October 10–November 29, 2015
Opening: October 9, 6pm
BWA SOKOL Gallery of Contemporary Art
Ul. Dlugosza 3
33-300 Nowy Sacz
Artists: Adel Abidin, Anca Benera & Arnold Estefán, Mihaela Drăgan (featuring Elena Albu), Monika Drożyńska, Aslan Gaisumov, Agnieszka Kalinowska, Yuri Leiderman, Nicoleta Moise & Olalla Castro, Ferhat Özgür, Dorota Podlaska, Maya Sumbadze, Alicja Żebrowska & Jacek Lichoń
Curators: Anna Smolak and Raluca Voinea
These days, a “Welcome” sign turned rusty and derelict, hangs invisibly, in the wind at all the European borders. Gates open randomly, reflecting starry light through bullet holes. Some people are lucky to get through, at least as far as the next fence. The flowers, the young girls, the young men and the soldiers are all long gone. Graveyards are opening and the victims of mass killings are being resurrected to meet one another, when the poles of the Earth are reversed and the new Elysium is relocated south. Three soldiers light their cigarettes with the same match, the third one will be shot. There is a time when everyone needs a refuge. Temporary shelters bring together strangers with the estranged, where all they share are stories and flavours, too seldom hope. Young girls and young men are still getting married, according to all the rituals, some of them against their will. Tradition and emancipation, belonging and desire, fate and rebellion, mourning and joy all conflict in our everyday lives and in the news we read or experience. This is as true now as it was a hundred years ago and will perhaps be two hundred years from now.
Welcome to Austeria, the hideaway, the small and remote place, where so many things can happen during a one-night stop-over: revolutions can be plotted, wars can pass by, people can fall in love or kill each other; tenderness, empathy or aloofness can all melt together in the air of a transitory space at the margin of the world, where geographies become distant and histories come alive.
The traditional inn is just such a place in which history and national or ethnic identity become mythologised; it is the old-time non-place as well as a frequent topos, anchored at the crossroads and its survival based mostly on the exchange of energies and stories. Austeria (The Inn) is not a recreation of a traditional inn from eastern Europe, nor is it solely a reference to the film of the same title (Austeria, 1982, directed by Jerzy Kawalerowicz). It departs from the geographical and historical circumstance of Nowy Sącz—part of the former province of Galicia and a formerly multicultural city at the intersection of empires, as well as from the current conditions of art institutions as places of refuge and as memory lanes or relational platforms.
Austeria—the exhibition—is an invitation to celebrate with us, despite the grim present and echoes of troubled history, these suspended moments of random encounters, fleeting conversations, shared local customs and forgotten songs, a foretold future that may or may not come to pass.
Find more information about the accompanying programme on: www.bwasokol.pl or contact Monika Smyła: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Exhibition design: Mikołaj Małek
Graphic design: Eduard Constantin
Exhibition assistants: Małgorzata Miśkowiec, Monika Smyła
Co-organized by: tranzit.ro/București
Subsidised by the National Centre for Culture under the programme Kultura – Interwencje 2015
Partners: Romanian Cultural Institute, Polish Institute in Bucharest, ERSTE Foundation, Culture.pl
Media Patrons: TVP Kultura, Herito, Magazyn Szum, Notes na 6 Tygodni, Radio Kraków