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jesper alvaer, isabela grosseova

Figure and Ground

06 VII - 02 IX 2007

The title of the exhibition – Figure and Ground – refers to the expression used in visual arts. It is the way of working used by the artists in Bunkier Sztuki. The method is based on seeing people and objects in a holistic way – in this case in the context of culturally diverse landscape which is shaped by historical processes and human activity. The ‘ground’ in the title may be then a background against which a person or an object (‘figure’) is presented. The word ‘ground’ may also mean ‘land’ or ‘soil’. What is very important is the semantic layer of these synonyms, which suggests the land being an important element of the existence of all people no matter what is their place of living or native language.

The exhibition entitled Figure and Ground is the third part of the project by Alvaer and Grosseová (the previous ones took place in Jiĝij Švestka’s Gallery in Prague and in Moravska Gallery in Brno in 2006). It is a road project with casual framework – it is not a colonial, ethnographic exploration of some terrains. Their aim is neither documenting nor experiencing an adventure. Alvaer and Grosseová are led by road and time. They are interested in people standing by the road, by local buildings and cultures. They observe how different traditions are mixed together and how they are being flooded by cheap products from China. The artists traveled through the countries which surround Western Europe, the mythic centre, Eldorado, everybody’s dream and goal (at least in fantasies). They are interested in margins, border regions, forgotten regions of poverty. They have already traveled through North Africa, South-Eastern, Eastern and North-Eastern Europe.

The main subject of the exhibition in Bunkier Sztuki is groceries. During their journey Alvaer and Grosseová collect what they meet on their way. These are different products and plants from a given area. The artist form a collection of them, which is supplemented with comments made by experts in the language of the country the products come from. Among Polish experts there are Piotr Bikont, Robert Mak³owicz and £ukasz £uczaj. All of them present different points of view and different bits of knowledge about food.

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