Marta Antoniak

20 February  – 7 April, 2016
Marta Antoniak "BACCILUS"
curator: Tomek Baran

“A medium-sized room, even slightly poky. A table. A clock indicating midday. By the window a sofa, yellow upholstery, covered with a membrane. Wardrobe, carpet, pancreas and duodenum with books. The floor is fully covered with a partly digested mass containing coloured figurines, food, large amount of tea, and useless junk, cheap market Chinese products. The left wall of the room is covered with large intestine. In the corner, by the ceiling, a small open abscess like an overhead cupboard. It lures me with a sweet smell that fills the room. I come closer to have a look. I stand on a stool. I touch it, squeeze it. Its walls are very swollen and sticky, slightly gummy. I open it carefully. I put my hand in, then another one. I squeeze my head inside and then I slip in completely – I am inside.” [Tomek Baran]

When we cross the threshold of the gallery we become a part of the separate world of microorganisms and tissues constructed on the model of human body. Human body is a territory that has for long been colonised and populated by bacteria cultures and microorganisms. In some places, their number exceeds the number of the organism’s own cells by tenfold. Having become a part of human organism, they have an influence upon its functions, including the work of the brain and psychological condition. Images of the micro world are mixed with vision of an infected brain. Microbiological processes dictate the model of work with the gallery space. An apparent harmony of nature and the perfection of organic machine of human body become transformed into a battlefield. Sticky matter spills over in an uncontrollable way, deforming furniture and the structure of the rooms. The excess of details and the complexity of constructed objects break the limits of perception. When people start talking about their bowel movements they are as inexorable as the processes of which they speak [William S. Burroughs, Junky]. Thick, collaged space, a mixture of motifs, visions, and reality evokes delirious states from the writings of Burroughs or films by Cronenberg. Uncontrollable processes bring to mind obsessive visions depicted with excessive, distorted, and expanded forms. 

Presented at Polikolor exhibition at BWA Sokół in Nowy Sącz and at Bielska Jesień competition, in the space of F.A.I.T. Gallery, Marta Antoniak’s works become less literal and less figurative. The method she previously used to make particular works has now become the basis for working in space, for creating environments when one enters and becomes as astounded as a child who has for the first time looked through a microscope and discovered that this theoretically recognised though invisible micro world actually exists and has particular physical shape, and even colour. The stickiness of organic form is constructed by the artist with melted plastic. Plastic objects of everyday use (toys, decorations, models) are combined into one malleable whole. With their simplified features of toy humans and animals, they suggest viruses that are reversely simplified parasitic organisms. Metabolic influence and reproduction based on mimicry create their shapes. The form of their life consists in multiplication and variety in inheriting features. Though structurally inanimate, functionally they contain features of living organisms. They are masters of subversive action, taking control quietly yet effectively, by adapting to different environment and specific characteristics of their host. 

In the era of Positivist ideas of cooperation, collaboration and partnership, the dictatorship of images of perfect mothers, probiotics, beautiful bodies, smooth skins, the propaganda of happiness and success that we serve ourselves through Facebook, the human image created by Marta Antoniak is far from harmonious and hence very refreshing. Environment created for F.A.I.T. Gallery is shaped by the process of appropriation, while the basic model of co-existence of elements is parasitism and antagonism. The scale that overwhelms, exaggeration, distortion, and uncontrollable reproduction – those are features of space created together by Marta Antoniak and the curator Tomek Baran, an artist who debuts in this role. 

Galeria F.A.I.T.
al. Słowackiego 58/5
30-104 Kraków
Poland