Oskar Dawicki<br>MARY

The exhibition Mary (Polish for “mares” in Old English) is a kind of script, or more precisely a recon­struc­tion, of a per­for­mance originally direc­ted in a dream. Oskar Dawicki, a literary and film figure, an artist known as a prac­titioner of total per­for­mance, presents this time a dys­topian nar­rative. The cen­tral figure in his vision is a pregnant woman, the heroine of our times, nourisher of the unborn but also caretaker of the dead. As befits a doub­ting artist, the world of his creation is full of ambivalence. Sun­glas­ses worn by pregnant women may show off sum­mer­time chic, or may con­ceal per­manent blind­ness. Similarly, in a series of tin grave plaques, Dawicki brings into being and immediately kills off charac­ters with familiar-​sounding names: Trud Ponitz (Toyle For­naught), Wik­toria Daremna (Vic­toria N. Vane) or Kor­poracja Koniec­pol­ska (Polen­send Corp).

The knight’s armor at the centre of the exhibition—Armatura polonica utilitate graviditatis—alludes to the myth of the armed nation and its cur­rent pro-​family policy, but also the widespread social escapism manifest in such phenomena as hob­bies, historical re-​enactment groups—and con­tem­porary art itself. Paradoxically, in a politically and materially unstable reality, an artist with a post-​conceptual pedigree restores to art one of its for­merly fun­damen­tal proper­ties, as a one-​off, hand­made form. Ink-​washed drawings, armor forged by a metal­smith, and hand-​painted grave plaques: the works derive their illusive power from old-​world craft­sman­ship. But this traditional costume is a camouflage. Con­cealed beneath it is a thoroughly up-to-date and deeply per­sonal diagnosis of the deficit of vital forces. When strength fails, mares arise.

Untitled, 2017, metal, paint, 29,5 x 24 cm

Mare, 2017, pencil and archival ink on paper, 45 x 64 cm

2017 shows

Oskar Dawicki


Opening on Saturday, November 25, 6-9 P.M.