The Unreasonable Man Persists in Trying to Adapt the World to Himself

We have the pleasure of inviting you to Daniel Kotowski’s exhibition

The Unreasonable Man Persists in Trying to Adapt the World to Himself

Białystok Cultural Centre / Ludwik Zamenhof Centre, 19 Warszawska Street
exhibition opening: 04.13.2018 (Friday), 6 PM – 8 PM
tickets: exhibition opening – free, following days except Sundays – 4 PLN, Sundays – free entry
curator: Aleksandra Czerniawska

the exhibition is open until 06.03.2018, it can be viewed from Tuesday to Sunday

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world, the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man” – George Bernard Shaw

Seeing the title of the exhibition, were you wondering whether the artist speaks about himself in it? Does he say, that he is unreasonable in the common sense of the word, or is he so in the sublime sense that Shaw gave this formulation? It would have been a bold gesture made by such a young artist.

Daniel Kotowski certainly talks about himself in all his works. His exhibition is very personal. Is he bold? He told me, that the Shaw’s quote inspires him. However, he did not have the courage to choose it for the title – I persuaded him to do so. Why? Because I think, that Daniel occasionally is the Unreasonable Man.

Daniel is not afraid to deal with impossible situations. Being deaf from birth, he often faces the question of what silence is for him. People do not realize, that silence is usually defined by the lack of sound. Daniel has never heard anything, which is why silence is an empty concept for him. However, he does not evade answering the question. He creates minimalistic objects in which he shows the elusiveness of unknown concepts defined by other unknown.

As a child, Daniel did not understand what sin is. He was asking a nun working at school about that. She, perhaps impatiently, gave him a surprising answer: “To be sinful is to have a black heart – you can have your chest opened in the hospital and see what colour your heart is”. That answer was shocking for a young man. However, he found the strength to face that memory in art. He made a series of black cubes, at the bottom of which you can see black and white pictures of muscles. You can contemplate the inner black.

In the work enigmatically titled “11km/2:33h” Daniel refers to the legendary construction of the Moscow – Petersburg railway line. Allegedly, Tsar Nicholas I used a ruler and a pencil to draw the straight line on the map, completely ignoring the landform. The plan terrified the engineers, but they dared not oppose the tsar and made every effort to keep the rails straight. Daniel, fascinated by the radicality of this gesture, set himself a similar task. He decided to go a straight line from his home to the Academy. This route can be traced thanks to the camera attached to Daniel’s clothing during that performance. On the parallel projection, we can see how the writhing red line, which is a record of the real road, meanders around the black line of the ideal plan.

The last work has been created purposely for the exhibition and shares the title with it. In this work, Daniel looks at the plants. He is interested in how they grow in a completely unrestricted way, even in unfavourable conditions: tree shoots grow on the side of a trunk of a cut tree, a potato left in the drawer sprouts, a broken branch grows roots… To tell his story, Daniel uses various media: sketch, drawing, photography and film. The author himself is very present in his work. In the pictures we can see how his body intertwines with plants. In the movies, we see him talking about his green friends and about himself: “My name is Daniel, am I a plant?”. This question is not a reproach, it is asked with hope. Daniel sees the broken flower grow best when left alone for a few days. He wants to have such peace to develop as well. As a deaf person, he refuses to medicate his condition. Daniel does not want to be treated, does not want prostheses and rehabilitation. Daniel is deaf and flourishes as a human being and as an artist.
Aleksandra Czerniawska

Daniel Kotowski
Comes from Eastern Poland, born in Łomża in 1993, grew up in the villages of Grędzice and Śródborów, currently lives in Warsaw. He graduated from the Polish-Japanese Academy of Information Technology (Interior Design). He is currently continuing his studies at the Interior Design Faculty at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. He is interested in three-dimensional art. In his works, he refers to his own identity, nature and silence. His creative attitude is characterized by the search for an individual view of the world and openness to emotions. He is passionate about various fields of art: painting, installations, photography, collage, exhibitions, architecture and design. In 2016, as part of the project “Encyclopedia of Art in Polish Sign Language. Educational Workshops and Creating Entries”, he conducted workshops at the National Museum in Warsaw, at the Zachęta – National Gallery of Art and at the Art Museum in Łódź. Currently, he runs a regular series of meetings “Zachęta is Signing” at the Zachęta – National Gallery of Art and at the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw. “The Unreasonable Man Persists in Trying to Adapt the World to Himself” is his first individual exhibition.

Aleksandra Czerniawska
Born in Białystok, currently lives in Warsaw. She studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw and psychology at the University of Warsaw. As an artist, she uses various media, and in her works she mainly discusses the local identity of Podlachia. During the exhibition “The Unreasonable Man Persists in Trying to Adapt the World to Himself”, she had the pleasure of supporting Daniel Kotowski as a curator.

BOK Białostocki Ośrodek Kultury