Since its beginning the Young Triennale in Orońsko has focused on the presentation of the most interesting tendencies in the art of the youngest generation. According to this intention it was supposed to stand out from other events of this type with its open formula. Over the last years the methods of choosing artists have been changing, yet to a large extent they were based on selecting the most interesting artists and the presentation of their work by experienced curators and critics.
However, their external perspective sometimes leads to using secondary criteria to describe the practices and their ‘diagnoses’ do not take into account a wider context of the functioning and interests of the debuting artists.
The Open Triennale refers to the formula of a review, developed from the beginning. In order to give it a contemporary dimension we suggest shifting the stress of the main programme onto what is usually described as accompanying events, in order to address the problem of activities generally happening on the margins or outside the main field of art. Instead of an spectacular exhibition, we propose a symposium consisting of presentations, addresses, discussion panels, shows of works and lectures touching the issues of artistic production and its distribution from the perspective of artists themselves. The exhibition itself is an extension of the five-day-long meeting, active forms of production-exchange of experiences and knowledge. The event is supposed to be a space for expression, free from strict rules, dedicated to artists, curators and others not only interested in contemporary art. Like in previous years, artists have been invited inter alia as a result of meetings and study visits in many artistic centres all over Poland. We have decided to go beyond the institutional circulation and academic circles, also reaching independent venues and initiatives created in a bottom-up way, without trying to confirm any theses assumed in advance.
The Open Triennale, or the 8th edition of the Young Triennale, refers to the formula of a review developed during the first meetings of this cycle, however it enriches them with contemporary methods so that it could become a space open to various forms of expression and exchange between young artists, curators and the audience. In lieu of a classical exhibition-review we propose a week-long meeting which will fall outside such categories as an exhibition or a conference. What seems to be closest is the term of an ‘open-air workshop’.
During the preparations and research, in the autumn 2016 we visited among others Gdańsk, Toruń, Łódź, Warsaw, Krakow, Katowice, Wrocław, Poznan and Szczecin. Our journeys were also accompanied by an open call extending the possibilities of reaching the greatest number of potential participants in the Open Triennale. What was crucial for us was visiting not only academies and institutions but also an encounter with independent, bottom-up collectives which not always become part of the standard models of functioning in the art world.
Ultimately, we have invited to the Open Triennale a group of almost 20 participants. They are people to a large extent representing particular circles or concrete attitudes and models of activity. It is with these very people and groups that we were working on the agenda of the week-long stay in Orońsko. We are geared towards the process and open to their suggestions and interventions. We would like to reformulate the previous models of collaboration, discuss the present position of young artists and curators, ponder on how we are functioning as freelancers or people employed by institutions, what models of economic balance may turn out to be the best in the field of art, how and how much we work, what we draw satisfaction from, what we expect from others and what we can give to others through our work.
From the very beginning we have been wondering on the role of such reviews as the Young Triennale. We were trying to determine what such events actually give to young artists. Besides a momentary gratitude, do they help them in any way? During our travels we often talked about how experienced curators aim at the classical ‘looking for freshness’ and what does it mean for us. Within the proposed Open Triennale we decided to reverse this situation and focus on the needs of young artists and ask them what sort of event they expect.
Nothing will happen if nobody makes it happen.
Aurelia Nowak ( ° 1987, Poznań)
Curator, alumna of the University of Arts in Poznan (Promotion and Critique of Art, Artistic Education and Curatorial Strategies, 2013). Between 2013 and 2014 she participated in The Gallerist Programme by De Appel Arts Centre in Amsterdam. She obtained scholarships by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland, National Centre of Culture in Poland and by the Mayor of the City of Poznan. From 2014 she has been running Zona Sztuki Aktualnej at the Academy of Arts in Szczecin and from 2016 she has been collaborating with the Studio Tomas Saraceno in Berlin.
