Tomasz Opania, “All Quiet on the Eastern Front”
A new exhibition at Mieszkanie Gepperta and Szewska galleries will begin in early September.
17:00 Szewska gallery
19:00 Mieszkanie Gepperta gallery
Mieszkanie Gepperta gallery
Ofiar Oświęcimskich 1/2, 50-069 Wrocław
Monday, Tuesday 15:00-19:00
or by other appointment: firstname.lastname@example.org
Szewska 27, 50-139 Wrocław
documentation of the work process on the mobile object by Tomasz Opania and Krzysztof Skrzynecki
opening hours: round the clock
The title of the exhibition is a travesty of the title of one of the most famous works of 20th century literature – the anti-war novel All Quiet on the Western Front (German: Im Westen nichts Neues) by Erich Maria Remarque. Both the author himself – a war veteran – and the characters in his novel were among the so-called “lost generation” whose youth was taken away by the tragedy of World War I. All Quiet on the Eastern Front paraphrases Remarque, who in turn used a phraseme taken from German frontline communiqués that described the daily hopeless struggle which cost the lives of thousands of German soldiers. Thus, it illustrated the mechanism of habituation to the atrocity of war, whose final stage was the perception of an emergency situation as something “normal,” “ordinary” and “familiar.”
In the current situation, the phrase takes on an even broader meaning, indicating the prolonged process of exerting various forms of pressure by the Russian Federation (and earlier by the USSR) on Ukraine. They have culminated in the current criminal military action. Russian policies aimed at counteracting the consolidation of a fully independent Ukrainian statehood based on the principles of territorial integrity and the inviolability of borders, which ultimately led to the annexation of strategically and economically important territories, have often treated the local population in an instrumental and unscrupulous way.
All Quiet on the Eastern Front is an installation with an object in constant motion at its centre. A cuboid set on a special structure is ceaselessly and tirelessly unfolding itself into four identical vertical parts, which slide diagonally while rotating 180 degrees to meet again in the centre for a fraction of a second. However, each time they touch with their “opposite” sides, revealing the picture of a border post – painted in either Ukrainian or Russian national colours.
BAW! Baby Art Walk | 21.09.2022 | 13:00
SAW! Senior Art Walk | 28.09.2022 | 16:00
fot. Małgorzata Kujda
The kinetic object is the result of cooperation between Tomasz Opania and Krzysztof Skrzynecki – a graduate of the Faculty of Computer Science of the University of Wrocław, who was responsible for the project and co-created of the mechanism.
Tomasz Opania was born in Gliwice in 1970. In 1994 he obtained a diploma in sculpture from the State Higher School of Fine Arts (today: E. Geppert Academy of Art and Design) in Wrocław. In 1993 he received a scholarship of the Minister of Culture and Art, and in 1994 – the Swiss Government’s scholarship for young artists. From 1994 to 1996 he studied at École Supérieure d’Arts Visuels in Geneva. He has worked at the Academy in Wrocław since 1996, where he currently heads the graduate Studio of Art in Public Space. In 2012–2014 he was the head of the Chair of Art Mediation. Since 2019, he has been in charge of the postgraduate programme Mediation and Art Market.
In his practice he works in sculpture, installation, performance, public space projects and design. He builds objects and inventions, using various techniques or collaborating with professionals and craftsmen. His “art tools” are often machines or instruments requiring the audience’s active involvement. They are participatory sculptures that engage the viewer and/or force them to adopt a certain attitude. Opania also creates “attributes” that he uses in live performances. He treats his works as a commentary on current events and the surrounding reality. He is interested in politics and society. He conducts workshops for young people, adults and excluded people: those with mental disorders, disabilities and/or permanently unemployed.
SELECTED INDIVIDUAL EXHIBITIONS:
1996 SCULPTURE – Espace Faits Divers gallery – Geneva,
2015 PERSONAL TRAINER – Studio of Socially Engaged Art – Rewiry Cultural Centre – Lublin,
2018 TOMASZ OPANIA, DESIGN SHOWROOM – BWA – Wrocław, Poland,
2020 ENTROPOLUX – Entropia Gallery (with Jerzy Kosałka).
SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS:
1999 SCULPTURE X – parc Stagni – Geneva – Switzerland,
2002 Dialogue 2 – ECA – Edinburgh – Scotland,
2008 Third Edition (collection of Zachęta Lower Silesia) – Museum of Architecture, Wrocław,
2012 Silesia Art Biennale: OUTSIDE IN INSIDE OUT – public space of Jelenia Góra,
2014 The Germans Did Not Come – Wrocław Contemporary Museum / KUNSTHALLE Dresden
2015 Dispossession – Palazzo Dona Brusa – la 56 Biennale di Venezia – Venice,
2021 Caution: Artists! Text Messages in Art – Kunsttempel – Kassel – Germany,
SELECTED ORIGINAL PROJECTS:
Wrocław – Backyard Entrance
The project is co-financed with funds received from the Municipality of Wroclaw | www.wroclaw.pl