Anna Królikiewicz & Stendek [Poland]


location: lawn, 11 Czopowa Str.

The table is a reminiscence of presence and a registration of slowly decaying left-overs, the deteriorating landscape after an orgy; the table is meant to comment with its sheer presence on the past life, to restore memories of the fragrances accompanying the place, and, following the site specific concept, to correspond with its matrix within a new sensual dimension. The cascade architecture of the dishes, most of them fish, falling down to the ground, is going to be reminiscent, both in presentation and construction of the composition, of the selected still lives created in Gdańsk in the 17th century, stored in the Department of Old Art in the National Museum in Gdańsk. Królikiewicz draws her inspiration from the 17th century as this is when Gdańsk had flourished. Between the Thirteen Year’s War and the subsequent Swedish Wars Gdańsk had developed excellently: it earned handsome profits from trade in amber, grains, and wood in exchange for colonial goods, salt, and herring. There were relations with the East, the Low Countries, and Venice. In the rich 17th century Gdańsk Art started developing. There were more and more painters, writers, sculptors, and scholars. A lot of artists came from the Low Countries, which resulted in the “northern” character of the Gdańsk art and architecture.

Anxiety caused by this surprising absence, sensually experienced by a spectator/passer-by; the sense of loss; struggling with the final themes; the horror of passing, universally trickling from the space of the city to the space of personal memories; and, at the same time, paradoxical agitation; resurrection of a place by means of stimuli which also find resonance in every single spectator/passer-by nowadays: such are the goals of the installation.

Królikiewicz started her research with studying the still life and the moral history of Gdańsk. I wanted to be able to create a banquet which would grasp the spirit of the times, would be able to stimulate the senses, would engage the spectator in the game of allusions and associations, would introduce imagination into a context in which “the feast has been thrown”. The senses of sight, smell, and hearing – as, beside the taste buds, also the sounds, textures, and colours constitute the components of eating – will be drawn into the installation, breaking a spell over the space like amalgams of emotions and nostalgia. Both the space of a particular place and in the memory.

Anna Królikiewicz about her work:
Three years ago I realised that food could be a fascinating way to continue the train I have been developing in my art for the past 20 years. I have chosen food as a medium in my most recent, still literally “hot” works constituting a cycle. The food as a medium is filled with meanings, emotions, and melodrama due to the protocols of food, gastronomic discourse, culinary codes, and traditional and innovative cooking technologies.
All that is connected with food and its inseparable companions: hunger and fasting; that is a matter of custom, habit, law, formal etiquette, divine ritual, order and prohibition, poison and taboo, that has a social context, that is connected with religious chastity of the Jews, Hindu, Muslims, and with concealed connections with hygiene and sanitary codes; finally, that is connected with consumptions and the “feast” leftovers. That which is an abundant table in the spotlight, and that which is connected with getting rid of the waste and the traces of the feast, in the places excluded from celebrations.
Cuisine as a part of the national identity and language: this is what I use today instead of the usual language of drawing.


Anna Królikiewicz