Małgorzata Żurada: Eyes that see everything

2017/02/21

Sodų 4 is happy to host a solo show by artist Małgorzata Żurada. Presented for the first time this exhibition is a result of a long lasting research by the artist, mostly developed during her residency at Nida Art Colony of Vilnius Academy of Arts, Lithuania in December 2015 – January 2016 and later in Vilnius.

Eyes that see everything was a screenplay, written in the early 1940s for Paramount Pictures by a pre-war clairvoyant Stefan Ossowiecki on the basis of his own biography. The manuscript and the author both vanished without a trace in 1944. Ossowiecki, born in 1877 in Moscow had Polish, Russian and Lithuanian ancestry. Engineer by profession, he became famous for his paranormal talents which were demonstrated upon many occasions all over Europe in presence of researchers, scholars and public figures. Around the same time another psychic – medium Franek Kluski – was known for materializations of spirits from the nether world. Both left a wealth of material – protocols, photographs, stories and anecdotes – and were some of the last highly regarded paranormal practitioners in Europe, as general interest in this field diminished significantly with the onset of WW2.

Popularity of paranormal phenomena started with the Fox sisters, who conducted their first channeling sessions in 1848 in Hydesville, New York, and just within few years séances became favorite past-time activity for people from all walks of life. In What Is Spiritism?, Allan Kardec called spiritism “a science dedicated to the relationship between incorporeal beings and human beings”. Along with table turning experiments came general interest in parapsychology followed by first academic research; as a result The Society for Psychical Research had been founded in London in 1882. While scholars and scientists investigated the nature of phenomena such as psychokinesis, clairvoyance, bilocation, extrasensory perception etc., spiritists worked towards obtaining material proofs from their experiments, hence development of spirit photography and electrography (later Kirlian photography). The whole movement gathered a plethora of records over the years. Some of them include aesthetically intriguing content: Phenomena of materialization by Baron von Schrenck-Notzing, published in 1923, Recollections from séances with Franek Kluski by Norbert Okołowicz (1926) or recent works by Chico Xavier are just a few examples.

Eyes that see everything is a creative continuation of historical records from early 20th century experiments conducted by Ossowiecki, Kluski and other psychics. Based on documented sources a new narrative emerges, that freely combines facts with fiction. The installation consists of works either made with – or developed from the methods used in spiritist séances, like wax molds, astral photography and cryptology, but also draws from other obscure techniques or cases such as sigil making and numbers stations (coded radio stations broadcasted on shortwave; samples courtesy of The Conet Project). Research on these methods examines their relevance to contemporary practice, mainly by exploring their spatial potential and applicability for building visual language. This further leads to consideration of the broader idea of communication with unknown source, concepts of liminal states, extrasensory perception and knowledge transmission through the unconventional means. A special place in this research is held by various methods of message encryption, ranging from ouija board method, through typtology (tapping alphabet), ICAO phonetic alphabet, Morse code, frequency-shift keying, electronic voice phenomena (EVP), gematria and isopsephy (numerical values of letters and words revealing hidden meanings). A recurring theme in the whole project is a letter „psi” – symbol for paranormal phenomena, with its appearance in various cultures and times – from ancient Greece, through Norse mythology, to 20th century Curonian Spit.

Małgorzata Żurada is an interdisciplinary artist based in Warsaw, Poland. She graduated from Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw in 2002 (MFA in Graphic Arts and Graphic Design) and took part in exhibitions and a-i-r programs in Poland, Lithuania, Finland, Germany, Norway and Indonesia. Her area of interest revolves around the notions of meaning and belief. She develops her works from occult theories and rituals of past and present. The main areas of her research are visual languages connected to various belief systems and means of coding secret knowledge. Over the years the core of her practice is gradually shifting from graphic arts towards more conceptual and ephemeral, making use of performative potential of her body and embracing time and space as other factors of potential meaning. In 2016 she received a scholarship from the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland. The project Eyes that see everything was realized in scope of Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland scholarship. More about the artist www.mzurada.com.

Aušra Kaziliūnaitė is a poet, writer, human rights activist. She has published four poetry books: Pirmoji lietuviška knyga (2007), 20% koncentracijos stovykla (2009), Mėnulis yra tabletė (2014), esu aptrupėjusios sienos (2016). She has received Jurga Ivanauskaitė’s award for the book Mėnulis yra tabletė. In 2016 she received a Young Artist Award. Her works have been translated into English, French, Russian, German, Latvian, Polish, Georgian. Kaziliūnaitė holds a BA degree in History and an MA degree in Religious Studies. She is currently a doctoral student at the Department of Philosophy of Vilnius University and is practicing at University of Amsterdam. The topics of her research cover the relationship between the power and the visual, the philosophy of cinema.
re
2–17 March 2017
Wednesdays to Fridays 4-8 pm, or by appointment tel. +37062689230

Opening 1 March 2017, 6 pm
with poetic text readings by Aušra Kaziliūnaitė

This exhibition is organized in cooperation with Culture.pl and is kindly supported by Lithuanian Council for Culture, the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania and Polish Institute in Vilnius.

Project Space Sodų 4
Sodų Str. 4, Vilnius
www.letmekoo.lt/sodu-4

Screen Shot 2017-02-21 at 19.20.29

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