Excessive Banqueting Strategy /// Michał Sosna /// 1.02.2018

Excessive Banqueting Strategy /// Michał Sosna

Ujejskiego 2a

opens at 6pm on 1 February 2018

opening hours:
from 2 February 2018 to 3 February 2018
from 6pm to 9pm

“Excessive Banqueting Strategy” is a portrait of a private group of people Michała Sosna has met at work, in watering holes, and participating in the aforementioned banqueting. This beyond doubt is a subjective portrait of a certain artistic circle. What circle, however? It is hard to tell, as the notion of “a circle” is as indefinite as the bevy of Facebook friends. We know some, we know of some others, and can’t say anything about the others. Yet there is a potential of contact. You can also ask them for free tickets to an exhibitions, opening banquets, and events. After all, it’s not you to buy tickets. A self-respecting human being, especially of artistic persuasion, should be invited, or best be “on the list”. It is the list that positions us in an artistic and social ranking.

Let’s, however, not delude ourselves. We’ll all be disappointed.

From the moment when the first photos of the new F.A.I.T. were published on a popular social media website, everyone’s been asking about the date of opening and becoming offended. They haven’t yet been invited to it. First things first: there is no opening, and there will be none. Secondly, the quintessential question keeps on returning since a plan to open an exhibition of portraits by Michał Sosna was disclosed in some cafés:

“Is my photo included?“

Well, most certainly not. Not all of them are. Bogusław Linda for one is missing. But yes, we have Xawery Wolski, Bogusław Bachorczyk, Tomek Baran, Marta Antoniak, and Adam Rzepecki – visual artists. Among the several dozens of portraits at the exhibition there is the Kraków-based embroideress Monika Drożyńska, there will also be the composers Wojciech Blecharz and Bartek Chajdecki. We will see portraits of actors: Ewa Skibińska, Jaśmina Polak, Małgorzata Gorol, Bartosz Bielenia, and Sylwester Piechura. Included are also representatives of the worlds of film, theatre and art history, and Gienia the cat. Yet by disclosing all the names we would spoil all the fun, wouldn’t we?

What’s the reason for such a selection then? Some were chosen because they are important, others because they look good in the photos. Who is who? The borders blur.

The exhibition also contains straightforward contemporary reports from exhibitions and film productions Michał shot on VHS. Simple questions – short answers. The official mixes with private. Wit, distance, and the cheek that the artist takes to approach the formula of reportage and his interlocutors create a space liberated from any sham professionalism. Frequently faulty and embarrassed, yet in this very true and at times even touching the heart. This is us. Artists. The artistic milieu AD 2018.

Michał Sosna does portraits and reports. He started in March 2017 and is quite likely to go on doing them for a long time, or until he gets bored. He went for Polaroids, because as a cinematographer he takes very professional, very expensive, and very complicated photos, and Polaroids are simple. Click and done. You can take them having tea together, during a cigarette break, and when you meet people in the street. Obviously, Polaroids have their tale to tell too, and they have their Andy Warhol, but that’s not that significant. Michała Sosna’s portraits are loaded with a far greater burden of visual clichés and associations. In the poses, lighting, and conventions we find the legendary portraits of Arnold Newman and Diane Arbus’s weirdos. There is a white 30-something-year-old from Central Europe in the style of August Sander and Tillmans’s dishevelled boys. There are landscape shots taken in the United Arab Emirates and in Morocco. Why so far? Because you can attend banquets there too.

Despite the numerous visual clichés, historical references, and familiar faces, the Strategy of Excessive Banqueting is a fairly disturbing picture. No masks, conventions, poses, and grins can cover the frailty of the portrayed individuals. The more the banquets, the greater the bags below the eyes, and the tongue somehow loses flexibility too. Let’s, however, not delve too deep into theory. After all, the title of the exhibition was generated with the MIT Random Exhibition Title Generator. Let’s then wrap it up with a de rigueur quote from a classic: “I like the melodies I’ve already heard. Just so. (…) Through… well, reminiscence.” After all, whether at the banquet, at an exhibition or in a company, it’s essential that they enjoy. And who are they? Well, this is an entirely different story.

Michał Sosna (b. 1982) – artist, director, cinematographer, a graduate of the Krzysztof Kieślowski Faculty of Radio and Television in Katowice (2008). Cinematographer for Tomek Siwiński (Diament Olgii, 2018), Jagoda Madej (Szkoda Całkowita, 2018), Kireet Khuran (T for Taj Mahal, 2018), Daria Woszek (Hycel, 2015 and Saleem, 2014), Jakub Stożek (Poza Zasięgiem, 2010). He has collaborated on the productions of Marcin Koszałka and Magdalena Piekorz, and on film projects of visual artists Marta Deskur (Manju, 2013), Gaweł Kownacki (Spełnia się, 2013), Wojtek Doroszuk (Festyn, 2013), Karol Radziszewski (MS 101, 2012), Agnieszka Polska (Włosy, 2012) as well as Roman Dziadkiewicz, Mateusz Okoński, and Kuba Woynarowski. His works have been presented at individual and group exhibitions i.a. in Kraków’s Bunkier Sztuki, LaFabrica in Barcelona, London Photographic Association in London, and the PF Gallery in Poznań. Holder of a scholarship from the Polish Minister of Culture and National Heritage in 2013.

Design: Itay Blaish