Konrad Smoleński, an active participant in both the independent music scene and the visual art scene, combines punk rock aesthetics with the precision and elegance typical for minimalism.
This book reflects on the artist's practice in the context of his most challenging and conceptually complete effort to date.
Everything Was Forever, Until It Was No More, a monumental sound sculpture affecting not only aural perception, but also working on the audience on, so to say, a molecular level, brings together many of the motives previously present in Smoleński's works. The sublime and symbolic tone of bells is transformed into the source of an overwhelming drone which works almost like a sonic weapon. A human and narrative level is juxtaposed with an inhuman noise that suggests an accumulation of energy that will never achieve discharge. The installation, by means of noise and the illusionist potential of sonic waves, enables the viewer to enter a chamber where history is inhibited and time dies.
An essay by Daniel Muzyczuk and Agnieszka Pindera—curators of the exhibition—interprets the work with the use of theories from the fields of physics and sound art, and relates it to previous pieces by the artist. This commentary is complemented by those of specialists from different fields of knowledge who explore multiple aspects of the piece. Among them are: Julian Barbour, Simon Critchley, Craig Dworkin, Alexandra Hui, Eugeniusz Rudnik, Thibaut de Ruyter and Andrey Smirnov.
Published on the occasion of the eponymous exhibition at the Polish Pavilion at the 55th International Ar tExhibition – la Biennale de Venezia, 2013.
Konrad Smoleński (born 1977, lives and works in Warsaw, Poland, and Bern, Switzerland) is an installation and performance artist whose works are characterised by a forceful impact, usually created through audiovisual experiments. A graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznań and a member of the Penerstwo group, he also plays in bands as an active member of the PINKPUNK scene. His focus is on the experience of sound and image, exploring its possibilities and various ways of engaging and experiencing various media. An active member in the young garde of experimental musicians, Smoleński blends genres in creating video works and audio installations that push the boundaries of art, music, performance, engagement and spectatorship. He is known as a radical artist grounded in an edgy, post-punk aesthetic, experimenting with relationships between sound and image, sound and object, performer and audience. Sound is often the driving force of his works, with imagery serving as the framework for sonic elements that are often unexpected, even jarring. He took to the streets of the French capital in 2012 to present his BNNT “Sound Bombing” at the Paris Triennale. The electro-mechanical sounds Smoleński produced from a truck with four other performers were deliberately harsh and abrasive, aiming to incite a negative response in the audience of pedestrians and motorists. The extreme performances of “noise music” was meant to challenge the relative calm of the everyday through its unexpected, chaotic means of expression.
Edited by Daniel Muzyczuk and Agnieszka Pindera.
Texts by Hanna Wróblewska, Daniel Muzyczuk et Agnieszka Pindera, Julian Barbour, Alexandra Hui, Eugeniusz Rudnik, Andrey Smirnov, Thibaut de Ruyter, Craig Dworkin, Simon Critchley.
Published with Zachęta – National Gallery of Art, Warsaw.