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Karolina Zdunek, Blocks, 2007, oil on canvas, 190 x 570 cm
The Polish Cultural Institute

Andrzej Cisowski, Zuzanna Janin, Tomasz Kozak, Jan Mioduszewski, Laura Pawela and Karolina Zdunek

Wednesday, December 5, 2007 - Sunday, December 9, 2007

LOCAL_30 Gallery at NADA Art Fair
Miami, FL

lokal_30 is an art spot situated at the very core of Warsaw, on legendary Foksal Street, quite near a couple of local symbols of absurdity: the Palace of Culture and Science - a widely ridiculed monument of the Stalinist era, and a huge artificial palm tree by Joanna Rajkowska installed at the crossroads of two of Warsaw's main streets. Warsaw has been a city of paradoxes, and lokal_30, an independent gallery that aims to stir up our culture, has persistently tried to comment on those contradictions. lokal_30 represents artists who relate in their work to the reality around them: to mass culture, to social issues, or to the absurd as it arises in modern life. On the other hand, it represents a group of artists who have consciously chosen the tradition of modernism - deeply rooted in Polish art - as their source of inspiration. The gallery's program has often featured the most diverse attitudes in confrontation with one another. However, artists who collaborate with lokal_30 are bound together by their awareness of operating in a specific, common cultural context, as well as by their feeling of a constant need to raise objections.

"The Pursuit of Contradictions" is a presentation of six artists related to lokal_30, whose works either tell us about antagonisms, or stand in obvious opposition to one another. Zuzanna Janin is an artist who deals in her work with pivotal issues of the human condition. Her work has been based upon a constant clash of contradicting elements and energies. In her most recent video "From Here to There", the artist presents - in two films put together as a set - the act of building and demolishing two houses. As both films are screened backwards, what is being built is shown as if being destroyed and what is in fact being destroyed appears to be under construction. Life and death, existence and non-existence, old and new are thus tied together within a common circle.

The work of Tomasz Kozak, one of the most promising among younger Polish artists, also relies upon antagonisms. In his videos and paintings Kozak confronts a very visually attractive image with intellectually sophisticated content that seems to require some kind of key or introduction. Kozak alludes to ancient mythologies, cultures and topics, confronting them with a modern mass culture that quite often feeds on historically or politically discredited traditions or ideologies.

Laura Pawela, on the other hand, creates pictures, objects, installations and animations inspired by computer and cellular phone interface. Using a strategy of subversion, she alters the meanings of systemic commands or communications into questions or concise information relating to everyday life or to the electronic media users' existence. In opposition to her work, anchored in the world of modern technologies. Jan Mioduszewski is an author of installations and paintings, as well as his tongue-in-cheek artistic trademark Fabryka Mebli (Furniture Factory) and what he calls "still performances". In his work the artist gets involved in a discussion with tradition, with the very essence of a painter's imaging, and with the principle of mimesis. Mioduszewski's taunting pieces of furniture/paintings or objects and 'furniture installations' nostalgically recall the time of mass production of cheap veneer-covered furniture made of pressed wood. This sarcastically reminds us about a past period when modernistic design coupled with dismal quality and workmanship resulted in common, standard furniture - synonymous with safety and the people's ability to cope with the hardships of life in a socialist homeland.

The young painter Karolina Zdunek refers to the tradition of constructivism and creates a visual evocation of the artificial world of ideal modernistic architecture through her room-conquering monumental paintings. Enormous linen or wall paintings lure the watcher with illusions of side-streets and never-ending walls, in which one is bound to believe one has found oneself within an ideal space, amidst a pure architecture that is not yet corrupted by man. Andrzej Cisowski, a painter who derives his subjects from mass culture, could not be farther from Karolina Zdunek's work. His paintings are brimming with quotations from advertisements, press, comics, movies and TV. Graphic design that surrounds us, translated into the language of painting, becomes a stream of visual imagery of modern-day consumerism - in fact a scrapyard of images.

The clashing, antagonistic attitudes in the group of artists related with lokal_30 make the gallery a platform for exchange and confrontation of various ways of thinking, while the visitor is encouraged to participate in the debate over contemporary culture in all its variety, wealth and contradictions.

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