First of all we decided to abandon the principles. We knew that we wanted to treat the Open Triennale as a continuation of the open-air workshop tradition in a new formula. In a reality completely different from the moment of the first edition of the Young Triennale organized at The Centre for Polish Sculpture in Orońsko, and in some respects resembling that moment. Our study visits assumed the form of informal meetings an were for us an attempt to identify how artists themselves define their own position, their limitations and expectations towards the distribution of prestige, which we – curators have at our disposal. We noted down that ‘satisfaction’ protects you from ‘resignation’, and what awaits some artists after their graduation is a ‘quarantine’ or ‘diversification of activities’. Our encounters also brought to light the not fully optimistic image of expectations incompatible with reality, the oppression of the systems of education and production. We were wondering how to prevent the discouragement and turn an impasse into an incentive, or rather provoke collaborative gestures contrary to the late capitalist ideas of crazy productivity. Towards sharing.
In lieu of a static exhibition of the best works of artists from the youngest generation, the 8th edition offers a set of themes which could be a starting point for a practical use of non-systemic ways of coping with reality.
Instead of answering, it is supposed to pose questions – about the possibility of finding liberating and more effective methods of implementing artistic practices and social forms of functioning, working within the framework of inclusive cooperation and not only project aims, about socio-political ambiguity and abuse both within the field of art as well as within the micro- and macro-politics, in the saturated and hybrid reality. It will discuss the options of including new narrations and non-artistic practices in order to extend the distribution of art and capitalized relations.
The limitations are caused not only by external conditions but also by the fossilized formats in which artists, curators and institutions operate.
One of our postulates was the self-referential abolition of age limit ‘under 35’ present in the guidelines of open-call residencies and exhibition formats. The possibility of extending the age limit, contrary to the necessity to do as much as possible in the shortest time, the inter-generation exchange of artists and organizers of the realm of art without reference to the narrations of ‘rising’ and renowned artists, and finally including in their artistic practices also the practices external to the fields of creativity and their problematization may appear more relevant.
Romuald Demidenko ( ° 1985, Zielona Góra)
Art historian and curator. He collaborated with ia. CCA Ujazdowski Castle (2014 ― 2015), BWA Zielona Góra (2012 ― 2014) and Martin Gropius Bau in Berlin (as an assistant to Anda Rottenberg, 2009 ― 2012). He participated in the residency program at Rupert, Vilnius (2016). Recipient of the scholarship from the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland. He graduated from the Institute of Art History at University of Wrocław and currently participant of Curatorial Studies at KASK School of Arts in Gent, Belgium. Associated with Komplot in Brussels in frames of The School of Curating (2017). He lives and works in Warsaw and Brussels.
During our journeys we met almost 200 artists from over a dozen centres. This group included people representing extremely dissimilar positions, models of functioning and artistic strategies. What they all share, besides similar problems and challenges facing debutants, is a strong urge to realize their freedom through art. The 8th Young Triennale in Orońsko will be an opportunity for common rethinking of the ways of breaking the systemic limitations and a possibility to develop independent and critical practices, using art as a tool for exploring reality.
Even at the level of academy, young artists are used to working according to an individual scheme.
Competitions, grants and projects stimulate their competitiveness; instead of encouraging collaboration, they enforce continuous alertness and engagement in responding to successive opportunities, often causing frustration. Are there any effective methods of resistance against these unjust rules? Can you reconcile and combine artistic and project work with an employment? Among others, we find these two issues of crucial importance. We would like to substitute the idea of rivalry for the sake of individual success, inherent in most competitions and reviews of young art, with the power of community and the pluralism of attitudes.
The participants of the event we are proposing, represent various points of view, methodologies of artistic work and circles. Their common experiences will make a wide perspective thanks to which the problems, hard to pinpoint in the centralized circulation of art, will become visible. As a result of the collective and active work-exchange between the participants and the experiment, we are going to look for alternative forms of organization in the field of art.
Tomek Pawłowski ( ° 1995, Sokółka)
Curator, animator, organizer of meetings. Studied at the College of Inter-Area Individual Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences , now studies Curating and Art Theory at the Faculty of Artistic Education at University of Arts in Poznań.