02.10.2009 - 31.12.2009
Art Stations gallery
01.10.2009 7:00 p.m.
Paweł Książek's project “Silent Utopia" is a fantasy which merges Eastern European modernism with German expressionist silent cinema.
The presented work makes reference to the film Metropolis and Eastern European Architecture of the Interwar period. The project was first shown at Art Basel Statements fair. The exhibition at Art Stations Foundation is meant as a continuation of that presentation but here the installation will be additionally confronted with vintage documents from the 20s and 30s, such as the plans and studies made for the architectural and scenographic realizations of one of the major German architects of that period, Hans Polezig.
Exploring the ties between modernist architecture and cinema, Paweł Książek analyses hypothetical proofs that would indicate the existence of universal aesthetic sensitivity common to the artists of the day. Based on his studies of the aesthetics of that period, he speculates about how the film could look, and how the images of its single frames would be altered, if as scenography we took Czech, Hungarian or Polish archietcture from the times before the global catastrophe. What would it look like if Metropolis was shot in Prague with the modernist Bata shoe shop as the background (Ludvik Kysela, Prague 1929)? Could Cafe ERA in Brno (Jozsef Kranz, 1927) replace the building with the neon “ERA” sign from one of the film's night scenes? Finally, why wasn't the film actually shot on Warsaw's “Future Street” (“Ulica Przyszłości”) designed by Lech Niemojewski in 1925?
As it appears, the connections between cinema and architecture, which Książek so ardently pursues, are not pure speculations – in fact they do have a historical explanation. There is no denying that architecture is of primary importance to the film and Fritz Lang himself admits that his vision of architectural future was directly inspired by New York's skyline, which he saw on one of his journeys. “I saw a street that by means of neon lights was lit as brightly as if it were day. (...) The skyscrapers functioned as an opulent theatre-set hung to dazzle, dispel, and hypnotize from a dismal sky” - he wrote. German expressionist cinema perfectly shows how film could and did become an area in which the architects of the 20s and 30s could freely experiment and carry out even the most utopian visions. The exhibition will feature original sketches by Hans Polezig, which he made to Paul Wegener's Golem, another masterpiece of German silent film. Looking at them, one might actually start wondering where the boundary lays between futuristic extravaganza generated in an architect's imagination and scenographic artificiality. Bringing in the taste of the modernist era and showing us the incredible imagination of its creators and thinkers, Hans Poelzig's sketches help to establish a broader context for Książek's work. Poelzig was a truly visionary architect. In fact, many of his projects in themselves look a bit like scenography work: his buildings look tall, strong and mighty, drawn from a worm's-eye view they seem like a monumental set design for a city scene in which each incidental passer-by can be an actor.
The exhibition combines two worlds, that of cinema and that of architecture, one serving as an source of inspiration for the other – on the one hand, we have film director Fritz Lang, who employed architects for designing scenography for his filmwork, and on the other, we have architect Hans Poelzig, who next to scenography designed cinema and theater buildings.
Meeting with the artist and exhibition curators
2.10 / 18:30 / Art Stations
2.10 / 20:00 / Studio Słodownia +3
Around Fritz Lang's Metropolis
lecture: prof. Marek Hendrykowski
8.10 / 18:30 / Art Stations
The masterpieces of film expressionism
lecture: prof. Marek Hendrykowski
22.10 / 18:30 / Art Stations