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Empathy of Sacrum for Profanum and Vice Versa Reference Image

Jarosław Kozłowski

Centre of Contemporary Art Znaki Czasu

Centre of Contemporary Art Znaki Czasu

Empathy of Sacrum for Profanum and Vice Versa actually consists of two objects taken, of course, from everyday life, yet without a common look. These are two metal bins placed on a white platform: one is painted gold, with the author's signature, the other – silver, with a black garbage bag inside. They constitute a pair-opposition, but what is crucial in this context is that eight other pairs of the kind appeared in the Profiles Gallery in 2012, including: Mao and the nation, Hitler and Stalin, the myth and mythology (in the person of Marilyn Monroe), the single and the plural (Mona Lisa). By the way, Kozłowski hints at his earlier Art Mythologies, in which he dealt with artistic mythologies and pretensions. Is it the same for sacrum and profanum, “suffering” (empathy, in Greek “empátheia” – suffering) in front of each other? We definitely encounter here a deceitful game of complementary oppositions-references so typical of the author, which is based on language, on the one hand, and on the nomadic process of ascribing meanings, on the other (from a pre-text, through the text, up to the “con-text”). [A. Dzierżyc-Horniak]

Art that is neither a myth nor reality, but lies somewhere in between. Art, whose constitutive parts are “ready-made objects”, differing in status from those in the realm of reality and from their representation and transformation in the realm of art. In such terms, Jarosław Kozłowski defines his output since the 1990s, locating it within the “third realm”. The Empathy of Sacrum for Profanum and Vice Versa installation shows that, despite the past two decades and the beginning of a new century, this concept and, at the same time, the method remain relevant.
Empathy of Sacrum for Profanum and Vice Versa actually consists of two objects taken, of course, from everyday life, yet without a common look. These are two metal bins placed on a white platform: one is painted gold, with the author's signature, the other – silver, with a black garbage bag inside. They constitute a pair-opposition, but what is crucial in this context is that eight other pairs of the kind appeared in the Profiles Gallery in 2012, including: Mao and the nation, Hitler and Stalin, the myth and mythology (in the person of Marilyn Monroe), the single and the plural (Mona Lisa). By the way, Kozłowski hints at his earlier Art Mythologies, in which he dealt with artistic mythologies and pretensions. Is it the same for sacrum and profanum, “suffering” (empathy, in Greek “empátheia” – suffering) in front of each other? We definitely encounter here a deceitful game of complementary oppositions-references so typical of the author, which is based on language, on the one hand, and on the nomadic process of ascribing meanings, on the other (from a pre-text, through the text, up to the “con-text”). In such understanding, Empathy of Sacrum for Profanum and Vice Versa evokes a number of myths. The myth of an artist who, as Midas, changes everything he or she creates into gold. The myth of the “modern” Duchamps gesture, where an author, unconstrained in his or her choices, declares liberation from what is “aesthetic” by signing a urinal. The myth of alchemical transmutation, in which, via “equal exchange”, the non-noble (the non-artistic) was meant to change into the noble (the artistic).
Thus, at this point, one can recall the words of Jerzy Ludwiński, who in describing Kozłowski's objects, stressed that one should look not only at them, but also at what is happening in between them. In this way, the artist could pose questions, since they were a lot more interesting than the answers themselves. There is no doubt that Empathy of Sacrum for Profanum and Vice Versa accomplishes this task perfectly. [A. Dzierżyc-Horniak]

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