29 October 2010 The Melancholy Of Resistance – a bridge between literature and art

On the second day of the Conrad Festival we invite you to a meeting entitled The Melancholy Of Resistance, with the participation of the Hungarian novelist and scriptwriter – László Krasznahorkai and one of the most outstanding and popular Polish contemporary artists – Mirosław Bałka. The latter has already visited Krakow twice during the ArtBoom Tauron Festival (Visual Arts Festival).

The title of the meeting in the Bunker of Art – 3 November (Wednesday), 4.00 p.m.– was borrowed from one of the novels by Krasznahorkai. Susan Sontag wrote about this book: “The Melancholy Of Resistance is a visionary, unrelenting, apocalyptic novel of the Hungarian master of literature, which is reminiscent of Gogol’s and Melville’s works […], a stimulating lesson of resistance against emptiness and despair”. The same resistance is also present in the haunting works of the Polish artist, such as the sculpture AUSCHWITZWIELICZKA prepared for the first edition of the ArtBoom Tauron Festival and erected at Zabłocie.

The Hungarian writer is the author of the text for the catalogue of the recent exhibition of Bałka’s works in the Turbine Hall of the Tate Modern in London, so their meeting is not accidental. Many similarities can be found in their works, too. Focusing on the subject of the body, passing and the oppressive historical memory, which is an unhealing wound, is only one of the numerous examples. When watching Bałka’s sculpture or the film Werckmeister Harmonies presented at the Conrad Festival (Krasznahorkai is one of the scriptwriters of this film), we can see more of these common areas.

Looking for bridges between literature and art or tracing of private artistic mythologies is very likely to become one of the topics of the discussion to be hosted by Agnieszka Sabor. Shortly afterwards, in two days after the meeting on 5 November, in the Centre of Contemporary Art “Znaki Czasu” (Signs of the Times) in Toruń an exhibition will be inaugurated under the patronage of the Hungarian novelist. Entitled The Melancholy Of Resistance, it will present works from the collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Antwerp, many of them being works of artists from the former Soviet bloc countries. The organisers declare that the exhibition in Toruń is an „attempt to allow various personal mythologies to speak”. The meeting during the Conrad Festival in Krakow can be an excellent introduction to this unusual exhibition, which will be open till 30 January 2011).

See detailed information.