IMPERTINENT OBJECTS by Natalia Zagorska-Thomas1. Mar - 16. Mar 14 / ended The Montage
Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday: 10am-6pm, Sunday: 10am-5pm. Tuesday: Closed.
What if art objects were not just passive recipients of our manipulation? What if they had identities, desires and ambitions of their own? In other words, what if, instead of merely reflecting culture, they had the power to interpret and influence it? The
“Because I always start with an already existing, ordinary object, I see myself not as an author of these pieces, but as a pair of hands and eyes which help to bring about their metamorphosis. My work is a series of slow alterations in order to bring out another aspect of something ordinary and familiar. As a result, these objects tend to take a step away from their original, menial purpose in an effort at some form of poetic emancipation from human control. What interests and inspires me is the tension between this organic, intuitive process and my other life as an art conservator, which relies on hard, verifiable fact and where the aim is to minimize or eliminate change. My art, concerned as it is with instinct and conjecture, is in a sense an antithesis of this. You might call it interpretative deconservation”.
After working as a full time artist for several years, Zagórska-Thomas trained as a conservator specialising in historic textiles. Working as a conservator requires close attention to both the physical and the cultural essence of each object, whose condition can yield evidence of our history. Many objects, which end up in museum collections, have spent a relatively short time being used for their original, intended purpose. Many have subsequently disappeared from view for hundreds, or even thousands, of years, in attics, in burial sites, embedded in earth or sunk deep beneath the sea. It is then that, safe from human interference, they undergo their greatest metamorphosis. They change shape, colour, texture, even chemical composition. Then, after this period of relative autonomy, they emerge, as if blinking, into a human culture totally foreign and unrecognisable from the one they left behind.
This process of seemingly independent evolution is what inspires and informs Natalia Zagorska-Thomas’ art. Tadeusz Kantor said that ‘The object exists between the rubbish heap and eternity.’ It is in that space, suspended between destruction and immortality that Natalia’s discarded, objects fight with her for control of their own destiny.
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“IMPERTINENT OBJECTS” Exhibition of mixed media objects and installations
by Natalia Zagorska-Thomas
Opening Hours: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday: 10am-6pm, Sunday: 10am-5pm. Tuesday: Closed.
Venue: The Montage
33 Dartmouth Road
Forest Hill, SE23 3HN
tel. 0207 207 9890
About the artist
Born in Warsaw Natalia Zagorska-Thomas is a Polish/British visual artist who has been living and working in London for the past two decades. Trained at Canberra School of Art (Australia) and St Martins and Central School of Art (London) she has exhibited in Australia, Poland, Spain and the UK at venues such as Lanyon Gallery (Canberra Australia), Victoria and Albert Museum, Royal Festival Hall and Sothebys (London) amongst many others. She has worked as a textile conservator for many institutions such as the Royal Academy, Victoria and Albert Museum, Museum of London, Museum of Islamic Art, (Doha, Qatar) and Wawel Royal Castle (Krakow, Poland). Influenced by the Polish avant garde art of the second half of the 20th century, especially by the legendary artist, theatre director and cultural commentator Tadeusz Kantor, she is interested in art which connects intensely personal, instinctive experience with the collective, social and political. Her work often includes elements suggestive of theatre and performance. Informed by her experience both as an artist and an art conservator Zagorska-Thomas aims to explore the notions of interpretation and the agency of the collected object in contemporary culture. She has given lectures, workshops and participated in panel discussions on the subject of museum collections, interplay between conservation and art practice and the evidential power of objects at SOAS, Tate Modern and The American University in Paris.
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