A Collective Exhibition at Virtual Gallery: HYPERLINK – a New Image of the World and Human

The "HYPERLINK" project consists of two complementary parts.

The first part is Zbigniew Romańczuk's individual exhibitionThis part has a hybrid character – several multimedia works are presented virtually, others will be displayed at the seat of The National Museum in Szczecin – The Museum of Contemporary Art and (as we hope) available for the public in late January 2021. The curator of the exhibition is Aleksandra Łukaszewicz Alcaraz. The second part, entitled "HIPERLINK – a New Image of the World and Human” is a virtual gallery, an effect of cooperation between the artist – Zbigniew Romańczuk, a philosopher – Aleksandra Łukaszewicz Alcaraz and a computer graphic designer – Radosław Nagay, who invited artists from Poland, Spain, the Czech Republic, Great Britain and Germany to reflect over the world's condition at the time of images generated by digital technology and biotechnology.

Curators: Zbigniew Romańczuk, Aleksandra Łukaszewicz Alcaraz, Radosław Nagay

Artists: Andrzej Banachowicz, Maria Cuevas-Riano, Mikołaj Garstecki, Mariusz Łukawski, Tomasz Kalitko, Frantisek Kowolowski, Katarzyna Kujawska-Murphy, Ewa Kulesza, Paul Magee, Arkadiusz Marcinkowski, Jan Mioduszewski, Mateusz Otręba, Andrzej Pepłoński, Marta Pogorzelec, Adam Romaniuk, Zbigniew Romańczuk, Valentina Torrado, Filip Wierzbicki-Nowak, Edyta Wolska

The collective exhibition entitled "HYPERLINK - a New Image of the World and Human" at The National Museum in Szczecin virtual gallery has been carried out within Artistic Scholarship of the City of Szczecin - artystyczne stypendium Urzędu Miejskiego w Szczecinie.




HYPERLINK – New Images of the World and Human
The "HYPERLINK" exhibition is an effect of cooperation between the artist – Zbigniew Romańczuk, a philosopher – Aleksandra Łukaszewicz Alcaraz and a computer graphic designer – Radosław Nagay, who invited artists from Poland, Spain, the Czech Republic, Brat Britain and Germany to reflect over the condition of the world and human at the time of images generated by digital technology and biotechnology. The result of these actions is presented in virtual form in the gallery space walked through by the visitor who can see still pictures, videos, objects and artistic installations. The viewer is an (in)user (according to Mirosław Rogala's terminology), they are a participant of the space in which, apart from visiting the exhibition, they can rest in a courtyard or walk through a beautifully illuminated flower composition by Mikołaj Garstecki entitled "Withering". In the interactive virtual gallery we see, move around, rest by means of invisible avatar which identifies itself with our eye. We are an alive flesh in virtual space. Topical experience offered by the exhibition is a result of changes in forms of experiencing the world and manipulating it which require changes in social relations and ways of self-defining.  

The aim of the exhibition is to draw attention to the image based not so much on pure visuality, but on interactivity, immersion and responsiveness, as well as on a human who can manifest and act in both the physical and digital worlds, where they take various forms of digital embodiment. Digital image shaping was related in the exhibition's composition to the condition of human, of the world and knowledge, building a coherent statement on possible new images of the world and human emerging from new digital technologies and biotechnologies.


Eastern Gallery 
Entering the Eastern Gallery, we first see Andrzej Banachowicz's compositions entitled "Vive memor" ("Live by Remembering"). They introduce the dynamics of repetition and changes into the forms of digital images with a clear raster, bringing to mind the artistic fabric and reflecting the panorama of the artist's 30 years of synesthetic experiences. The compositions create a new reality in an illuminated visual code, storing the signs of memories. They are an expression of a dialogue about human existence in changed relationships and forms of perceiving reality.

Banachowicz's paintings recall melancholic memories and refer to the minimalist, grayscale geometric digital pictures by Marta Pogorzelec entitled "Refugium IX". The nature of the rhythms of Banachowicz's walls and objects was isolated and closed in pure form by Pogorzelec. Memory, loneliness, closure and desire for freedom, which are felt in the works by Banachowicz and Pogorzelec, find a different expression in the documentary video by Katarzyna Kujawska-Murphy "Where Diane Arbus Lived". It is based on interviews with people living in the 1960s and 1970s in Westbeth, Manhattan, where artists lived and where which many people, including Diane Arbus, committed suicide.

After watching the video, we approach "As Water Runs Out", Valentina Torrado's triptych of moving digital images. It shows close-ups of two waterfalls, which in the conditions of the physical world would take the form of a video installation; and a display of a changing inscription. It addresses contemporary social problems related to access to drinking water in Venezuela and shows the essence of the fluid nature of digital visibility.

Then we find not moving pictures, but digital photographs by Adam Romaniuk. The two works "Look at Your Feet, Boy" are a series of reflections of a figure's shadow in physical and digital surfaces, pointing to the multiplicity and uncertainty of human images. This multiplicity and uncertainty of images is also referred to the contemporary world by Andrzej Pepłoński, whose "Ryoan Ju" animation consists of an innumerable set of colourful, semi-transparent labels being a metaphorical representation of the iconosphere. They express the fluid, visual and commercial condition of modern human and the world in which they live. This world is not only largely digital, but also biotechnological, and the human figure is multiplied in it. The question about its structure and significance in relation to Buddhist history and knowledge can be found in Pepłoński's second video, "Ryoan Ju 3".

