The Black Car
video/object installation, 1995
wood, cardboard, tar paper, TV monitor, space;
dimensions: 5m x 2m x 1.40m.
"...On a purely esthetic level, they might be the regular correctly-proportioned cubes of Minimalism gone expressionistically awry. Houses imply cars, and Jacek Malinowski has brought a real car into the gallery, squeezing it into a tight space and covering all its windows to make it a certified enclosure. The two back wheels are each obscured by a video monitor that runs a tape of a spinning hubcap. Viewers might think of the Buddhist Wheel of Life and Death, another sort of enclosure...."
From: "Sculptural Installation of Large Intention" by William Zimmer,
The New York Times, New York, Sunday, November 3, 1996.
"...Similarly, Jacek Malinowski's life size black car is a sepulchral reminder of the absolute stillness of death..."
From: "Barriers and Enclosures" - review by Michael Rush, Art in New England, November, 1996.
multimedia installation, 1997
video object (4 monitors) - 3 minutes loop,
video projection - 5 minutes loop,
sound, wooden objects, space
"Collapsing" is based on a true story. A couple of years ago, when everything seemed to be hopeless, several shelves of books in my room fell down for no reason, making a loud noise and overwhelming chaos. It was meaningful and confusing at the same time, forcing me to think about the randomness of things and events.
On the surface it was nothing, such a stupid event, but I took it very seriously as a sign. Like a subconscious, but long expected warning, a proof of my guilt. The following paralysis prolonged the next months. I couldn't do anything and I did not feel optimistic about my future. The weak economic situation in my country made it even worse.
A few years passed before I found a way to use this experience in my art. Europe changed radically. My country survived the revolution. The meanings of certain words had changed as well, so that common terms took on metaphoric dimensions.
The word "collapsing" - the title of the piece, was used in press notations or television news to refer to the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe. This was one meaning I wanted the title to evoke.
I also have other associations. In my intentions the piece, by showing images of books, forces
people to think of: burning books, images of nazi propaganda - indoctrination in Hitler's Germany, the immortal shelves of Lenin's works in presidential offices in communist Russia or other historical events that have been notified in social memory.
I tried to use books from the distance. I focused on the creation of grotesque and spectacular work of art, an interactive installation or rather situation, which would invite people to be a part of it.
?Collapsing? is build of three elements: a video projected wallsize image, showing a shelf of TV monitors with images of books recorded on theirs screens. The entire shelf is falling down every 5 minutes. The collapse, which occurres for no apparent reason, i s sudden, loud and dramatic.
A pair of parallel benches creates a pathway in the middle of the room. The benches also act as a kind of fence, dividing the room into two parts. Because the benches are placed directly across from each other, viewers sitting on them look at each other while something happenes on the walls behind their backs. This seating arrangement accentuates the importance of communication.
Another shelf is mounted on the wall opposite the projection. This time the wooden shelf carries 4 real TV monitors that also show books. The books, as well, are just video images played through monitors. The row of books continues from one screen to another, exactly as they would in reality. The book on the far right falls down every third minute.
...The layerd television reality created, had its own specific, slowed down time, that has been established by a continuous rhythm of falls and intervals between them. This reminds a natural cycle of dying and rebirth - collapsing and rising up, marked with anxiety of decline, the end before the new beginning, or rather the beginning announcing the unavoidable end.
To grasp the work requires patience and good will. This was done on purpose. It is possible to miss the point if you leave the room before the final collapse. Then the picture remaining in the viewer?s memory is incomplete - formally still attractive - but defective in terms of content. Those who stay till the end, are surprised, sometimes scared, ultimately rewarded.
The humor, with the more serious conclusion (the falling knowledge) - proclaim a symbolic carnival - the joy in the face of forthcoming plaque - the feeling of disturbing levity when confronted with the "weight" of danger.
From the text of J. Malinowski?s MFA thesis, Rutgers University.
wood, paper, plaster, peat, space
dimensions: 15m x 1.2m x 30cm.
"Was too big to deal with or do anything with him. Forty five feet long, four feet wide, not so tall. Extremely delicate, unable to live in a different place than where he was built.
I made him of wood, plaster and paper. Was white then. I hesitated; should I leave him in that state or give some individual character. There was still something missing. Then I found two ideas: to paint him black or to bandage him with wet turf. This second opportunity seemed more interesting. What's unusual about paint, just different color - I asked myself. The turf - that was it!
After the first handfulls of wet earth lay on the object I realized that its deep blackness made a perfect contrast to the underlying white paper and plaster. I understood that I must leave some irregular areas uncovered, symbolically leaving weak points for scavengers to attack. The irregular pattern of white and black stains unexpectedly suggested carnality. The sculpture on the floor looked like an animal or an animal's skin.
He looked magnificent and monumental from a distance. Undoubtedly, with no word of objection, manifested his presence in the space, occupying it with no room left for anything else.
It was overwhelming, to see him howling everything down, just by his presence. The way he was doing it (lying on a diagonal in the center of the room), was certain, strong and inevitable. Dominant. Surrounded by masses of fresh air, with sharp arrows of the sun cutting into the room through huge open windows, he silently inhabited this niche. Arguing about domination with such light aggressors. Although they were stubborn, painfully hitting his white wounds, he did not give up, proudly ignoring every provocation.
"Left Alone" had his philosophy and ideals. Was excellent in terms of coping with life.
From the text of J. Malinowski's MFA thesis, Rutgers University.
Railway (It Is Too Late To Catch A Train)
peat; dimensions: 4 m x 1.2 m x 20 cm
"...If forms have been modelled upon steel rails and they fall into pieces at slightest touch, do they speak of the impermanent nature of things, the destructive character of close contacts or of the entrophy of any activity?"
from the text by Józef Prus
exhibition catalog, Gallery Dziekanka,
October 1992, Warsaw, Poland.