Low resolution

Low resolution (Niska rodzielczość)
Exhibition by Magdalena Żołędź

  • 5 February to 13 March 2022 (11 a.m - 7 p.m.)
  • Vernissage: 4 February 6 p.m. 
  • Guided tours of the exhibition in English: 11.02 6p.m.
  • Curator: Agnieszka Dela-Kropiowska

The exhibition provides an overview of the artistic research performed by Magdalena Żołędź on the topic of post-photography – the “life of images” that is independent of the creator – and is an attempt to investigate the relation between the viewer and the work of art in the spirit of slow looking.

Let us consider a hypothesis that images are an autonomous organic species co-evolving with another species – humankind. Images, in this case, become parasites that live inside the organisms of homo sapiens, multiplying through the ages and waiting for the right moment to break free. This would mean that the human being (the artist) is only their carrier – an incubator that enables them to grow alongside the changes taking place within the universe. Every so often, the parasitic species present in the artist's body break loose with a dramatic effect and become known as “works of art”(1).

Functioning as a “living organism”, the image becomes a crucial constituent of posthumanist thought and post-photography, that creates hybrids and chimeras, merges organisms, and separates the creator from its work, evoking the conviction of the independent functioning of works with their full background of desires, expectations and longings. Perhaps visual representations do not want to be interpreted, but only “experienced”. Possibly, they don’t want to be perfect in the broad sense of human aesthetic needs, and “low resolution” is the natural habitat in which they function. They may have no longings at all, but we are unable to establish this with full certainty... In line with the thinking of William J. Thomas Mitchell – What do pictures really want from us?

In the 21st century, digital visual content is accused of taking over the world. Slogans such as “we live in a world of images” have become commonplace, as we no longer distinguish between reality and its image. Let us recall Jean Baudrillard’s theory (2)  – in “hyperreality”, the image no longer points to its original but multiplies in the digital world as an autonomous entity, complete with its own growth dynamics, stand-alone potential to communicate with the audience, and an unlimited ability to reproduce (multiply). We are unable to separate the two worlds (the sign from reality, the simulacrum from prototype), but perhaps there is no longer any need for that.

Films and digital glitch art projects by Magdalena Żołędź – through the subtle repetition of motifs, the implementation of abstract forms and the use of the potential of “imperfections” – seem to pose the question: who gets to speak and who makes decisions in the digital world? Who gives images their vitality? GSW’s exhibition entitled “Low Resolution” employs a meditative formula. The exhibition’s walk-through instructions become a fundamental part of the exhibition, an attempt to impose on the viewer an optimal way of experiencing it and establishing contact with the image. We thus pose the following questions: Does protracted contemplation provide the viewer with the ability to experience the work of art to a greater extent? Does our attentive presence in the gallery bring additional values? Can digital images fished out of the overcrowded online world become objects of contemplation?

( 1.) W.J.T. Mitchell, Czego chcą obrazy? Pragnienia przedstawień, życie i miłości obrazów, translated by Łukasz Zaremba, Warsaw 2013 (What Do Pictures Want? The Lives and Loves of Images). This book was my key inspiration when writing this text.

 (2.) J. Baudrillard, Symulakry i symulacja, translated by Sławomir Królak, Warsaw 2005 (Simulacra and Simulation)