DRY ICE — Marta Antoniak

Marta Antoniak UFO Art Gallery Dry Ice
Exhibition poster by Marta Antoniak

 

DRY ICE – Marta Antoniak
28. 01. – 12. 03. 2022

The hallmark of Marta Antoniak’s work is technology. Processing plastic objects into rhythmic reliefs is a patent that the artist has been holding for a long time. However, each subsequent cycle introduces significant shifts in her practice – in each of them the status of the objects produced by Antoniak changes. Some of her older works resemble anatomical models. Others are associated with procedural textures created with the use of algorithms (arbitrarily framed patterns seem to outgrow the frames and loop in an abstract, mathematical space). The paintings collected at the „Dry Ice” exhibition, on the other hand, have something of icons in them. Colorful reliefs stand out from under a layer of transparent, shimmering resin like expensive paintings from under the water in the famous scene of „Stalker” directed by Andrej Tarkowski, when the title character falls asleep on the banks of the pond. Antoniak’s new works seduce with an impression of depth, but at the same time refuse the viewer to penetrate inside. Their glass coating reflects even the faintest rays of light and keeps the eye on the surface.
Fetishization of glow, marking nobility and a sublime aura, and at the same time a liking for superficial perception and common materials – these are the basic distinguishing features of the camp, and „Dry Ice” is a completely camp exhibition. Even the walls sparkle in the gallery. Antoniak’s works refer to religious painting (or showcases in „serious” museums), but lofty exegesis will not find support here in any symbols. On closer inspection, the paintings barely reveal their own construction. The fact that they are made of kilograms of plastic magma will not be obscured by any layer of enamel.
Aside from the above remarks, it is worth noting that the polymer material is not only a tool in Antoniak’s work. It is also a topic.

Plastic icons and models are the inherent children of a culture of abundance that puts comfort and economic profit over sustainability or care for the environment. Due to the mismanagement of modern people, in the last fifty years, tons of cheap plastics have been dispersed on the surface of the earth, in the waters of the oceans, and even in the bodies of their living inhabitants. The portable sea of ​​plastic has become – to put it in the words of theorist Timothy Morton – a hyperobject. A being so powerful and complex that it is impossible to describe or present it in a comprehensive way, and at the same time „sticky” – clinging to our bodies and perceptual apparatus on a limited, local scale. „Dry Ice” by Marta Antoniak can be read as evidence of such sticking. However, it is a testimony, which is important, of a camp. Contrary to many contemporary artists who are concerned with ecological problems, Antoniak does not promise us the opportunity to listen to Gaia’s poignant groan and keeps himself away from catastrophic authenticity. Even in queer make-up, plastic does not allow itself to be elevated, and under the cover of irony, epoxy resin and glitter, there is no metaphysical depth hidden in „Dry Ice”, but brutally sober realism.
The gods are gone. The eye is lame. The rain pools are full of polymer reliefs.

Arkadiusz Półtorak


 

Marta Antoniak I DRY ICE I Photo report from the opening.

 

Marta Antoniak I DRY ICE I Photo report from the opening.

 


 


 


 


 

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