For Kids and Adults

7/09 – 2/10/2011 | Awangarda gallery BWA Wroclaw
4/11 – 4/12/2011 | Salon of the Museum of Contemporary Art Belgrade

Artists: Nikos Arvanitis (GR) • Hubert Czerepok (CZ) • Marko Crnobrnja (RS) • Aleksandar Dimitrijević (RS) • Marija Đorđević (RS) • Petra Feriancova (SK) • Karolina Freino (PL) • Nenad Jeremić (RS) • Dušan Jevtić (RS) • Alicja Jodko (DWF / Entropia) (PL) • Vladimir Perić (RS) • Vedran Perkov (HR) • Joanna Rajkowska (PL) • Milorad Stajčić (RS) • Katarina Šeda (CZ) • Janek Simon (PL) • Kama Sokolnicka (PL) • Predrag Terzić (RS) • Miloš Tomić (RS) • Vova Vorotniov (UK) • Zorka Wollny (PL) • Martin Zet (CZ)
Curatorial team: Dušica Dražić, Anna Mituś, Una Popović and Joanna Stembalska

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“For, to speak out once for all, man only plays when in the full meaning of the word he is a man, and he is only completely a man when he plays.” – J. C. Friedrich Von Schiller, Letters Upon The Aesthetic Education of Man, 1794 

Public Playgrounds – From My Dad’s Research, 2010
Petra Feriancova
Courtesy of the artist

The works presented in the exhibition “For Kids and Adults” deal with the phenomena of play and game, without which one cannot imagine any human community. We are interested in the role played in its dynamics by space (whether real or virtual) as well as spontaneous (i.e. play) and structured (i.e. game) ludic transactions which define it – its emergence, integration, modification and decomposition.

Play is still associated with the culture of free time, which – in modern societies – is separated from what is productive, and dismissed to what is private and foolish. The social experience of the last decade forces us to look critically at that separation, and to perceive play as an inspiring experience in which we act independently from any social control and individual or group purpose, and through which we can gain space for the longed-for freedom.

Analyzing culture as a system of rules, hierarchies, behaviours, decision making, manipulation and accumulation of knowledge, play may be considered an activity through which we can introduce changes to the very system, and operate within it. How we play is preconditioned by the environment, a total system which includes space – political, social and personal. At the same time, play may influence and change that environment. Play also refers to the movement, look, quest, creation – these are “tools” which can be used in the action within a (possible) process.

There shall be a communion between the formal impulse and the material impulse – that is, there shall be a play drive – because it is only the unity of reality with the form, of the accidental with the necessary, of the passive state with freedom, that the conception of humanity is completed. And it is exactly in this sense that the exhibition refers to the play drive (originally Spieltrieb), a term introduced in Schiller’s Letters Upon the Aesthetic Education of Man, denoting a formative process which resists time and persists from the first to the last day of man’s life. As observed by Ranciere in his Esthetiques comme poitique, Schiller’s revolutionary contribution was to create the idea of political change by revisiting what he called the distribution of the sensible – what and how we perceive with our senses is determined by what we accept as our ascribed function in the community. According to his Letters, the change would be possible if we were to cease perceiving art as separated from life, and play as separated from work (living form).

Playing requires no skills or knowledge, it rather creates circumstances whereby one can independently create or improve physical, social and political skills, and accumulate knowledge. Once you determine the rules, what is merely play turns into a game. In games, motives get blurred, and often to play becomes overshadowed by to win. It creates a competitive urge to be(come) the best.

The exhibition loosely refers to historical contexts of play and game, drawing from the political potential of “action” and transactional character which bonds the community. The explosion of the notions of play and games in various fields, from literature to architecture, coincided with essential political and social changes in this part of Europe in the 1980’s and 90’s. But the critical and social potential of the play drive had already been crucial in the 60’s and 70’s. Its subversive edge and potential was revealed in various movements, including Fluxus and Situationists, later followed in Poland, especially in Wrocław, by the Orange Alternative and the group LUXUS, as well as by numerous conceptual artists in former Yugoslavia.

What is displayed in the projects and works created by the invited artists is the formative, economic and political dimension of play and games, with special significance of art in public space and its critical character.