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#25

f.a.i.t. - Fundacja Artysci Innowacja Teoria -
is an art collective and gallery in Krakow, Poland
organised by Magda Szedzielarz , Karolina Nowak, and Gawel Kownacki

OUTPOST is pleased to host the first leg of a gallery exchange with Fundacja f.a.i.t. - from Krakow, Poland. East's Desires will present the work of eight Polish artists across the gallery space and the Church of St Simon and St Jude; Rahim Blak, Michal Kowalski, Gawel Kownacki, Bartosz Mucha, Justyna Scheuring, Grzegorz Sztwiertnia, Piotr Wyrzykowski, Jakub Julian Ziolkowski.

The exhibition will take place at a time of high and sustained visibility for issues surrounding the mass economic migration of workers from several new European member states to the UK and Ireland. The Polish perceptions of such topical concerns are directly addressed by the exhibited works, through a combination of photography, painting and object sculpture, but predominantly with the use and presentation of film in exploring the fabled East-West passage.


The framework for the show is set out in the following statement from f.a.i.t;

We have always thought of ourselves as Central European, until we were asked by OUTPOST in Norwich to organize an exhibition of Polish contemporary art. Looking at Poland from a British perspective, places us in the position of an eastern country, so our thinking was then in terms of West-East opposition. From this point of view 'West' means always Wonderland, a place where dreams can come true. As it developed, our East's desires proposal turned into an important opportunity to ponder our individual and national identities.

Our experience of the West has numerous sources and dimensions, each with different levels of intensity and initiation. The first is of 'hearing', a kind of second-hand relationship through films, advertisements, stories and television. Another is more direct, of 'being' in the West, a personal experience as a poor tourist, an illegal worker, or homeless in an unknown country. Finally of 'hosting' the West, meeting foreign tourists on the streets, observing their behaviour, providing hospitality and preparing entertainments for them. Each situation is different and stimulates different desires, needs and dreams.

The question of 'desire' is not only focused on its subject but also on the influence of Poland's historical background, of results and remains. Contemporary Polish dreams arise from our turbulent history: glorious times of Poland from the Baltic to Black Sea in the 16th century; collapse of the polish country; insurrections; the trauma of the Second World War; communism and finally capitalism. All these experiences contribute to a specific 'polish mentality', a sense of unlimited freedom and typical polish ability to 'organize' things, meaning our inventive ability to obtain the unreachable and create the impossible.

The uncertain geopolitical position of Poland - which on one hand is the border of the Latin alphabet and Catholic religion, with both seen as marks of a west-European culture, but on the other it is generally considered an eastern-European country - causes a characteristic dualism in defining polish identity. Our desires as well as our mentality are situated between melancholy and rebellion, low self-esteem and insolence, conservatism and freethinking. By exploring these thoughts, the works presented in the exhibition are bringing together past experience, present reality and future hopes; metaphorically referencing the most urgent contemporary problems as well as signalling potential changes.

f.a.i.t.