A Good Neighbour
15th Istanbul Biennial
Curated by Elmgreen & Dragset
16 September – 12 November 2017

It is a paradoxical truism that the only constant is change itself. How might this notion of continuity-in-change relate to cultural difference? Can we have diversity without homogeny? Employing primarily sculpture and installation, Kasia Fudakowski’s works draw upon the paradoxes of cultural history to playfully assert typologies, archetypes and stereotypes of genders, nations and ethnic legacies. In the artist’s works, these notions of difference are employed and subverted – using a humorous and nimble touch – in order to point out the unexpected continuities and interdependencies among neighbouring individuals, histories and identities.

Difference becomes commonality in Fudakowski’s work Continuouslessness (2017). For this piece, Fudakowski has constructed a series of 11 panels that stand, end-to-end, in a room, forming a screen or wall divider. The work’s title stands for a sense of constancy through change (a ‘coalition of chaos’, in the artist’s words) and presents a functioning – yet non-congruous – union of different parts, wheeled and interlinked.

Each panel is marked by a distinct style as well as ornamental detailing, creating an intentionally jarring sequence of designs and aesthetics. Several panels belong to a style of decorative fencing for low-income rural homes in Poland; others employ similar cutting techniques sourced in Turkey. Two other new panels represent, for the artist, a recently separated couple who despite their division, still share a sense of outrage for the same specific things. Another slapstick panel sees a rotating doorway made from horizontally mounted traditional Turkish brooms. Recalling security windows on shops, traditional carpet beating structure, another is illuminated with harsh neon lighting, like an object in a bazaar; a ‘host’ character is found in the copper belly hanging from another panel, breast-like glasses cascading down its shoulder. A ‘bride’ panel, meanwhile, nervously chews on her cigarette, releasing bilious, billowing smoke as she holds a bouquet: ‘Mother in Laws tongues’.

A barrier as much as a union, the series play up character types while constructing a nominal ‘world family’: pointing out the conditions of interdependence that persist within today’s atomized groups and communities. The work itself, serial, unfinished and potentially endless, reflects a permanent continuity of forms as well as formlessness – an infinite  permutation of interdependence that represents an awkward, if necessary, holding of hands.

Text by Pablo Lario


Kasia Fudakowski, “Continuouslessness”, 2011 – ongoing. Exhibition view at the 15th Istanbul Biennial, 2017; Mixed media, dimensions variable; Courtesy the Artist and ChertLüdde.