Starter Gallery, Warsaw: Water & Gas

Michał Grochowiak, One gallon of water above the desert, White Sands, New Mexico, 2011

Michał Grochowiak – Water & Gas

Warszawa,  07.02.2012 – 02.03.2012

The Starter Gallery presents a photo project realised during during Grochowiak's trip through the United States, by the Młoda Polska Scholarship

A ride through the US in a rented car is an iconic pop culture fantasy. An image of a single vehicle on a straight road (of hundreds of kilometers) surrounded in an orange mist is a classical movie scene, an image firmly rooted in our minds. Michał Grochowiak's project "Water&Gas" is an actual journey that is manipulated in a way that confounds the viewer's perception.

For Grochowiak his voyage is not just a participation in a ritual, but a journey that in order to be completed has two basic, very pragmatic requirements: water and oil. With a full tank of fuel and a gallon of water, the artist follows a symbolic source of these two elements: he visits the destroyed wetlands of New Orleans and the dilapidated 'Motor City' of Detroit. He categorises the symbols of these substances, which are the basis of our historic and our contemporary civilisation, from gas stations (basing on Edwards Ruscha idea) and water towers (Bern and Hilla Becher). A parallel ownership of these two elements coincides our basic needs; a sine qua non of survival. In contrast, the artist visits the Gulf of Mexico where a sudden collaison of the aforementioned elements created a natural disaster with dire ecological consequences.

Michał Grochowiak, Smoke No.2, 69 Michigan Avenue, Detroit, Michigan,2011

By traveling the United States, Grochowiak sets himself up within a certain cultural cliché (anyone who takes up such a journey does so), repeating a typical theme often enough played out in movies, art or literature. Moreover, he repeats his own artistic gesture, basing on a previously developed catalog of his own visual language. His work stops short of banality and pathos is thanks to the individual truth emanting from the more or less familiar images, a specific respect for the the immensity of space and Nature's unexplained magnitude in tolerating intuders (people, architecture).

From a chemical point of view, oil and water do not mix. In Michał Grochowiak's latest exhibition, the two liquids are conceptually combined at each dsestination point. Viewers are uncertain about the reality portrayed and are left with a collection of visual souvenirs of a voyage.

Michał Grochowiak (b. 1977) is a photographer, a graduate from the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznań (Photography and Multimedia), stipendist of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage, winner of the Samsung Art Master and Epson Art Photo competition (2009) and member of the group 4!. He participated in numerous group and individual exhibitions, among others: Tribute to Krasiński (Bęc Zmiania Foundation, Warsaw, 2009), the Samsung Art Master competition (CSW Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw, 2009), Dech (Starter Gallery, Poznań, 2009), Truth Study Corner (PF Photo Gallery, Poznań, 2011). Grochowiak's photographs were published, among others in: Kwartalnik Fotografia (cover) and in the latest issue of Periodyk Najgorszy. Michał Grochowiak lives and works in Warsaw.

The Starter Gallery was founded in May 2007 where it operated as an artists' and curators' run-space on 200m2 in an Art Nouveau tenement house in the center of Poznań. For more than three years it held over 50 exhibitions featuring 72 artists from Poland, Czech Republic, Germany, France. In April 2011 Starter moved its office to Warsaw.

The exhibition opens on the 2nd of February at 19:00 and runs through the 3rd of March 2012.

Starter Gallery
ul. Gen. Andersa 13
00-159 Warsaw
www.starter.org.pl

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