Meat in window, worried by a wasp
Curated by Michal Novotný
FUTURA Centre for Contemporary Art, Prague
16 April – 5 June 2016
Kasia Fudakowski works with joke structures and comic theory that she translates into the construction of a sculpture. A joke can be understood as a passage from an initial understanding of a imagined situation to a different understanding, often quite the opposite one. The core of a joke exists in the shift of a contrast, where two positions are revealed in a moment of surprise, which is enhanced by subconsciously directing the expectations of the audience in the wrong direction.
In Fudakowski’s works, this shift from one perception to another takes place in the tension between the material and the form and in how this tension influences us without us being aware of it. Our perception exposes us to an intuitive and automatic recognition of shapes, their identification and categorization, which also develops physiological reactions in our body.
One of the causes of this tension is the space between a conscious economy, the freedom of the material rendering of a sculpture and it’s fidelity to what it purports to represent. Similarly to a joke, here the mastery also consists in finding the right balance between bewildering obscurity and over-obviousness while keeping the contrast at its maximum.
We often attribute meanings and characteristics to objects that they don’t inherently contain. Impressions of welcoming or conversely of hostility, of constriction or openness, of pressure and movement which arouse our empathy are in direct contrast with what the sculptures objectively are. At times this contrast is shown in an obvious absence of function usually attributed to the object, in a disproportionate exaggeration of a certain trait, as well as in many other moments. Kasia Fudakowski doesn’t work only with the textualization of the result; she works with its emotional effects. Therefore, she doesn’t only rely on linguistic figures but on associations. These are often chosen with an emphasis on stereotyped binary oppositions of dominance and submission in relation to attributes commonly used to describe women and femininity in terms of roundness, delicacy, weakness, dependence, meekness, softness, formlessness etc.
Her exhibition in the FUTURA Gallery revolves around the theme of anxiety which by definition has a strong effect without real cause. In her work, anxiety is presented not only as gripping and tragic but also as liberating and comic at times, and therefore almost invincible. Fudakowski says that a joke is a “cloak of invisibility”. It allows us to be critical in contentious situations. Though she makes use of chronological succession and expectations necessary for the set up and a punch line, her sculptures work in a non-linear way. While both set up and punch line are seen simultaneously, they remain in contrast.
Fudakowski’s preoccupation with the fear of failure, which she has parodied as an artistic-comic attitude, becomes ironically real and gives a vivid and critical picture of the stereotypical masculine system of individualisation, expansion and invasion