Flight, a sculpture by Roman Stańczak, will be presented at the Polish Pavilion during the 58th International Art Exhibition — La Biennale di Venezia. Visitors will experience the unique form and scale of the sculpture — an inside-out aircraft — but also the effect of an unexpected “reversal of the world”. The project delivers a commentary on the situation of political and economic transformations. The exhibition, curated by Łukasz Mojsak and Łukasz Ronduda, organised by the Zachęta — National Gallery of Art, opens on 11 May 2019.
“Turning things inside out speaks about hope”, Roman Stańczak stated in an interview devoted to the Flight project. The procedure of turning an object inside out has a spiritual dimension as “preparation for death”, passage to the other side, creation through destruction and at the same time, the act of reaching the essence of things. It is also a commentary on the effects of political and economic transformations that make themselves manifest both in material culture and in the society. The Polish Pavilion will feature an aircraft processed according to Stańczak’s artistic strategy of deconstructing the material order of things – depriving them of their usual function and aesthetic value, while offering them a new form and meaning. The aircraft will be cut in half and turned inside out so that its interior with cockpit and on-board equipment, as well as passenger seats, will emerge on the outside, while the wings and the hull will be wound inside, to the interior of the sculpture.
The idea of an inside-out aircraft — which came to the artist’s mind 30 years ago but never materialised — marks yet another stage of Roman Stańczak’s creative practice. Throughout the years, it has grown in new contexts that lend Flight a multi-dimensional and universal character. Nowadays, the aircraft stands as a symbol of the rift that troubles the Polish society. On a more universal level, it is also a major technological achievement and a machine that we entrust our lives to. It marks the starting point for interpreting and enquiring about the condition of the Polish society after a breakthrough event. A private aircraft is also a status symbol and a means of transport used by the so-called “1%” — the über-wealthy social class. To deconstruct this embodiment of accumulation of capital is to deliver a critical commentary on reality marked by economic and social inequalities. Stańczak’s project also articulates the conflict between modernity and spirituality — when annihilation of one of these spheres contributes to the expansion of the other. Akin to his previous works, Stańczak seeks to prove that people are in need of a spiritual change, which they may experience in a situation that negates a familiar order of things and disturbs their safe existence in the world.
Stańczak graduated from the famous “Kowalnia” studio of Professor Grzegorz Kowalski at the Faculty of Sculpture of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. Around the same time, the studio of Professor Kowalski — a disciple of Oskar Hansen, visionary architect and author of the Open Form Theory — was attended by such artists as Katarzyna Kozyra, Paweł Althamer, Artur Żmijewski and Jacek Adamas. Stańczak debuted in the 1990s, when his pieces emerged from the margins of the then-nascent Polish critical art. The artist declares: “My sculptures speak of living not among objects but among ghosts”.
– Łukasz Mojsak, Łukasz Ronduda