Common Affairs was conceived as a cooperation project between the Deutsche Bank KunstHalle in Berlin, the Polish Institute Berlin, and the Zachęta – National Gallery of Art in Warsaw. At the two Berlin venues, the exhibition presents a selection of artists who were nominated for the VIEWS Award from 2003 to the present. It touches on the history and impact of the award initiated by Deutsche Bank and the Zachęta, which has become the most important prize for contemporary Polish art. At the same time, the curators of the show, Julia Kurz (Leipzig) and Stanisław Welbel (Warsaw), together with the participating artists, explore the freedom, discourse, and exchange afforded by public and private sponsorship, and how art is used as an ideological instrument as a result.
The word “common” can mean “ordinary” but also “joint” in the sense of shared. In connection with both the Polish as well as the global art scene, which is becoming increasingly transgressive, media and market oriented, political, and controversial, the exhibition title Common Affairs raises questions. Is art really so commonplace? Is it really a joint matter? What role does art play today, in the summer of 2016—not only in Poland, but also in a European context?
The 16 positions presented in Common Affairs unite different generations of artists who have impacted contemporary Polish art over the last two decades. They range from well-known artists such as Paweł Althamer, to Monika Sosnowska and Konrad Smoleński, whose work was shown in the Polish Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2007 and 2013, respectively, to Janek Simon and Iza Tarasewicz, who are currently represented in important exhibitions around the world.
The exhibition comments on the years that have elapsed since the new political system was introduced in Poland in 1989 and Poland’s changed role in the European community. Polish artists have repeatedly cast a critical eye on the country’s political situation. Common Affairs is also engaged with the mediation and production of art, the investigation of the conditions at cultural institutions and the social hierarchies in the art industry.
The joint institutional project Common Affairs enables people in Berlin to experience a broad spectrum of current Polish art for the first time. The exhibition, which is on view at the Deutsche Bank KunstHalle and the Polish Institute, is accompanied by an extensive supporting program with lectures, films, concerts, and performances.
Paweł Althamer, Azorro, Tymek Borowski, Karolina Breguła, Elżbieta Jabłońska, Rafał Jakubowicz, Łukasz Jastrubczak, Anna Molska, Anna Okrasko, Agnieszka Polska & Witek Orski, Karol Radziszewski, Janek Simon, Konrad Smoleński, Monika Sosnowska, Iza Tarasewicz, Piotr Wysocki.
The exhibition is taking place within the framework of the festivities commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Polish-German Treaty of Good Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation and the twinning arrangement between Berlin and Warsaw.
The exhibition project Common Affairs by Deutsche Bank KunstHalle, Polish Institute Berlin and Zachęta – National Gallery of Art has been realized with the support of The Foundation for German-Polish cooperation, the City of Warsaw, and Culture.pl.
Deutsche Bank KunstHalle
Unter den Linden 13/15
Polish Institute Berlin
- Monika Sosnowska, Untitled, 2015. Courtesy of the artist and Deutsche Bank KunstHalle
- Łukasz Jastrubczak, Sprite Fo Copcentual Tarist, 2016 (Videostill). Courtesy of the artist and Deutsche Bank KunstHalle
- Tymek Borowski, Common Affairs, 2016. Courtesy of the artist and Deutsche Bank KunstHalle
- Janek Simon, Men with the Heads of Dogs, 2015. Courtesy of the artist and Deutsche Bank KunstHalle