Cracow, 5.05.2023 - 30.05. 2023

"The most important thing for work, at least for me, because everyone is different, is to be in a country whose language you don't understand."
Thomas Bernhard

Why does the exhibition open with a closing gesture? Our gaze into the depths of the gallery encounters the impenetrable surface of the painting, where we see only a railing, whose chains hanging loosely separate us from the interior of the space. For many centuries, painting has been playing a game with us, in which we attempt, as viewers, to pierce with our eyes what constitutes the dead matter of the painting surface.

Stephanie Kaiser visualizes this boundary between the real and the virtual in an almost ascetic way. She reminds us, however, that looking at a painting has something of theatrical spectacle about it, in which we suspend certainty for a moment, agreeing to swap roles and identities. What is seemingly obvious turns out to be impermanent. Within the framework of the show, anything can still happen.

Crossing the barrier will allow us to encounter small drawing works. In this series of sketches - an ambiguous mixture of the formal language of painter and poet Maria Laurencin, comic strips from the 1970s or motifs borrowed from the work of Raymond Pettibon, we can recognize another gesture referring us to stage practice: the works resemble acting exercises in the expression of specific emotional states. However, nothing here is unambiguous. The artist leaves much unsaid, allowing us to run the machine of interpretation, which, like the practice of explaining dreams, will not give us any soothing answer.

Like the Baroque art theorists, Stephanie Kaiser tries to build a bridge between the work of painting and the technique of acting. She is interested in how the actor handles the text and how she develops specific scenes that create a concrete image in front of us. As she says, acting resembles artistic strategies such as appropriation or sampling, but emotions play a much bigger role in it. The actress has to resolve what relationship she will establish in her role to the other characters, and how she will build a specific emotional charge. In the space of the film, emotions that we usually repress - jealousy or hatred - become an element that brings the action to life. Kaiser reminds us that working on an image is also working on a gesture, a task that requires practice, repetition and vigilant tracking of emotions.

The exhibition is part of Cracow Art Week Krakers.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a publication of the author's zine with text by Sabeth Buchmann.