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Exhibition: ‘Agnieszka Polska: Love Bite’ at Frye Art Museum

Text by CLOT Magazine

What-the-Sun-Has-Seen-2017-Courtesy-of-the-artist-ŻAK-BRANICKA-Berlin-and-Overduin-and-Co-Los Angeles
What the Sun Has Seen (2017). Video still

Frye Art Museum, located in Seattle’s First Hill, reflects Seattle’s evolving identity through exhibitions and programs showcasing local and global artists who are exploring the issues of our time and contemporary scholarship on the historical subject matter. 

Agnieszka Polska: Love Bite is the US debut of two video installations by the Polish artist. In the first installation, Polska presents two pair videos, The New Sun and What the Sun Has Seen (both 2017). In both videos, a sentient sun witnesses to environmental and ethical collapse on Earth, the urgent global issue of climate change and the spectre of mass extinction. And in the second one, The Happiest Thought (2019), immerses the viewer in a prehistoric environment that might pre-figure our own: Earth’s biosphere before the Permian-Triassic extinction. 

Quantum mechanics and Einstein’s notion that space-time is dynamic and relative to the perspective of the observer are central axes of Polska’s exhibition. The artist, who lives and works between Krakow and Berlin, combines original poetic texts in her hallucinatory and hypnotic universe with digitally manipulated imagery, history, and scientific theory to reveal individual and social responsibility issues, like the current climate crisis. Through her work, Polska aims to create a common territory of exchange, a territory for involvement in ritual.

Invested in art’s capacity to widen experience and expand the moral imagination, Polska seeks to inspire behavioural transformation on a societal scale by leveraging the ethically persuasive power of affect. Says Amanda Donnan, Chief Curator at Frye Art Museum. Donnan continues Polska’s videos stimulate viewers’ capacity for empathy, using neurologically based audiovisual cues like emotional mimicry or mirroring as well as techniques linked to tactile sensation like ASMR and body awareness meditation. These are layered with emotionally dynamic music and sound effects that promote a heightened, responsive state, along with lyrical texts that suspend normative rational frameworks like linear time and individual will.

She has presented her works at international venues like the New Museum and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Centre Pompidou and Palais de Tokyo in Paris, and Tate Modern in London. 

Agnieszka Polska: Love Bite opens on February 15 and is on view through April 19, 2020. 

(Media Agnieszka Polska. What the Sun Has Seen (still), 2017. HD video (colour, sound); 7:16 min. Courtesy of the artist; ŻAK | BRANICKA, Berlin; and Overduin & Co., Los Angeles)
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