Yan Tomaszewski’s exhibition Message from Charlotte imagines a fictitious situation in the future. An apocalyptic landscape reveals a relic from the past: a time capsule from the Silesian town of Rydułtowy – the discovered object and all its artefacts are exhibited for the public within a timeless museum narrative.
The brass capsule, which forms the core of the exhibition, bears reference to the aesthetics of the Pioneer Plaque – plaques with engraved messages for the future generations or for other civilisations, sent out into cosmic space.
The starting point of the artist’s project was a real situation from the town of Rydułtowy, where several years ago a container with objects and documents from that time was buried in the ground for two decades. The eponymous Charlotte is the name of the mine in Rydułtowy (active after 1945 under the name Rydułtowy – Anna), but also the local spoil tip, the highest in Europe, which was personified as a protagonist of the regional promotion strategy.
For Yan Tomaszewski, the history of that place, which is undergoing constant transformation and seeking a new identity, became a case study of developing communication in the jargon of tourist industries and overblown ambitions to immortalise time and place.
Making use of real promotional materials and Western iconography, for instance the Romantic motif of the mountains, but also pop-cultural references to Hollywood, the artist created a universalising artificial visual language that creates the identity of the place. At the same time, he deliberately took its logic to the limits.
Yan Tomaszewski (b. 1984) – Polish-French artist, graduate of the State Higher School of Fine Arts in Paris. Works with different media. His works have been exhibited at Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, Middelheim Museum in Antwerp, Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź, Primo Piano Gallery in Paris, Manifesta 9 in Genk and Salon de Montrouge.
Exhibition created in collaboration with the Imago Mundi Foundation.
- 5 December 2015 ‒ 23 January 2016
- artist: Yan Tomaszewski
- curator: Stanisław Ruksza