Boiling Frogs
Curated by Eva Birkenstock
Kunstverein Düsseldorf
3 March – 22 April 2018

Drawing on her role as an artist, Kasia Fudakowski uses self-imposed rules to push inequalities, stereotypes, and a warped social logic beyond the point of absurdity. Such is the case with the exhibition cycle Fraustellungen (Femalexhibitions), which concluded in 2015 with Sexistinnen – Exercises in Self-Sabotage – a self-ironic, staged performance made together with Jennifer Chert at Art Basel. Or with Double Standards – A Sexhibition (2017), which presented visitors with the choice of entering the exhibition from only one way, either from the left or right entrance, without knowing what to expect in either case– a reaction to the UK referendum which forced citizens to vote either ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ without being provided with detailed information on the consequences of their decision.

Boiling Frogs at the Kunstverein focuses on both the comedic potential and tragic limitations associated with mechanisms of adaptation. In light of the parable that lends the exhibition its title, this capacity to adapt (one of humanity’s great strengths), seems to be an index of its downfall: what is described, here, is an experiment in which the adaptive aptitude of frogs prevents them from recognizing the deadly danger of the gradually increasing water temperature in a cooking pot, thus preventing them from jumping out in time.

With Continuouslessness (2017 – ongoing), a continuously growing arrangement of panels which snakes through the exhibition space, Fudakowski dissolves this opposition between potential and limitation, through proposing the continuity of non-continuity: even if the individual elements of the work are necessarily limited and shaped so that they can be connected (in order to stand up and continuously grow), equally Continuouslessness delivers an unlimited space for the deployment of materials, forms, and ideas.

The looping, slapstick-like film fragments of Word Count (2016 ongoing) approach a fictional apocalyptic scenario that proposes a connection between the earth’s scarcity of natural resources and an excess of information. As a result, citizens are allowed to speak only 433 words per day, a reference to John Cage’s 4’33”. While couples in the films struggle to keep within their limit, an anarchic professor refuses to adapt and thus ultimately meets his downfall.

Through its work with absurd limits, the exhibition reveals the tragicomic nature of exaggerated adaptive mechanisms.

The exhibition was accompanied by an extensive program of events, including lectures, guided tours and an artist’s talk.

Curated by Eva Birkenstock

Kasia Fudakowski, “Continouslessness”, 2011 – ongoing, exhibition view at the Kunstverein Düsseldorf, 2018. Mixed materials; dimensions variable. Courtesy the Artist and ChertLüdde. Photographs by: Katja Illner.