Elements of peaceful engagement

Marlena Kudlicka

Marlena Kudlicka lives and works in Berlin. Her works have been exhibited in such international institutions as the MWM in Wroclaw (2016), the Skulpturenmuseum Glaskasten in Marl (2016), the Kunstmuseum Bochum (2016), the Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb (2016), the Zacheta National Gallery in Warsaw (2015), the Museum of Modern Art Lodz (2014), and the CGAC in Santiago de Compostela (2012). She has had residencies at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, the Schloss Solitude Akademie in Stuttgart, the International Residency Program Location One in New York, and elsewhere.

Based on the text by Niekolaas Johannes Lekkerkerk: “Elements of Peaceful Engagement”

Elementos de Compromiso Pacífico

Driven by her ongoing interest in redefining the concept of sculpture, Marlena Kudlicka seeks to overcome the prevalent connotations of the art form as solidified instances by expanding her practice into the field of sculpture as a form of spatial writing. For the exhibition Elements of Peaceful Engagement, the practice of sculpture as a node of communication that actively negotiates the processes of the artworks’ coming-into-being and their relation to space is extended further. It becomes embedded in a discussion revolving around the protocols and strategic systems that are intrinsically connected to office and workspace standards, as well as how these, in turn, come to inform and structure human decision-making processes.

The approach the artist takes to the workspace is intrinsically connected to the Modern Efficiency Desk introduced in 1915 in line with the ideas of Frederick W. Taylor, who originated the notion that having large open floor plans with desks facing supervisors increased productivity. It may not be entirely coincidental that Taylor began to develop his theory in the steel industry, the producer of the very material, together with glass, that has been chosen by Kudlicka to bring her concept into the space of ŻAK | BRANICKA. From a technical standpoint, both glass and steel are materials that do not accommodate. Their cold inflexibility makes working with them an extreme experimental challenge. Sometimes, defying logic, the glass becomes the unifying element that holds up an entire steel structure. The artist uses glass and steel as counterpoints in sculpture, and when they are turned into language — an essential element of Kudlicka’s artistic approach — they carry on a dialogue about strategy, that is, about comprehensive planning to achieve goals under conditions of uncertainty.

Kudlicka here continues her interest in the various parameters of language structures, as well as protocols, classifications, systems of methods, and concepts revolving around norms, standards, and strategies. The workspace is approached as an architectural and design phenomenon that produces a need for flexibility to work both individually and collectively on shapes of thoughts. These sets of rules and instruments, explored as coping mechanisms for structuring daily routines, offer insight into the concept of a workplace, while simultaneously influencing and informing an atmosphere in which physical and mental movements generate an interchange in the decision-making process. Notions like protocol, strategy, norm and standard play a fundamental role in the process of establishing a communication trajectory. Kudlicka, however, does not employ her work to establish a new norm or standard for a workspace, but instead uses the subject matter of structuring principles in order to interrogate the ways in which they radically influence the effectiveness of communication processes in a workspace environment.

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