Opening Reception: Thursday, October 17, 6-8pm
Runs through November 23, 2019
Georgia Scherman Projects is pleased to present Amazed!, the gallery's third solo exhibition with Blue Republic.
Based in Toronto and Krakow, Blue Republic is the collaborative artistic practice of Anna Passakas and Radoslaw Kudlinski. Both artists were born and raised in Poland. Growing up in a country struggling to rebuild itself from the ruins of wars and the aggressive colonial attempts of powerful neighbours, as well as their subsequent immigration to Canada, imparted a legacy that continues to inform their work and research in which themes of trauma, destruction and impermanence are woven in with the global and social concerns fundamental to their artistic practice.
Art and culture are seen as crucial ingredients in transforming social consciousness, as is the broadening of the definition of art in times of shifting paradigms. Empathy with the disadvantaged, the neglected and the marginalized is a driving force behind many of Blue Republic’s projects. Some recurring themes in their research are entrapment in games of power and violence; contemporary “hyper-complexities;” a sense of being homeless in the world; fabricated concerns and sensitivities; confabulations; and sentimentalism. Blue Republic’s prolific succession of anti-monumental installations and displacements uniquely frame contemporary discourses around embodied intelligence and hierarchies of form. They accomplish this primarily by interrogating their own status as artists, shifting between positions as authors and intermediaries. This includes a series of projects operating in the ephemeral, absurdist and linguistic spheres.
The exhibition title, Amazed! emerged from the state of wonder at the world’s ‘materiality’, its strangeness, its richness, its constant mobility and regenerative powers. Accordingly the exhibition, consisting of collages and objects, created by Blue Republic at various times of their career, is comprised of material made neither in the studio nor in the laboratory, but by the artists in the field, during sundry global research projects, as if they were following the great machinery of destruction and picking up its pieces to recreate with its leftover fragments.
The provocative, genre-challenging work embracing a range of media, material and otherwise, Amazed! morphs and ramifies over time to present a tactile collection of artworks in which the artists incarnate and re-enact events, ideas, memories, joy and sorrow. Immersing oneself in the present amidst this ephemeral installation, the beholder embarks on a brief journey of becoming a witness.
At the core of the artistic practice behind this project is the concept that contemporary artists can not only be the witnesses of their times but also participants in solidarity with the events and people that inspire their artwork. For example, the artists’ involvement in anti-poverty activism in urban areas of Brazil and their later volunteer work with inmates of Ontario’s correctional system have given them insight into challenging human conditions comparable to those they observed while growing up in Poland.
Text written in collaboration with Earl Miller, Independent Curator and Art Writer
Blue Republic videos are currently in the exhibition Nature in Art at Krakow’s MOCAK, curated by Anna Maria Potocka and Delfina Jalowik, with Isa Getzken, Sarah Lucas, Maurizio Cattelan, Meret Openheim, Julian Opie, Julius von Bismarck, Trevor Gould, Leon Tarasewicz, and others. Previous exhibitions include: 2018 Water Works, Art Gallery of Hamilton, curated by Christine Boyanoski, with Betty Goodwin, Paterson Ewen, Isabelle Hayeur, Sarah Anne Johnson, Joan Jonas, Ed Pien and others; 2017 – 2018 Wanderlust: Actions, Traces, Journeys 1967-2017, a traveling exhibition of international action art originated by UB Art Galleries in Buffalo, New York, and curated by Rachel Adams, toured to the Des Moines Art Center, Des Moines IA. Other artists in the exhibition included Pope.L, Francis Alys, John Baldessari, Wangechi Mutu and Gabriel Orozco; 2017 solo presentation Made in Blue Republic, at the BWA Zielona Gora (curator—Wojciech Kozłowski) and at the Galeria Arsenal, Białystok (curator—Monika Szewczyk). 2013–14 Biennale of Urbanism /Architecture (Shenzhen/Hong Kong, curated by Ole Bouman); daadgalerie/Serpentine Galleries (Berlin, and London, curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist and Julia Paynton Jones); Ludwig Forum for International Art (Aachen); CCA Ujazdowski Castle (Warsaw); Galleria D’Arte Moderna di Bologna (Italy), Darling Foundry, Montréal; Oakville Galleries, Oakville, ON, Canada; and Doris McCarthy Gallery U of T Scarborough. Water Drawings: Twin Towers (2016) video was recently acquired by the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY, USA.