Title: Górne światło / Light from above
place: Galeria Szara, Katowice, ul. Misjonarzy Oblatów 4
organiser: Fundacja Galeria Szara
partners: Urząd Miasta Katowice, drukarniaraster.pl
media partners: Notes na 6 tygodni, Ultramaryna
The narrative of Szymon Szewczyk’s exhibition revolves around the transitory nature of knowledge and human achievements as well as the persistent search for order in the world.
The presented objects, collages, and installations take on the forms of dissected pseudo-archaeological items, difficult to place in time.
The exhibition is accompanied by an essay inspired by a photo depicting a meteorite surrounded by the charred remains of the National Museum in Rio de Janeiro.
The pedestal is surrounded by black, sooty walls. The rubble and patches of paint falling off the charred ceiling break under your feet. It stands in the hall, in front of the stairs leading to other rooms in the museum. This is where so many people used to squeeze through the revolving gate, one by one, day by day, to see the museum collection, meticulously catalogued and neatly exposed.
The plinth holds the Bendegó Meteorite. The cosmic lump is composed of 5360 kilograms of iron, nickel, cobalt, phosphorus, and traces of sulphur and carbon (in parts per million). It fell on the planet Earth from the outer space – well, actually, it didn’t exactly fall, as nothing falls in the space. It was simply flying through the galaxy, when it got into Earth’s gravitational field, which resulted in the mutual attraction of the meteorite and the planet that eventually and inevitably came to touch.
Then it lay for thousands of years in the place whose coordinates are 10 degrees, 7 minutes, 1 second of southern latitude and 39 degrees, 15 minutes, 41 seconds of western longitude, which was later called Brazil, the state of Bahia. It spent the following 104 years in a dry stream bed, where it was left behind after an unsuccessful attempt at transportation.
Due to its cosmic origins, the iron mass was considered as an object of scientific importance and placed in the National Museum in Rio de Janeiro in 1888.
On the night of the 2nd of September 2018, the fire at the museum irreversibly consumed the Pompeii frescos depicting a sea dragon, the fragments of the skeleton of a woman named Luzia from nearly 12 thousand years ago, the wooden throne gifted to the Portuguese by the African king of Dahomey to reinforce their friendship built on slave trade, the original Lei Áurea document which abolished slavery in 1888, pre-Columbian masks, and 5 million butterflies.
As you’re standing by the black pedestal, surrounded by the ruins of the museum, you might be thinking that this is a kind of a wicked joke: with everything so carefully sorted and exhibited, the overheated air conditioning system was enough to burn all the valuables down, and the only thing left is the cosmic 5360 kilograms of iron, nickel, and particles of something else.
(born in 1989) Audiovisual artist, stage designer, designer. Author of theatre music and experimental electronic project DMKHV. He graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Katowice with a degree in painting. He creates paintings, objects, collages and installations. He is interested in the relations of humans with their material and cultural environment and the search for unobvious connections between seemingly distant phenomena, conspiracy theories, creative improvisation, temporariness, cheap materials, DIY, excess of information, suspicious scientific texts, stupid jokes, deadly seriousness, garbage, imitations, disturbances, errors, imaginary rituals, domesticated exoticism, doubt in an ordered knowledge of the world.
He exhibited at the Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art in Warsaw, the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, as a part of the Warsaw under Construction exhibition in 2016, BWA in Katowice, Kronika Centre for Contemporary Art in Bytom, Szara Kamienica Gallery in Krakow, Kasia Michalski Gallery in Warsaw, the State Art Gallery in Sopot and the Rondo Sztuki in Katowice. He has created stage designs for the Słowacki Theatre and the National Old Theatre in Krakow, the Osterwa Theatre in Lublin and the Silesian Theatre in Katowice.