Maciej Cholewa. Physics of Spending Time

This is what came to my mind when Maciek Cholewa told me about his new exhibition:

I do not know who they are, but I know they exist. Their existence is a bit different than ours; they are a bit like elements of the landscape. They prevail in the same way as a tree does. For example, a guy I used to see in Marki, near Warsaw. We would pass him by whenever we travelled on holidays to the Suwałki Region. He would stand at the corner, looking at the traffic jam. And we, stuck in the traffic jam, would look at him. Two weeks later, on our way back, we would see him again, standing in exactly the same spot. Years have passed, an express way to Białystok was built, and we no longer pass through Marki when we leave the city for holidays. Marki might be free of traffic jams now, but I am certain that the guy is still standing there. It must be some sort of a different time stream. Maybe even a slowdown in metabolism. But not hibernation, as one cannot say that the guy does nothing. After all, he is standing there and observing. Sometimes, he makes a gesture, sometimes, he goes somewhere, but he invariably returns and prevails.

Such people are everywhere – in cities, towns and villages. They have their territories which they know better than anyone else. They are male and female. They sit in windows, on benches, stand around, here and there, or simply move along a set route over and over again. They are usually middle-aged. Maybe, when they were young, they were the ones who sat on bus stops eating fresh sunflower seeds. They are bound by an alternative flow of time. I am not sure if this is a worse flow than the one we are used to. An analogy to a black hole seems to be apt. They are too weak and get sucked in by the gravitational pull of inertia. They are unable to break out of the zero point. They live beyond the event horizon. When they are young, they are pissed off that that events are beyond their reach. They have energy that could push them into a vortex of exciting chain reactions. But everything is happening elsewhere, and they are stuck at the bus stop, forever at the starting point, with no prospect for any beginning. The energy they are brimming with turns into a pile of sunflower shells on the ground, at most, sometimes, escalating into scorched timetables. When they get older, their energy levels drop. Sometimes, they try to renounce the reality, like the man from Maciek Cholewa’s film who tries to encourage events into being with a choreographic mantra. However, as usual, nothing happens. The backing truck, which he guides which such ease, does not materialise. The choreography of increasingly tired gestures becomes abstract and absurd.
I don’t know who they are. We may perceive them as socially excluded. But what if they are citizens of a parallel reality? What if the accumulated energy and time turn the bus stop into a space-time tunnel? The sunflower shells into stardust? I can joke around, but to be completely honest, I do believe that we can learn a lot from such people. A calendar filled with pragmatic tasks to complete, multiplied by a growing population, is a route which leads us straight to the end of the only world we have ever known.
A few weeks ago, the first ever photo of a black hole was revealed in the media. The black hole is indeed black. Maciek Cholewa’s works depict spatial and temporal aspects of exclusion. My stereotypical perception of the world is indeed stereotypical.

Andrzej Tobis

Maciej Cholewa (1991) – a visual artist creating installations, objects and videos. He bases his works on original literary texts and focuses on topics related to local communities, small cities and interpretation of cultural texts. He employs conscious confabulation and reworks stories and contexts heard from other people. He lives in a small town which he treats as his workshop and an important source of references and inspiration. He has been a finalist of many competitions, including: Vordemberge-Gildewart Foundation Award (2018), Radio Three Talents (2017), Tide. Young Polish Contemporary Art (2016), and Grey House Foundation (2016). In 2018, he was awarded a small town scholarship (Tarnogóry Poviat Scholarship). He is represented by Galeria Szara.

  • Exhibition
  • 25 May ‒ 28 June 2019
  • artist: Maciej Cholewa
  • curator: Katarzyna Kalina
  • as part of the Służbówka (Servant's Room) cycle
  • visual identity: Marcin Wysocki
  • photo documentation: Marcin Wysocki
back to: Exhibitions / 2019