ANNA KONIK - I samma stad, under samma himmel... In the same city, under the same sky...
From 1 March 2013 to 30 March 2013
Curator: Magdalena Godlewska
Place: Arsenal Gallery in Bialystok, ul. A. Mickiewicza 2
Artists: Anna Konik
Anna Konik's art is about people. Always her top priority, they show the artist around their places and around their lives. Anna Konik retells their stories, sometimes from behind a camera, sometimes physically appearing on the film set. But no matter whether she is visible or not, we know that she goes through their complicated lives with them. Anna Konik is one fo the artists who deals with the issue of people marginalized in societies. People who are excluded because of their status related to their age, illness, nationality, Her protagonists are transparent or quite the opposite – very visible. We want to get always from both of them. We don't want to notice them or at least quickly forget about them. They are “alien”, they remain on the margins of social life. Anna Konik shows them to us, proves that they are here. The question is why we don't meet them in “our” shop, in “our” park, on “our” street.
The artist's latest project, presented in the Arsenal Gallery an titled “In the same city, under the same sky...”, crosses the line before which we can still feel safe because the problem seemingly doesn't concern us.
The project consists of 14 videos, where the stories of women, immigrants and refugees from Chechnya, Afghanistan, Syria, Somalia, Iraq, Turkey, Kurdistan, Ingushetia are retold by women from Białystok and Stockholm. Th exhibition includes 7 videos created during the artist’s residency in Sweden. Another 7 videos and 7 stories about women from Chechnya and Ingushetia living in Białystok were created during the educational workshops at the Arsenal Playground. The exhibition is a reflection upon the fates of people forced to leave their countries, it confronts us with the history of those who appeared in our city. It also asks the question how much of the humane compassion for the war victims we see in television can we show in real life, when these people become our neighbours. The exhibition will be accompanied by a panel discussion with the author, art critics, Chechens living in Białystok and social organizations.
Anna Konik speaks about the the first part of the “In the same city, under the same sky...” project which was realized in Stockholm - “my work deals with the problems of immigrants who live in the concrete suburbs of Stockholm – the rejected, unwanted women. (…) They all live in the suburbs, they feel they are among their kind and accepted there. The city doesn't understand them and as a result segregates them. The suburbs are not only their home but also a planned spatial isolation from the centre. The huge district, instead of providing a chance for adjustment, becomes a ghetto. In order to allow the immigrants to come into existence, seven Swedish women, in their homes, will tell the stories of immigrant women from the Stockholm ghetto, women whom they don't know. Those women, who have never experienced war, humiliation, social exclusion, will tell the stories of those who lived through it. The woman from the city centre, in her home, with her correct Swedish language will allow the “other” to come into existence. (2012)
An identical film project was realized in Białystok. Here the main protagonists are refugees from Chechnya and Ingushetia. They live in the Białystok Centre for Refugees, as well as in rented flats in the city. They live with their families. Some of them have husbands, some of them raise their children by themselves. All of them had to escape because of very serious reasons. Not all of them tell the hardest parts of their stories. How can one speak about the murdering of a son in revenge for the actions of his father? Because they fear for their family left in Chachnya, they want to remain unrecognised. In the Białystok part of the project the histories of the refugees were told by women living in our city. Through local newspaper ads we looked for women who were the same age as our Chechen women. This was the only criterion for selecting the participants of the multimedia workshops. The presence of refugees and immigrants is quite a new experience in Białystok, and in Poland in general. The fates of the immigrants living in Sweden create a story of alienation, but also of remaining in the new homeland and hoping that the children will have a better life. The histories recorded in Białystok have their continuations. Most of the women who decided to tell their stories have already left Poland because they still look for a better world.
Anna Konik– makes video installations, objects, her practice combines video, photography, drawing. Lives and works in Berlin, Warsaw and Dobrodzien. Studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw in the studio of Krzysztof M. Bednarski and Professor Grzegorz Kowalski. In 2000 obtained a diploma under the supervision of Professor Grzegorz Kowalski.
