Robert Kusmirowski_BUNKER_2009_The Curve Gallery_Barbican Art Center in London_Courtesy of the Artist and Barbican Art Center_2

Robert Kuśmirowski - Exhibition "Dustribute"

March 25 - May 29, 2022

Duration of exhibition

March 25 to May 29, 2022 at Kunstraum Dornbirn

For Kunstraum Dornbirn, Robert Kuśmirowski (*1973 in Łódź, Poland) creates a new site-specific environment with "Dustribute".

He creates a post-apocalyptic scenery that completely changes the space. Visitors find themselves in a world whose appearance in Dornbirn's Stadtgarten resembles a fictional journey through time. Historical, cinematic and narrative reference systems interweave to create a narrative of existential danger and uncanny beauty.

The artist occupies the entire 1893 former assembly hall that functions as an exhibition space, eliminating the tall transom windows and shutting out outside influences. Sand piled into mounds covers the entire floor of the large hall. In addition to a small wooden shed, a human figure is also visible in this inhospitable world. Working tools, machines or wooden carts are now dysfunctional representatives of a bygone era.

Visually and atmospherically, Kuśmirowski's new work at Kunstraum Dornbirn is based on the classic film "Stalker" by Soviet director Andrei Tarkowski from 1979. The film is about an area known as the "Zone," which has been sealed off militarily after mysterious incidents occur. The nameless "stalker" (understood here as a local expert) leads customers into the forbidden zone and helps them avoid the dangers lurking there. A professor and a writer want to enter the "Room of Wishes" with his help for different motives, because the legend says that the most secret wishes come true there.

Kuśmirowski places his protagonist in the Kunstraum Dornbirn in the reconstruction of the gloomy scenery in said room. The sandy ground and the diffuse light create an enraptured world in which the figure ekes out an existence of daily labor in harsh, inanimate surroundings, hoping for a better future that never comes. Even worse, time seems to stand still. The oppressive, anxiety-filled mood is reinforced by the abysmal beauty of this mysterious parallel world.

Kuśmirowski evokes the narrative potential of his works by re-enacting and staging past times. The historical references spring from collective and individual history and are mixed with fiction and imagination. The resulting image testifies to a handwritten unique and independent way of concrete world appropriation in the artistic work. It involves the visitors and claims all senses. The confrontation with mystical, decayed or destroyed places controls our uneasiness through the experience of obvious abandonment, human absence, and the irritation of an apparently perfect staging of past time in our present. The fascination is fed by the feeling of the uncanny.

Robert Kuśmirowski's work is medially diverse and manifests itself in installations, environments, prints, objects, photographs, drawings, and performances. His immersive spatial installations convey an aura of decline, represented by the patina of the detailed recreations of objects and scenery. Intentionally ambivalent, Kuśmirowski's staged doubling relates to the memory and formation of historical narratives.