proj. Łukasz Paluch
9 August – 24 September 2017
Opening: 9 August 2017,19:00
Awangarda gallery BWA Wrocław
ul. Wita Stwosza 32
The newest exhibition in the Awangarda gallery is a story about the permanent crisis in the world that surrounds us. Wojtek Ulrich’s New Deal is an attempt to take a closer look at the way this reality works, at how we create it and how it remains inaccessible to us. The New York and Mexico-based artist confronts the audience with a strong and literal message, which requires a constant supply of new data and images to be described.
The exhibition’s title refers to the “new deal” term taken from the historical glossary which was used to separate two different epochs. The situation today resembles the times of solstice during the break of the 20s and 30s. The crisis of values, the deviated form of capitalism and the unstable position of the West defines both the cotemporary times and the past. The term “new deal” is strongly rooted in our contemporariness; it refers to the effective mitigation of the crisis and the entering of an epoch of peace which seemingly heralds order. Today we are also trying to enter a new order but with the bitter awareness that to change anything, everything must remain unchanged – says the artist.
Wojtek Ulrich, The Dog, a shot from the video, 2011.
Wojtek Ulrich’s presentation is an attempt to deconstruct the superficial feeling of being content with our “new order.” The artist shows the reality of our world, confronts the audience – the consumers, with what can be invisible on a day-to-day basis. In the New Deal we will see mainly videos, films and installations which put the audience in an uncomfortable position. In the project T-shirt, the artist shows children working in sewing factories in India, where the clothes we wear come from. In the installation Concentration Garden, we are left in front of a fence which, on the one hand resembles the fences from concentration camps, and on the other resembles set decorations from a soap opera. That way the artist wants us to ask ourselves a question about our position and which side we are on. Ulrich does everything by identifying us with the stance of people who live far from the problems of the developing countries and of the developed countries, for whom looking deeply into reality threatens the commonly adopted vision of the world.
Wojtek Ulrich’s exhibition is his first individual one in Poland. The works by this Mexico and New York-based artist have been shown in many galleries abroad, in the Beijing Biennale and Documenta in Kassel.
Wojtek Ulrich, Concentration Garden, neon wire, 2002-2017
Although Ulrich’s projects talk about phenomena with which we might have met before (such as child labor), they often run away from our view. One way or another, there are questions: What is the new deal? What is the price we’re paying for our well-being? What is the new arrangement to which we consent so enthusiastically? - says Paweł Jarodzki, the exhibition’s curator. We always enter uncomfortable, awkward situations which take us out of the safe position of a viewer, voyeur or tourist – he adds.
Curator: Paweł Jarodzki
Production: Patrycja Sikora, Patrycja Ścisłowska
Visual identification: Łukasz Paluch
Wojtek Ulrich – since 1996, has been living and working in New York. He has shown his works mainly in the United States, Mexico and China. He graduated from the National University of Art (in 1987; currently the Eugeniusz Geppert Academy of Art and Design) and the studio of A.R. Penck in Kunstakademie Düsseldorf (1992). His double educational background and the fact that he has been working on a different continent for an extended period of time have influenced the artist's artistic techniques and the way he sees the contemporary world. In his art, he uses state-of-the-art technologies, creates films and installations. Shortening the distance between the artist and the viewer and frequently putting the viewer in uncomfortable situations are the distinguishing characteristics of his work.