In 1999 -2001 she was an assistant to Professor Zofia Glazer, Department of Drawing, Academy of Fine Arts, Warsaw. In 1999 – 2004 she collaborated with Academia Theatre, theatre group Opera Buffa and independent theatre group „BezNazwy Theatre“. In 2012 Anna received an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts in the Department ofMedia ArtsandStage Design, Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. During summer term 2012 and 2013 she will run a video seminar at the Department of Linguistics and Literature, Bielefeld University. In the year 2010/2011 she hold video guest lectures in the Department of Fashion Design at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Warsaw. In 2009 she was invited as Rudolf Arnheim Associate Professor in the Art History Department, Humboldt University in Berlinand in 2008-2009 she run lectures on new media at the International Summer Academy in Salzburg.
She was nominated for the Views 2009 – the Deutsche Bank Foundation Award, Zacheta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw and for the Polityka Passport Cultural Award, Warsaw. Anna Konik has also received study awards, residencies and has been invited to grant stays in different countries: Ministry of Culture and National Heritage Grant (2013); IASPIS, Stockholm (2011/2012); ZiF Centre for Interdisciplinary Research, University, Bielefeld (2011); Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin (2008/2009); Zuger Kulturstiftung Landis & Gyr, Zug (2007); Young Poland Grant (2007); KulturKontakt Vienna (2006); National Sculpture Factory, Cork (2006); SPACES World Artists Program, Cleveland, USA (2005); Polish Ministry of Culture Grant (2005); Leube Artist in Residency (2004); Academy Schloss Solitude (2003/2004); Leube Foundation/Salzburg-Gartenau (2003); DAAD, Kunsthochschule Berlin-Weissensee (2001–2002).
Her work has been shown in numerous Polish and European galleries.
Selected solo exhibitions:In the same city, under the same sky..., Swedish Parliament (2012); Fear and Entranced, Atlas Sztuki, Lodz (2011); Our Lady’s Forever, Polish Institute Düsseldorf (2011),The Villa of the Entranced, Max Liebermann Haus (2010); Our Lady’s Forever, Städtische Galerie Wolfsburg (2009); 61st International Film Festival Locarno (2008); Our Lady’s Forever Kronika Gallery, Bytom (2008); Zacheta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw (2007); Transparency, Centre for Contemporary Art, Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw; Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart (2004).
Selected group exhibitions: Divina Commedia, Museo Arcos, Benewent (2013); United States of Europe, Łódź; Lapinlahti Helsinki; Mekas Vilnius; Plataforma das Artes Portugal; Old Market Pallouriotissa Cypr; Motorenhalle Dresden; The Red House Sofia; Les Ecluses, fabrique culturelle et numerique France (2013–2012–2011); Tür an Tür, Polen – Deutschland. 1000 Jahre Kunst und Geschichte, Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin (2011); Divina Commedia, PAN Palazzo Delle Arti, Neapol (2011);Mediation/Space, Szara Gallery, Cieszyn (2010); Territories of the In/Human, Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart (2010); Künstler in der KunstGesellschaft, Motorenhalle, Drezno (2010); Views 2009, Zacheta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw; Collection 5, Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw; Isoleted, The Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast (2009).
Konik works are in private and corporate art collections: Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw, Poland; Podlaskie Association for the Promotion of Fine Arts,Bialystok, Poland; The Upper Silesian Museum, Bytom, Poland; Leube Art Foundation, Gartenau-Salzburg; Lublin Association Zacheta Collection of Fine Arts, Poland; Art Stations Foundation, Poznan, Poland.
More information on: www.annakonik.art.pl
The Stockholm part of the project was created during the artist's residency in IASPIS, 2011/2012 (Swedish organization awarding grants for visual artists). The main producer is MAP (Mobile Art Production) and the project partners are: Polish Institute in Stockholm and IASPIS Stockholms Kulturföratning. Project manager: Therese Kellner (MAP).
The Stockholm part of the project was presented in Swedish parliament from 18th to 21st of June 2012. There was a panel discussion with the Minister for Integration Erik Ullenhag, the artist, the director of Mobile Art Production Magdalena Malm and a journalist and writer Maciej Zaremba, who permanently resides in Sweden.
project manager: Therese Kellner (Mobile Art Production)