Potencja Gallery, Cracow
the exhibition was a part of Cracow Gallery Week KRAKERS
11.06 – 11.07.2022
curators: Karolina Jabłońska, Tomek Kręcicki, Cyryl Polaczek
photographs: Filip Rybkowski
Frank Oz’s comedy horror film “Little shop horrors” premiered in 1986. It is a remake of the 1960 film starring Jack Nicolson. The protagonist of the story is Seymour Krelborn, a florist shop employee who is a loser in life. It is a seemingly simple and typical story: the protagonist struggles with life’s problems, but one day his fate, as if by magic, dramatically changes – Seymour begins to earn big money, wins the heart of the woman he loves, and so on. However, the reason for the change in the conditions of Seymour’s existence is unusual – an unusual plant acquired by the hero is responsible for it. Life goes on happily… until it turns out that the plant needs human blood to grow. The story gets uninteresting.
Similarly uninteresting happens in Radek Szlęzak’s exhibition. The exhibition resembles a set from a fairy tale land. However, at the very beginning nothing is what it seems. The fairy tale-ness is apparent, in fact it is a world full of violence and oppression.
The land, like the plant in Oz’s film, is a metaphor for the promise of success and a better world being a reward for hard work under precarious conditions. What is clear, however, is that the promise is flimsy, and aspirations impossible to realize. In Szlazak’s works, in addition to anthropomorphic plants, there appear various specters, machines, and other contraptions. They seem to offer respite and escape from oppressive reality, but in fact, they control and discipline the body making all productive efforts in the struggle for its existence.