Ula Lucińska & Michał Knychaus
Whispers from the Cracked Horizon
Indistinct whispering gradually merges into background noise. Only familiar references, shapes, colours and materials remain, activating memories, ambiguous emotions and flashbacks of nostalgia for situations yet to be experienced. An inexplicable feeling of fragmentary déjà vu culminates in tantalizing frustration from the inability to decode the seen. Reflections of metallic objects, razor-sharp delineations, machine-cut curves, technologization of artistic procedures and identifiable de-humanizing of processes graciously contrast with visual traces of bodily remains, organic shapes or fragments of fragile materials. It’s on the tip of our tongue, but still lost in oblivion. There’s no endorphin rush on the horizon. The Polish artistic duo Inside Job (Ula Lucińska and Michał Knychaus) create imaginative scenes and complex environments communicating a post-apocalyptic vision of an alternative reality. Wrapping objects and special installations into time capsules, they combine a speculative idea about a distant past with a vision of a fictitious future. Fusion of formal styling, material diversity and visual abstraction is typical for their unique programme. Inside Job works with fragments of found objects, synthetizing them with elements influenced by technological processes and industrial production. Cold metal materials are combined with hand-coloured textile or recycled leather. They use their own database of procedures, materials and ornaments in their artworks, collaging, layering or interchanging them in imaginative installations. The intimate exposition Whispers from the Cracked Horizon in the Šopa Gallery in Košice offers a mysteriously toned illusion of post-industrial ruins from an unknown land. Hostile metallic objects, sharp edges, sterile polished areas or an omnipresent monochromatic grey are placed in intentional contrast with organic structures, leather, textiles, expressive and decorative forms or discreet lights. A vision of the world that only hints at human existence is communicated through a selection of the duo’s current works, displayed alongside their new works created especially for this exhibition. In the spatial installation Premonition I-III (2022) we find abstract forms interchanged with glimpses of specific details. Expressively levitating objects are created from weird, modular constructions of indeterminate function. Sharp tips in stainless steel contrast with wispy-seeming textiles pulled from found leather vests, just vaguely alluding to bodily existence. The edges of metal details penetrate soft textile while mutating into imaginative para-normal forms. Layered segments of diverse materials and structures simultaneously illustrate sediments of time and leftovers from the history of parallel worlds. Imaginary futuristic relics or mementos of places of sacrifice and trophies of unknown cultures float over rectangular platforms, seemingly anchored by them in specific positions. Their shiny metallic surface is disturbed only with diagonal cracks, disclosing the adumbration of an unknown environment shouldering its way by means of light through a layer of dark soil. Possibly, this is the source of the whispering. Selected works are mutually connected not only by their formal and material affinity, but also through an outlined principle of ideological or visual contrasts. Inside Job naturally interfaces technological procedures with natural processes, organic material with synthetic elements and aspects of coincidence with thoroughly designed details, purist lines clashing with expressive, occasionally even decorative patterns. Perpendicular framing and geometric division of individual segments defines wall objects from the series Untitled (Fossilized I-III) (2022). In seemingly abstract pictures, stylized fossil elements come together, shaped as expressive aluminium sheet cutouts. They are complemented by brownish red, soil-like relief structures, cast from details of a burned car, reminding us of and resembling a mixture of lava and animal entrails. The result is a contrasting encounter of various time layers anchored in a visually captivating time capsule, which materializes past catastrophes and outlines an idea of future techno-fossils. Mirror in Flames (2021) is the finishing touch of the dehumanization process and symbolical supremacy of nature and technologies. It is a mirror that does not reflect, an archetypal form of a gravestone, and stylized thorny stems of thistles, communicating the loss of humanism and the power of nature, which eventually subdues anything and everything within its reach. Inside Job is a duo of artists - Ula Lucińska (b. 1992, Poland) and Michał Knychaus (b. 1987, Poland). They both live and work in Poznań, after graduating from the University of Arts in Poznań and study trips to Athens and Naples. Together they have participated in residencies in Bergen (NO), Vilnius (LT), Prague (CZ), Biel/Bienne (CH), Nicosia (CY) and Burgdorf (CH). They were shortlisted in various competitions, e.g. the Allergo Prize, 2020, Poznań City Award for Emerging Artists, 2020 and Artagon IV, Paris, 2018. Currently they head a studio for visiting artists at the University of Arts in Poznań.