The 10th edition of the Festival of Ephemeral Arts in Sokołowsko this year will be a special event. Due to circumstances that have affected not only all of us, but also the world of art, wanting to continue the tradition and assumptions of ten years ago, this year we decided to present our Festival completely on an online platform. Selected works will be realized by the artists in Sokołowsko.
This year we have prepared two curatorial sections accompanied by Bożenna Biskupska’s individual exhibition “From Matter to Matter”, which can be visited on site until September 30th and on the online platform.
The International Festival of Ephemeral Art CONTEXTS has been consistently connecting the classics of ephemeral art with the global trends featured in contemporary art and culture. Combining different curatorial approaches has also been the festival’s tradition with an objective of introducing other points of view. The choice of the theme for each edition is motivated by its universal dimensions, at the same time, it allows a possibility to refer to the current situation with its artistic and human aspects. The theme of CONTEXTS 2020 (the section curated by me) is loneliness. The artists were asked to meditate on a number of related issues: loneliness as the ultimate human condition, voluntary and imposed internal immigration, compassion as a remedy for alienation, ‘You’re a little lonely in the desert. You’re equally lonely among people (A.Saint-Exupery). Paradoxically “what is unique and specific in us is realised in such a specific form that a single individual reaches the rank of a universal” (E.Cioran).
Loneliness is not a man’s natural condition; however, it has become more and more common. Despite the impressive technological developments the sole human aspect has deteriorated in manifold ways. We experience the degradation of humanistic and ethical values. Relationships among people have been weakening. Maintaining mental stability has been increasingly unattainable. We get lock inside ourselves.
The current lockdown due to the virus added another dimension and strengthened the impact of the festival theme formulated a few months earlier. The imposed isolation has intensified the feeling of loneliness and alienation. We found ourselves suspended in the void between the past and future. The future is increasingly unpredicatble. Fear dictates the path of our thoughts and mode of behaviour. Time has acquired another measure – monotony and repetition brings about disorientation, days begin and end unexpectedly.
The direct experience is the essence of ephemeral art and basis for the festival. What a great challenge is to transfer it into the virtual world. Can the experience of watching the festival on computer screens be comparable to the real one, even though it will be broadcast in real time? Can artists – without feeling the presence and reactions of the audience – work in their usual way? Both, the artists and the audience are subjected to this problem. A lonely artist and lonely, isolated public. Our willing disposition can overcome the barrier.
The festival is a participatory celebration, being together, sharing what is most valuable and beautiful. It is an antidote to loneliness through the communion with each other. Let’s listen to what the other says carefully and with understanding. Let’s take into consideration other points of view. Let’s talk wisely. Let’s experience together and enjoy!
The project assumes referring to the history of Sokołowska as a place adapted by artists today. They come here to take part in one of the numerous festivals, open air and residencies. They seek inspiration for their activities here. It is a place that concentrates many threads on a small scale. It is full of history, the non-Polish, pre-war, rich and the post-war, much poorer, but equally interesting. Once a refuge for the chronically ill, today it is a place that has gained new energy by letting the artistic spirit into the modest streets of a mountain village. It is a place permanently connected with nature, which is everywhere here. Which side we will not leave the borders of Sokołowska we will find ourselves in the mountains. Embedded in nature is the starting point for many artists. It is also a place of asylum, where one can move in time and escape from civilisation at least for a moment. It is a utopian place, because although detached from reality, it creates a temporary safety zone. Only artists are able to strengthen this feeling: to let this place, not only associate it with the history of healing, but also be, through its permanent isolation from civilization, a place to findnew values. These are the themes addressed by the artists in our programme. The works, once being a temporary architecture, once a third hand action, make us aware of the importance of conversations and relations about what is here and now, which may never happen again. The exchange of glances referring to our direct contact with nature. The motive of farewell, present in many works of our artists, so important and so distant by many. Farewells are connected with sadness. Although looking at it objectively, it is also a ritual of cleansing and healing character. Together, the artists perform group therapy comparable to cognac lights on the highest terrace of the sanatorium. The artists invited by us refer to the threads of asylum, shelter and relations with other people in nature far away from civilization. They seek absolute values through works in relation to nature, temporality and transience.