In Poland, there is probably not a single artist, curator, critic, head or employee of a cultural institution, art academy lecturer or student, gallerist, or collector who has never had to operate under extreme budget constraints – a plague upon the national field of contemporary art. The state of limited production resources has so deeply shaped our consciousness that virtually any conversation about money is extremely awkward.
The question about the budget available for implementing a vision is unavoidable and usually asked at the very beginning of a preliminary meeting. This is also the stage at which most projects come to an end, for the available balance is generally zero. Institutional remuneration does not help much because the rates of even the most generous of institutions are usually enough to cover only a fraction of an artist’s expenses.
Artistic practice has unfortunately become the prerogative of those who are financially independent to begin with, or who have managed to secure alternative sources of financing for their creative path – a private source, most likely, of which there are precious few. The obvious solution seems to be the marketing of works: auction records spiralling ever higher is the aspect of the art world the imagination is most susceptible to. Unfortunately, in our reality, this mainly applies to works that are older than their creator’s adult children.
The exhibition “Jaki mamy budżet? – ‘Where’s the Money?’” is a bitterly humorous fable about what never came to be, for the dark matter of the art world has absorbed projects, talents and careers beyond reckoning. Each photograph represents a project that crashed into an institution’s budget like a wrecking ball. Ada Zielińska uses her position as an artist adept at navigating the field of art to critically scrutinize the system and its conditions while at the same time empathizing with her co-participants. The aestheticization of money in Zielińska’s photographs is also a tale about its fetishization in the world of art – about how phantasmic, illusory and unattainable it is. For just a moment, however, we can indulge in this carefree fantasy, able to count at last upon the favour of the ‘monied collector’.
Ada Zielińska (b. 1989) is a visual artist. Her creative interests revolve around photography and installations. Zielińska’s works, often arranged, are an attempt to capture everyday catastrophes, and constitute a critical interpretation of the surrounding world. She studied at the Faculty of Media Art at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw and at the Institute of Creative Photography in Opava.
Ada Zielińska’s photographs will be displayed during the 19th edition of the Kraków Photomonth Festival. Find more information at: photomonth.com