An ironic comment on the popularisation of biotechnology in the near future are "Posthumanopol", digital photographs by Jan Mioduszewski, which show company posters hanging on mesh fences. They include a poster of a company dealing in brain implants, cyber-support, mind transfer, gene therapy and organ regeneration. In domestic technology, obviously. A possible emotional reaction to such a situation, which is neither an affirmation nor acceptance, is expressed in digital graphics by Mateusz Otręba, "Fat" and "Close-up". A multiplied eye looks at us from the pictures, which in "Close-up" cries a black tear over the chaos of human facial contours, while in "Fat" it connects with a finger pointing at us, as if asking about our place - in the world? In this space?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
Two paintings by František Kowolowski, which play together diagonally in the gallery space, complementing each other in terms of form and meaning, reveal the absurdity of reality. The first is a digital photograph of the wall of a building with the inscription sprayed on it: "Absurd. I did not become better person; lie; ruthless; stupid, drinker; sensitive, romantic ”. The second image maintains the colour division of the pictorial surface of the photograph into white with yellow and blue broken with grey, and asks a question about the matter of the image and the reality it presents. The absurdity felt in fact evokes a desire to make sense of our existence and seek explanations. This desire is illustrated by two graphics by Filip Wierzbicki-Nowak, showing: one: the structure of the code, and the other: the organic structure. They refer to two conspiracy theories accompanying the emergence of Covid-19, i.e. media manipulation and 5G transmission of the virus. These are possible explanations for the current pandemic situation.


The Courtyard                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Leaving the Eastern Gallery, we go out to a spacious courtyard with three installations: "Withering" by Mikołaj Garstecki, presenting six lotus flowers that are increasingly damaged, digitally fading; and a series of paintings by this artist, entitled "Narcissus", "Lotos", "Lily", "Narcissus Pond", which can be related to falling in love with one's reflection in the mirror of technology, as well as Katarzyna Kujawska-Murphy's "Drills of Enthropy". The artist's sculpture, made of steel and then digitised, refers to the concept of enthropy, which harmonises with the idea vanishing present in Garstecki's fading flowers. The disappearance of the psychodynamic field set in time indicates materiality as an object of desire in the situation of digital reality in which it is present as a lack.


Western Gallery 
After having a rest in the courtyard, we continue our tour in the Western Gallery. There, first we go through the green spaces of Arkadiusz Mracinkowski's "1 + 2 + 3 = 6", which are based on planes of a uniform colour and a delicate structure of a cup, like drwain in a stylus, casting a double shadow; and then through the yellow spaces of Mariusz Łukawski's "Ephemeral Compositions. 9 Elements and 10 Diagonals ”, containing geometric op-art forms. The work by Paul Magee in the next room creates a space in which blue circles of "Planet elsewhere - Seven days" float, contrasted with the opposite monochrome image of disturbances - a still image of "Metropolis". The question posed by Magee goes beyond the issues of the human condition and of their life in the iconosphere, referring to our images of the universe and to the nature of our knowledge, which is only an image and belief, as well as to the way of living in the spaces of big cities. The mesh on the delicate grey cloud by Ewa Kulesza in the work "Cell" is a poetic metaphor about the forms of perception and understanding, and the categorisation of ambiguous reality that transforms like a cloud.

"Beyond the Sequence", a painting triptych by Tomasz Kalitko, shows human suffering expressed symbolically in deformed faces and more literally in an image of a fight. Paintings by Maria Cuevas-Riano “Random colour color series. RCC S-19 25, RCC S-19 27, RCC S-19 33” refer to early painting works using digital tools, such as the works by Monique Prieto. They are also formally composed together with subtle, moving forms arranged in a graphical order, which are artistically transformed nuclear images of the human brain by Zbigniew Romańczuk, entitled "Soma", moving in smooth flows with different rhythms. Romanczuk, following Richard Shusterman, uses the concept of soma to refer to the inextricable nature of corporeality, emotionality and mentality, avoiding the trap of the Cartesian dichotomy of the body and mind. From this perspective, the integrity of a human makes all experience happen "through" the body. For this reason, developing body awareness is a necessary element for any critical reflection to reach deeper, hidden mechanisms of functioning that exist beyond our perception.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        "Spam", a video by Edyta Wolska, guides our gaze from bare feet through brick walls shown in black and white with post-production effects. The artist was in the Witches' Tower in Słupsk, where women accused of witchcraft used to be inprisoned, such as Trina Papistan, or Kathrin Zimmermann, the last alleged witch burnt in this area. The embodiment of that experience is intended to relate it to today's witch hunts in the form of Internet hate. The pyre is virtual today, but the effects are as traumatic as before, and hate speech becomes the trigger for the virtual pyre.


Curatorial cooperation
It is interesting how attention has been drawn to the exhibition creative curatorial process, which is the result of cooperation between an artist, a philosopher and a graphic designer. The ideas developed during discussions between the artist and the philosopher were transposed into the paintings of the invited artists and arranged by the graphic artist. Each stage of the process was completed with feedback from the artist and philosopher, transposed into a visual and graphic form in the next stage of work until the achievement of a satisfactory form and functionality.

Many years of knowing each other and cooperating with each other allowed the curators to create a work that is varied, subtle, sophisticated and expressive in its message, indicating a deep understanding between the curators. The work they created is a digital platform, which is a place of presentation and exchange of knowledge and experience of the artists, universities and artistic institutions regarding new visual phenomena in relation to digital technologies. The platform includes a multimedia exhibition in the digital space of The National Museum in Szczecin. It shows the aesthetic potential in images generated with the use of digital technologies and examines the language codes of digital images, on account of which it is possible to reflect contemporary civilization and cultural values, allowing to expand our field of view and experience of reality.

Aleksandra Łukaszewicz Alcaraz


The project has been implemented within Creative Scholarship of The City of Szczecin - Stypendium Twórcze Miasta Szczecin.

mecenat miasta szczecin copy