Vernal

Looking at Urszula Kluz-Knopek’s photographs and videos, presented at Wozownia in Toruń as part of the “Vernal” exhibition, I have this compelling feeling that – alike Alice in Wonderland – I’ve made it to the other side of the mirror. All of a sudden, I find myself in a world where the clear-cut subject/object or nature/culture distinctions blend. According to Donna Haraway, separating nature and culture is an act of inherited violence and, if one wishes to discontinue it, “it is necessary to finally accept that there is no ‘return to nature’”. I’d say that the shots of Kluz-Knopek illustrate this very aspect: there is no returning to nature because the convolution of nature and culture cannot be undone. To describe this state of affairs, Haraway proposes her own term: natureculture, which emerges as a result of “implosions of the discursive realms of nature and culture”. Through staged photography, Kluz-Knopek visualizes this implosion quite sensually, welcoming recipients to a slightly dream-like, a bit drowsy world of natureculture, where each gesture acquires characteristics of some mysterious ritual.

A researcher of memory and commemoration, Aleida Assmann, quite correctly observes that one cannot recall something that is constantly present, for this, one can only incorporate. Kluz-Knopek photographically embodies that which is ever present around her. If I were to paraphrase Witkacy, I would say that the pieces from “Sleepy Spring Ceremonies” came from the very guts of the artist and from the tissue of her life, yet in the final outcome, they are free of this intestinal quality, because – through their staged form, oneiric poetics and the hybrid sphere of natureculture – they move onto the plane of intersubjectivity. [Marta Smolińska Natureculture and the Sleepy Spring Ceremonies – a piece of text from the exhibition catalog]
See documentation of Vernal exhibition