Cezary Poniatowski, Staffage, 2023, installation


A deserted greenhouse turns into an oneiric scenery, where the passing of time is suspended and objects known from everyday life transform into actors in a bizarre theatre. Cezary Poniatowski creates this ambiancee using old, worn-down carpets sourced from residents of Orunia and Gdańsk. Literally and metaphorically, carpets are carriers of the past: they spent years absorbing situations, conversations and emotions, having their appearance distorted by dust, dirt and traces of wear and tear. The artist is interested in processes of vegetation and composting, the moments of waiting for a transformation. This fascination gives rise to an ambivalent place of healing, where one can soak up life-giving energy, simultaneously cure fears and breed new ones, while waiting for an awakening.

In art history, staffage denotes objects and human figures depicted in a landscape painting. Here, the term also suggests human presence in a deserted space. The work reflects echoes of debates about the past and future of Orunia, its potential and wastelands, the imminent transformation and the hopes it yields. Staffage is the moment of waiting, immersed in the ground, which – after the festival ends – will again fall into slumber.


CEZARY PONIATOWSKI (he/his) mostly works with installations, sculptures and site-specific interventions. He graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. His sculptural practice balances on the verge of the familiar and the disturbing, often delving into the materiality, identity and memory of objects. Poniatowski transforms materials known from daily life and history to the point of ambiguity and inconvenience. His solo exhibitions have been hosted in various venues, including the Wschód Gallery in Warsaw, Milan’s Basilica di San Celso, the FUTURA Contemporary Art Centre in Prague or the Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art in Warsaw.


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Narracje #14