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Nie ma, ale będzie (Yet to come)

Text and performance prepared for The Space Program [2017]

Sorry I couldn’t make it to the event. Anticipating this is going to be the case, I decided to actively engage with my absence in Warsaw on this day and include it in the composition of this piece.

I asked you, Styrmir*, to read this text out loud so that others get a picture of what I would make if I was there, and also in order to draw a context around it. Context, which concerns presence and absence of the artist.

Instead of installing an exhibition of existing sculptures, I would prefer to prepare a specific work, adjusted to circumstances of this event. Delivering a new piece I see as a sincere way of contributing, allowing for things to evolve. In this instance as well I would consider the room, time and ambience provided by The Space Program. My intention would be to act out the process of making and building. For this purpose I would use clay, which is a very basic material offering a whole array of possibilities!

In order to arrange a setting that would accommodate a workspace and at the same time become a scene to play out this artistic act, I would create two areas one layered upon another. One area would be marked by a rectangle of plastic foil, carefully folded into an even, flat shape located more less in the centre of the garage and stretched almost from one side wall to the other (leaving around half of a meter on each side). Upon that foil, I would put a carpet- something with architectural motives would be just perfect. It would not be centred but placed closer to the left wall of the garage, leaving some plastic-foil-workspace on both ends, more on the right side though. Carpet would function as a referent for the exhibition locale, and it would also make a great match with the stools I would built for the event. Stools as sculptures can perform models for imagined living situations or mark one's presence.

I would use the same clay I usually work with- the one from a German producer, greyish color, fine grain. Clay from a factory. I would stack the blocks in the corner of the right-wing workspace.

Having prepared the lot, I would begin to construct stools. Or just one stool, for starters. Rectangular shape of a clay block would be perfectly suitable as I would cut it in a way so that I obtain two thick stripes and one square platform. The square piece would become a seat for the stool, while stripes would form the legs. I would have to cut them in halves, in order to obtain four leg components. They would end up being oddly short, but maybe that wouldn't matter. When attaching legs to the square surface, I would press and smudge the clay where the particular parts connect. It is crucial here that you leave your finger marks, Styrmir, when constructing the stool. Press it hard, play with it and leave the imprint of your hands, please!

The remaining clay may be used to build more stools or- even better- should serve to construct a tower, a tall vertical form- la tour- raised upon the first stool which will now become a solid base.
Yes- la tour, la tour! (Latour)

[Please, build!]

Having mentioned this philosopher of concerning matters, we arrive at a question of disappearance of artist as a certain mode of resistance or at least as a method of relooking at things, as in: redesigning our practices. The status of authorship can be, could be, should be reconsidered and now especially so, since we have become political and economic subjects. One’s individuality is highly priced, while the actual matter is itself realised elsewhere. It is worth it to work with the nature of things and compose ourselves within it and among others. Under such rule, the material becomes more than an instrumental resource: an actant holding potentiality. There is clay, there is the situation and there is the maker.

Even better I wasn’t there to present this piece- so these words can resonate in the setting. Although I would truly enjoy meeting you at The Space Program, seeing your work, talking some more.

Hope to see you soon!

Best wishes,


*Styrmir Örn Guðmundsson, together with Alex Urso curated the Space Program la tour3.jpg