2016-06-07 - 2016-09-25

Curated by: Marlena Chybowska-Butler

Artists: Agata Michowska

The title of the project by Agata Michowska, Density of Destiny, is a play on words that refers to seemingly distant concepts designated by the word’s dual meaning. Density, a physical property of matter, is combined with destiny, a concept of existential experience. Typical to Michowska, the title at the same time suggests the way of constructing her artistic message. Its power is based on seemingly incompatible qualities. Analytical precision and formal rigor is accompanied by aesthetic sensuality and the high emotional temperature of the project’s contents.

As in many previous works, Density of Destiny balances on the verge of the knowable and the unknowable, between beginning and ending. The core of the exhibition’s subtle, complex and multi-layered structure of meanings and contents is the extremely traumatic experience of the inevitability of death. Although overexploited and vulgarized in popular culture, the death as a symbol remains on the threshold of the expressible. Michowska’s focus on what lies beyond the bipolarities of human cognition is the way in which she leads us to the edge of knowledge and an experience of emptiness at the borders of fullness.

Regarding as she does art as a research tool, Michowska refers to a pair of intertwined sources of knowledge – science’s rational instruments and the multi-sensory faculties of an empowered body – in revealing inherent paradoxes. Aspiring to the role of a universal meta-language and a software of the universe, mathematics encounters some serious difficulties. The intuitions on which it is built appear as speculative contradictions. As well, her exploration of sensual-corporeal experience -- its rehabilitated, cognitive meaning a constant theme of modern philosophy -- leads to insecure moments of illumination. In this psycho-acoustic exhibition, the motif is suggested by a reference to A King Listens short story by Italo Calvino that focuses on the power of the senses.

As such, the multi-layered structure of Density of Destiny can be seen as a treatise, visual and sonic, on our interaction with the world as the basis of understanding which inevitably leads to point zero, the place on the Planck scale of subatomic measurement when the laws of physics break down. Occurring shortly after the Big Bang that is thought to have created the universe, this “ultimate singularity" is the boundary zone beyond which individual, existential experience loses its dimension.

Magdalena Lewoc

"Art, regarded by me as a tool to research paradoxical manifestations of reality, moves personal, often traumatic experiences into the area of universal rules that determine destiny – what is to be fulfilled. Each of the elements building the narrative of the exhibition Density of Destiny creates a kind of a visual pattern that, generally, can be applied to the split – in an almost literal sense – between fullness and nothingness. These two extreme states, defining every phenomenon in its fullest extent, become a source of anxiety, which can be tamed only by reaching a consistent, unchanging and objective rule. The fullness, most transparently symbolized by a circle, is not a manifestation of fulfilment, but a conceptualization of the absolute boundary, beyond which nothing can happen."

Agata Michowska