Where is the local

Where is the local

The local context today – for me it means in-between. I have been living in Lyon almost three years now. I exist between two cultures, trying to constantly jump over an old historical and stereotypical division between two Europes. The most local place for me, where I can meet artists and co-workers on daily basis, is the virtual space.

In this context the local seems to be a personal construct, an outcome of individual story and geopolitical status. These, connected with the cultural heritage, brings up the groups which could be called local, as their relations are close and based on a certain rhythm of interactions.

Technological shift, which took place in early 1990s, had changed the primary function of a computer from a calculating or an image-editing machine into a cultural filter. It created an opportunity to exist in a global virtual village, to travel easily, to develop the professional network within a click or simple email exchange. Dictated by a relation between a man and a device, it obviously shaked an political and a social order, which can be notable in virtuality within other way.

Skeptically observing the enthusiasm about the Internet technologies, I found it interesting how one can  exist in between a real and virtual space and how this state can be expressed within the very contemporary language of new and obsolete media of art.  Artist selected here found their way to comment with contemporaneity and to reach to its cultural and technological resources. 


Radek Szlaga

Radek Szlaga is a painter. He graduated Academy of Fine Art in Poznan. He was one of the founders of an artistic group Penerstwo, which represented highly various techniques and aesthetics. Since early years he developed a radical and particular style, which one may call hyper-textual. Through constant reworked motives – heard or read stories, images seen – he is relating to his very personal situation: spread between Poland, the reality of barely developed capitalism, and a visible proof of it collapse – Detroit – where main part of his family migrated, he build his radical world view.

Szlaga reaches to motives present in both these realities in search for their historical roots. The images of black ghetto, Polish reality and 19th century colonialism are just few of motives constantly re-appropriated by the artist. Images, painted obsessively as a flux of thoughts, are juxtaposed in his on canvases. With another and antother layers of paint applied on painting surface and by sewing together pieces of previous works, he creates reach and referentially heavy art works. Szlaga’s visual language derives from a traditional medium of painting in deep relation in contemporary copy and paste aesthetic of Internet.



Anus Mundi, 153 x 140 cm, oil on canvas, 2014


Heart of darkness, 50 x 53 cm, oil on canvas, 2014 


My dad gave me a sewing machine before he left, 80 x 150 cm, oil on canvas


Milenium, exhibition view, 2014



Tymek Borowski

Tymek Borowski initially a painter “labeled” as one of new generation young painters called tired with the reality, who preferred to turn away from realism into the abstraction. His rich paintings, due to their rapid and outstanding popularity, become a cage for the artist himself. He decided to immerse in the reflection on art. With the animation How art Works (2012) done together with Paweł Sysiak, he brought up a substantial and controversial questions about art, the art world, a human identity, his place in a contemporary economical world and in a humanistic reflection.

He prepared numerous projects: the ironically didactic charts or videos about life and meaning of human existence supported also by more philosophical thoughts. His works are avaible on internet but they should not be defined by this medium. Using the web, as one of goods of our times, Borowski rather critically place himself in this reality. His recent project, held together with Pony Project Customized Digital Art gives a viewer an opportunity to purchase an artwork produced together with an artist. By choosing its scale and after taking part in an interview prepared by Borowski, he assists the artist in creation process. Than the artwork is ready for the customer to be printed where he wants. 

Links to works:





Because It Is, How It Is, PSD file, 33465 x 16732 px, 2013



Gregor Rózanski

Gregor Rózanski is a part of the generation who grew up with Internet and for him its presence is obvious and natural. Living between Berlin and Warsaw he is observing the contemporary society. 

Staying close to the nature of the Internet, he appropriates the images. In his work Blue (2012), a straight reference to video made by Derek Jarman, he defines a key questions of his generation. He founds a surprising connotation between the Jarman’s narration held in his monologue about his sickness. Rózanski slightly changed the original text by replacing words “AIDS” or HIV with “Internet”, “virtuality” etc. It is striking how the meaning of modified sentences has changed and how precisely it describes nowadays reality dominated by technology. What is more, the title color had changed its status: apparently blue is the most frequently used in major companies logos today.

Searching symbols of commercialization and massive production Rózanski also questionates the medium of the exhibition itself, comparing it to the internet, as a reduced result of experiencing it, similarly to art and culture – speculating with references and ideas, constantly popularizes, wastes and rediscovers them when searching for the New, Better and More Interesting.[1]

[1] http://issuu.com/newartcenter/docs/gregor_rozanski_2013/1?e=9503786/9418297




From “Ikealism” series, Ikea loyalty cards for great minimalists, 2012-2013



Anna Tomczak

Born in 1984, Poland. Lives in Lyon. She graduated in Science of the Culture at the University of Warsaw. Her thesis about Derek Jarman’s eclectic output focused on syncretic and poetical aesthetic of his movie Caravaggio where he joined film, painting, music and performance. From 2004 she was an assistant curator and curator in Zachęta National Gallery of Art in Warsaw, where she worked on solo and group shows of Polish and international artists. In 2013-14 she participated in 23rd Session of Ecole du Magasin in Grenoble where she co-curated Liam Gillick’s show re-apropriating his works form the 1990s. She is interested in the visual anthropology understood interdisciplinary. She is concentrates on a potential of internet in an artistic and a curatorial practice. As an art writer cooperates with two art magazines: the Polish Obieg.pl and the London based Contemporary Lynx, she also publishes independently. The  co-founder, together with Giulia Bortoluzzi of the curatorial collective recto/verso, a research collective of widely understood curatorial practices aiming to broaden experiences while investigating the nature of images in contemporary society. This multidisciplinary cooperative, believes that interaction and cross-pollination between disciplines and media create the potential for unexpected coincidences and startling revelations. 

recto/verso is a research collective of widely understood curatorial practices aiming to broaden experiences while investigating the nature of images in contemporary society. Our work is based on constant exchanges both within the collective and with invited artists, curators and writers; along with regular active exhibitions and writing practice. Starting from our recent interests, the anthropology of images, our research weaves between different disciplines such as philosophy, sociology, history, new media, architecture and many others. recto/verso’s constant interrogation on the nature and notion of images, aims to investigate their origins and status within a collective cultural memory, bringing up its potential revisiting of the past in visual montages, through re-contextualization and discovered found footage aesthetics. By establishing our own discussion protocol, recto/verso, whose inspirations are drawn from diverse cultural and academic backgrounds, creates a platform, a discourse resource  with a multidisciplinary and multimedia bibliography.

recto/verso was created in summer 2014 through Anna Tomczak and Giulia Bortoluzzi need to keep exchanging and dialoguing after a nine-month experience at the école du Magasin, Grenoble. The école du Magasin is an experimental laboratory where a small group of people, working collectively, question both theoretically and practically the role of curators in contemporary art. While Anna and Giulia were at the école du Magasin, they worked  with four other people on the realization of the solo exhibition by Liam Gillick From 199C to 199D. This first collective experience established the basis for a wider research and practices.

More on our website: http://rectoversocollective.wordpress.com

30 June 2017 / by / in

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