Pawel Althamer

november 8, 2002 - january 10, 2003

curated by Pier Luigi Tazzi

Opening: friday november 8, 2002 6.30 pm

Lucca: S.Matteo, a desecrated church in the town center. The place is organized and used for exhibitions of contemporary art. Before becoming the headquarters of the Prometeo Association, the building had been closed for a long period of time.

The Polish artist Paul Althamer, at his first solo show in Italy, which will be held at the Claudio Poleschi Gallery in Lucca, is one of the most interesting artists on the international scene since the beginning of the third millennium. His work is both a reflection upon reality-present and a stimulus to a different perception of it. What the artist obtains is a sort of articulation of the space of life, with the reduction of the art object and its traditional status. These interventions which consist of minimal movements and insertions in public spaces – a square, a road (basis of all private lives) – which are laid to turn attention towards a given situation which in the meantime is found and constructed. The result produces a new experience of the place which is not created from its detail-ness or altered in its use. His works are pre-dispositions of the space of specific places destined to make something happen. The position of the physical reality, built from the place and its ordinary use so it directs attention upon the profound sense of the human-being which animates the given place that the artist discovered and, through his own work, reveals and sets the scene.

Pawel Althamer does not deliver an investigation. He adds sense to reality by synthesizing it: In his works he uses as material reality itself, the dynamics of relations between the single subjects and the place where its held.

For this reason his works are always a specific answers to a given place-moment and to the given geo-political temperature. The coupling of concepts is central in his modes, like private and collective, or personal and public, he constantly reverses one in the other until destroying its abstract connotations emphasizing its emotional values. The work of the artist unifies in a specific instant of its manifestation space with the essence of humans. The area he hits is the fundamental one of the instances and the primary attitudes of the individual, of his living presence.

The works of Althamer are made of nothing, just as the peculiarity and uniqueness of some daily gestures.

This objective is to increase the grade of knowledge of the perception and the responsibility of the individual for the place he lives in. The situations he creates are clear and codified, even though they blow all expectations. A sort of surreal state is produced, a feeling of vacuum, empty even though witnessing a clear manifestation of a presence. This effect is due to the fact that the artist acts in those pauses, in the obscure land, that exists between society and oneself, those two pillars of our convictions in judging and establishing a scale of values to everything that surrounds us.

If we doubt one of those two terms everything will appear nonsensical and out of its correct perspective. What remains in this emptiness, apart from the projective perspective of oneself, our presence, is the ineluctability

of the sign that was inserted in that container which destabilized it. The works of Althamer are made of nothing, just as the peculiarity and uniqueness of some daily gestures.

Among Althamer's many international group exhibitions we remember Documenta X (Kassel 1997) Manifesta III (Liubljana, 2000) Finale di Partita (Florence, 2000) Anteprima Bovisa (PAC/Palazzo della Triennale, Milan 2001), Poeziezomer "Een lege plek om te blijven" (Watou, 2001).


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