April 29, 2022 – June 26, 2022,
Gdańsk City Gallery 2
The exhibition at the Gdańsk City Gallery is a journey through time taken simultaneously in two directions: a backward journey that allows us to see our entanglement in the processes that have brought us to the current place, and a journey to the future – to the place where we can be if we learn our lesson. Like a criminal to the crime scene, Rajkowska comes back to the place of her previous activities. She reassesses the reality using the tools applied in her earlier projects; this time, however, the result is a different image: the one that seems to disintegrate the very moment that we look at it.
The key to the exhibition is the light and the power within the gaze. Rajkowska revisits the dialectic tension between the illuminative light that the expansive Western civilisation of the Enlightenment Era began to identify with power and knowledge, and the bodies dwelling in darkness under its colonising power, and reuses it in a new context. The knowledge brought by the light, which for some became a means of empowerment and enlightenment, became a new distinction: a mark of the difference between the informed and the controlled. The aura of secrecy surrounding knowledge as a dangerous tool that may only be mastered through many years of training and hierarchical obedience (initiation) is the trait of the new religion separating the priests from the faithful, the seasoned ones from the beginners.
Thus, in this uneasy image, the darkness that has long been a symbol of submission and disorientation returns as an indefinite, potential, domination‑defying area. The artificial light appearing after nightfall brings disappointment; it shines but illuminates only what it chooses to illuminate. Hidden in its shadow is the key to compassion which enables us to discover relationships and dependencies connecting us to the world of other people, phenomena and objects. Rajkowska’s project detaches the light from the matter, breaks off the word/image from the stone in which it was set, and reclaims it for negotiation. Taken away from the people, it belongs to no one. But will it suffice to be aware of mankind’s misappropriation in order to change the subject of the conversation? Do we still have enough time to debate on our world? And, aware of the past exclusions, are we finally going to allow all the parties to join the conversation?