Primal urge, Łęctwo Gallery, 2021


Primal urge

Magda Starska, Agnieszka Grodzińska

Curator: Przemek Sowiński

18.06.2021 – 9.07.2021

Galeria Łęctwo, ul. Łukaszewicza 1, Poznań


Magda Starska’s and Agnieszka Grodzińska’sPrimal urgeobserves the primal and instinctual from different perspectives. With Grodzińska, it is connected with centers where power and authority are accumulated. These are structures that have been built on the principle of hierarchic dependences among their participants, where internally induced pressure plays the key role. In using and juxtaposing rubber cutout sequences resembling ancient hieroglyphs, yet composed of contemporary pictograms, Grodzińska tells a story of relations based on power, homage and submissiveness. It is an environment where falsehood is thriving, and where focus on results and rivalry supersede honest cooperation. Minor acrimonious remarks become part of a major game that remains incomprehensible to all of its players. We observe and are observed. Our instinct has been gradually subjugated by the structure we built, forcing us to adopt specific behaviors. In the exhibition, wooden pales growing out of the floor carry striking artifacts that form a disturbing, totemic circle which evokes a feeling of dealing with something primal. Intensive, like a shaman’s incense, the heavy, industrial odor of rubber contrasts with its matter, a material that looks like real human skin. Its strips, on which Grodzińska placed drawings resembling quasi-ritual tattoos, were literally pressed into frame structures, like trophies in corpo-pagan games. Is there even the slightest chance for this body to be free? Can idyllic nature, one that is also capable of arousing primal urges, one that Magda Starska has revived with a medieval spirit, redeem us? This time, pressure is external. Refuge in nature becomes an opportunity for some, and salvation for others. We are standing at the threshold of a world full of mystery, forces, processes and fears, of which we cannot be fully aware. Surrounded with mythical creatures, were are forced to abide by its laws. We relinquish our past identities not only to survive but to reinvent ourselves, not always in the human form. We embrace and are embraced. We sniff and are sniffed. We die or kill to survive. The vision of a safe union with nature is a utopia. Like inPicnic at Hanging Rock, our delight in the essence of nature is only part of a larger process we are subjected to. Slowly and imperceptibly, its arms are clenching around our bodies. Intoxicated with its force, we submit, although each sign of disrespect can be severely corrected. Some will never come back, forever grown into the world, to which they apparently belong.

Przemek Sowiński