction will make you blind. One look and you are dust, and to dust you shall return. Framed skulls behind the glass whisper their shy memento mori – the family on a day out, moving slowly in a dance of death, the children leading their parents. The view which extends in front of them evokes emotions that have nothing to do with the eye.

But the eye fertilises the thought, coming to aid of other senses. A spoon sperm stuffed with information hits it with great force, causing the Big Bang and starting off microworlds, the tiny simulacra. Monuments of the Founding Mothers, the Grand Strongwomen, the Tender Thugs. Gathered in the agora, they drowsily watch the kingdom’s gates. Somewhere among them we might even spot the author of this whole commotion, hidden like in a wimmelbilderbuch[3]. She welcomes us with her arms open and the subtle smile on her face made of clay. She is the hostess of the show but without the keys to the gate. She senses that the gate is simply a brief moment to which two roads lead, the Past and the Future. The secret of time is hidden in the door of that gate.

[1] Anonymous medieval Latin poem from the Cantilena Scholarium collection; English translation based on the Polish translation by Z. Kubiak published in Antologia poezji łacińskiej w Polsce. [Vol. 1], Średniowiecze, ed. Kazimierz Liman, Poznań 2004, p. 553

[2] Kelela (K. Mizanekristos) Turn to Dust, Take Me Apart, 2017, Warp Records, London

[3] Wimmelbilderbuch, or wimmelbook, is a type of a wordless picture book (Bilderbuch) with drawings of scenes richly detailed with humans, animals and objects, filled with characters and items that the reader may discover (e.g. Where’s Wally?).
Future. The secret of time is hidden in the door of that gate.

Róża Litwa (b. 1982), painter, draftswoman and visual artist. Graduated from the Faculty of Painting at the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts in 2008 obtaining her diploma under Professor Jarosław Modzelewski. Recipient of the 2011 Vordemberge-Gildewart Foundation Award (MOCAK, Kraków) for the most interesting young artists. Her works are part of the collection of the ING Polish Art Foundation. She lives and works in Warsaw.

Thanks: Igor Bloch, Iwona Bloch, Ksawery Kordecki, Łukasz Kosmala, Marcin Łakomski, Ania Muszyńska, Karolina Nowak-Sarbińska, Robert Przybylski and Mateusz Zybko, Zuzanna Sokalska

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