artist / participant
Babylon Rising surveys work undertaken since Malone relocated to live and work in Warsaw in 2007. While most of this work has been site-specific, typically involving reproducing and re-presenting examples of localised genres, narratives and social affiliations—complicating and testing their efficacy—this exhibition seeks to draw out the more general concerns and shared aesthetic forms of the works themselves, to consider more universal dynamics of history, culture and community at large. In order to do this, works have been teased apart and in some cases radically reconfigured and, characteristically for Malone, reveal themselves as unstable and full of contingency, but also, perhaps surprisingly, containing formal motifs of pattern and painterliness, repetition and difference.
Presented in Elektrownia, a former power station facility and now project space of Arsenal Gallery, the body of work spans video, film, sculpture, drawing and installation, many of which are based on sound as a mode of communicating literal meaning.
Babylon Rising is thus a medley of sounds echoing diverse phenomena such as the practice of the Polish avant-gardes of the 20th century, design, architecture, and language—overlapping, and interfering with each other.
Perhaps more than anywhere else this combination is especially pronounced in the context of a new work, commissioned especially for the exhibition and presented in the second hall of Elektrownia—Disco Esperanto is a musical recording performed by a local 'Disco Polo' group, a variation of dance music which emerged in the region in the 1990s and still remains highly popular. One of the staples of the genre was the inclusion of themes, visual features, and indeed musical inflections relating to the local culture of Tzigane (or Roma). Something that happened in parallel to a surge of resentment against minorities living in the border region.
The artist has approached a local band to prepare a new version of one of the most popular hits, with lyrics translated into Esperanto—a language conceived by a native of Bialystok, Ludwik Lazarus Zamenhof (1859–1917), in the hope of creating a universal means of communication. In this one work, much like in the exhibition itself, cultural phenomena are confronted with utopian fantasies. Disco Esperanto seeks to address what is essentially at the heart of the local cultural policy: vibrancy, legacy, and contradiction. Rather than denouncing this present state of affairs, Malone engages different registers, coming up with what could be seen as an unexpected combination of facts and potentialities.
Daniel Malone, born 1970 in New Zealand. Currently living and working between Auckland, New Zealand and Warsaw. Completed a degree in Art History at the University of Auckland in 1990 and in Intermedia (Time Based Arts) at the same University in 1996. In 1992 Malone was a founding member for TESTSTRIP, New Zealand's first artist-run space, and was one of five artists and critics who founded Cuckoo in 2001, a contemporary art project that worked critically and transiently through existing galleries. In 2007 he also co-founded the countries first artist-run dealer gallery, Gambia Castle. Recent exhibitions include 1990Now! for Turborealism, Izolyatsia Foundation, Donetsk, Ukraine (2013); The Proof Reader, solo show at Galeria Foksal, Warsaw; Everybody Knows Here is Nowhere, Castillo/Corrales, Paris, (2013), A Communist Kiosk in a Common Market, solo show at Hopkinson Mossman, Auckland, New Zealand (2012), and Burn What You Cannot Steal, Galeria Nova, Zagreb, Croatia (2011).
Curated by Krzysztof Kosciuczuk
only in german
Daniel Malone - Babylon Rising