Marta Lisok: "At the exhibition Knights of the Vicious Circle Maryna Sakowska and Maciej Nowacki created a strange place frozen in time. An open-air museum of sexuality, ruled by fate and violence, with the spaces of dungeons, chambers and courtyards as a backdrop, and chains, spikes and swords as recurring props. Under the surface of conventionality and irony, one can sense the dormant violence lurking in ordinary objects and seemingly natural poses. The narrative of the exhibition, reminiscent of the backstage of a low-budget fantasy film, is filled with a miniaturised feeling of danger and oppression. The individual works look like forms waiting to be activated, to make the first decisive move, starting an action that cannot be interrupted. The world presented by Sakowska and Nowacki seems to be on the verge of a process of profound deconstruction, which will wipe to dust the established patterns inscribed in the activities of the body, subjected to constant control, blocking and taming.
There are clear rules of the game in Maryna Sakowska’s works. They include: ruthless sequentiality and the sinister nature of events, which take place in only seemingly improvised scenographies of castle ruins. In her adoration of history, the artist, working on the borderline of various media, indulges herself in poor materials found by accident, like the worn-out ironing boards on which she painted monumental medieval swords. Their heavy and dignified shapes, supporting themselves now on the thin legs of objects inscribed in the imaginarium of the order reserved for the private sphere, so that they become harmless and trivialized.
At the same time the ironing board itself as a sign of everyday routine acquires a new predatory potential through the image of a sword on it. It becomes a sign of accumulated aggression and fury. Simple interpretation paths intersect additionally in the context of the miniature versions of the above objects which Sakowska prepares in a size to fit a doll’s house. Innocent ironing boards being the background for swords, connoting power and epic, insidiously shatter the natural order of things. Clear instructions for the performance of gender roles inscribed in toys designed for a specific cultural gender are softened and blurred here.
In the background, the scenery depicting flattened castle walls pushes to the foreground an image painted on a transparent scarf, which completes the whole installation. Sakowska frames it in a burgundy plush and sticks delicate, colourful fibres to its surface. Although from a distance it looks very innocent, it turns out that it does not represent the presumed playground. It is a model of a fancy trap, or the habitat of a monstrous cat, which seems to be stuck in it for good and occasionally reaches out its paw predatorily towards the scratcher. Other attractions that await the users of this facility (or perhaps the inmates of this apparatus?) include an instrument of torture, a wheel that ends in a spiked ball used for smashing bones into splinters and cracking skulls. This machinery is in constant motion, in a shiver-inducing process of grinding, mixing, pressing, and remolding any object or creature that enters its cogs."
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