Magical Engagement

Curatio: Zofia nierodzińska, Paweł Błęcki, Anna Siekierska, Kinga Mistrzak

Participation: Jadwiga Anioła, Natala Biało, Anna Błachno, Joanna Borof, Damien Brailly, Michał Chomiuk, Ewa Ciepielewska, Adelina Cimochowicz, Małgorzata Gurowska, Yoanna Gwarek, Hanna Husberg, Cecylia Malik, Olga Anna Markowska, Odłam Źdźbło, Klaudia Paliwoda, Daniel Rycharski, Ola Winnicka / SIORY, Wspólnota międzygatunkowa +

Location: Galeria Miejska Arsenał, Poznań

Fragment of the curatorial text:

At the beginning there was a Spider Woman: Sumerian Uttu, according to Navajo – Na’ashjé’ii Asdzáá, Greek Arachne, in Hopi mythology – Kokyangwuti, a woman beyond time, representing everything that’s good, summoned when advice and care are needed, also known as a Spider Grandmother. A Spider Woman of Many Threads arose from an eternal need for justice, and from dust, her style is a combination of folk art from Kurpie and a mischievous drag.

Donna Haraway, biologist and philosopher, in her book "Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene", in which she confronts the consequences of climate change caused by humans, writes about the necessity of creating different, not only human, stories, which – spun using tender spider appendages – could spread like a web in many directions at once. These stories would be sympoietic, created collectively, in contrast to those autopoietic, self-reproducing ones. Stories fit for spider Chthulucene include hybrid-like chants, drawing parables and woven patterns, which do not divide and rule, but connect and speculate about the complex relations between living, transforming beings. These are healing stories, bringing comfort just like a litter of decaying leaves, and stimulating the imagination like ripening compost.

The "Magical Engagement" exhibition, over which Spider Woman of Many Threads has spread her pedipalps, is a place where many threads are intertwined: activist, artistic, anti-fascist, animist, animalist, anti-competitive, magical, queer-feminist, and related to social and environmental justice. The event taking place as a part of the exhibition aims to break the “everyday capitalism spells”, and expose the severed ties between the social world and what is commonly considered as “natural”. The title refers to what has been repressed in the world driven by logic of capitalist Anthropocene, namely magic, ritual, memory of human and non-human ancestors, sympathy, and relations. The opening of the exhibition will take place during the autumn solstice. Due to the pandemic reality, the live performances will be transferred to the net. It will be possible to see and listen to the SIORY collective and the Odłam Źdźbło choir (Break the Blade of Grass Choir) in the virtual space.

Visitors can explore the exhibition choosing one of the trails: activist, education, or the trail of magical engagement through art, which cross in some places and merge in others.

More on:

Translation: Joanna Figiel

The picture presents the exhibition space shown from a wide perspective. There is a wooden floor and white walls. On the walls there are pictures and other exhibition objects, on the ceiling there is a metal structure. Colourful strips of fabric are suspended from it, spanning and extending from the centre of the ceiling to the walls. To the left is an object in the form of a blue fish on wheels made by artists duo: Cecylia Malik and Piotr Dziurdzia. Behind it are four paintings of animals, three in rectangular forms and one in an oval shape painted by Ewa Ciepielewska. This is the same larger exhibition space shown from a different perspective to the previous photo. On the vault is a textile installation suspended from the centre to the walls. To the left is a series of wall-hung boxes resembling altars. They are dedicated to different themes like Earth, animals, forest, air and water. The altar-boxes contain black graphic signs depicting the aforementioned themes designed by artist Małgorzata Gurowska. This is a photograph of an installation by Natalia Biało. It depicts a ceramic sculpture in the shape of a plant, with water flowing from it like a fountain. The sculpture is in light blue, purple and yellowish colours. It stands on a dark oval metal structure. From the sculpture comes a cable laid on the marble floor. In the background is a purple wall. The sun shines from the right illuminating the artwork. The photograph was taken during a performance by the Blade of Grass (Odłam Zdzblo) choir in the old town square in Poznań. It shows four people dressed in white costumes, which are made of tablecloths, curtains, veils, and other white fabrics. One of the figures is kneeling on a red carpet. Two others hold her veil-like headdress. A fourth remains behind them holding a piece of transparent, creamy white fabric. The photo was taken during a workshop by Paweł Błęcki at the Romani camp in Poznań. It features children and adults. They are working together on a decoration called a spider, which is made from plastic straws. It is a warm, sunny day, behind the group of people one can notice trees and two black cars.