Agnieszka Kurant

A.A.I 8, 2015

termite mounds made from colored sand, gold, glitter, and crystals

63.5 × 66 cm


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Accompanied by a certificate of authenticity.

photo credit: def image, Berlin

Artwork
Description

A.A.I 8 deals with aggregation and composition. It suggests the actions of an invisible labour force that creates value through a system of collective authorship. The work uses this to create a dialogue about the concept of authorship, ownership and commodity creation in the modern world. The piece is an embodiment of master slave dialectics and the methods used to create and exchange value within a socio-cultural framework.

The mounds are organically architectural and immediately draw parallels between humanity and their evolutionary predecessors. The termite is one of the few organisms, which have evolved to form a complex worker society, whose individual functions resemble the components of a production line. There is immediately the suggestion that the resultant object supersedes the means; individuals are forgotten and all that remains is the superstructure. The innate architectural sensibility of this work provides a direct parallel to humanity’s cultural superstructures. Humanity has a solipsistic propensity to favour the individual over the many and this is echoed in linguistic and semiotic systems, which all too often necessitate a creator as a singular entity. The creator of the temple is the architect as opposed to the builders and the truth that the temple unveils is a reflection of the auteur not the system that enabled its construction.

Working with entomologists in laboratories at the University of Florida, Kurant employed an entirely unaware worker society of millions of termite specimens to produce sculptural mounds. The artist supplied the termites with alternative building materials such as vividly coloured sands, gold, and glitter, resulting in the creation of hybrid forms, hovering between nature and culture. The termite becomes thematic as an expression of the human necessity for the investment of value within these structures. The termite is an unaware auteur, which represents this conceptual approach to the world and the fact that things only exist once they are labelled as a thing.

About
the artist

Agnieszka Kurant (b.1978) was born in Lodz, Poland. She studied History of Art at the University of Lodz, followed by Photography at a Film School in Lodz. In 2003 she graduated from Goldsmiths in Creative Curating before moving to New York, where she currently lives and works. In 2009 she was nominated for the international Henkel Art Award.

Agnieszka Kurant creates works that bridge the gap between fiction and reality, analysing the rapidly changing status of objects and the way in which they relate to the process of artistic creation and authenticity. Her work investigates the relationship between the immaterial and imaginary and the way these themes can influence contemporaneous political and economic systems.

Initially a curator, she became an artist once her curatorial activities surpassed the traditional expectations of that position. There is a residual conceptuality attached to her work that places great importance on the exhibition of her art as a whole. The main focus of the vast majority of her pieces is fantasy and it is embodied in capitalist systems, labour practices and production methods, as well as the technologically anomalous. Furthermore, her work represents a hybrid of the real and imaginary. She creates exhibitions which incorporate a multitude of tangible fictions: non-existent landmasses that have been integrated into traditional cartography; fictions within fictions are reified; and coins are exposed as a monetary myth. This is the world of phantoms her work inhabits.
Her works play with the malleability of languages and systems of meaning that tie into the loose concept of truth. Her works are an expression of the uniquely human ability to conjure things, both physical and conceptual, out of non-existence. Furthermore, this idea becomes a tangible subject within her work and reflects the aims of art to realize non-existent entities that are believably real. Consequently, she presents a society in continual flux, in which truth is defined by the equation of matter and knowledge. Thus, to what extent a “thing” exists relies upon its context and how readily a society accepts it. Integral to this proposition in the ability for truth to transition into myth once it is disproved. This is echoed in Kurant’s practice, as her works become comparably flexible, gaining the ability to transform and oscillate depending upon the micro and macro context in which they are evaluated.

Agnieszka Kurant creates works that bridge the gap between fiction and reality, analysing the rapidly changing status of objects and the way in which they relate to the process of artistic creation and authenticity. Her work investigates the relationship between the immaterial and imaginary and the way these themes can influence contemporaneous political and economic systems. Her works play with the malleability of languages and systems of meaning that tie into the loose concept of truth. Her works are an expression of the uniquely human ability to conjure things, both physical and conceptual, out of non-existence. Furthermore, this idea becomes a tangible subject within her work and reflects the aims of art to realize non-existent entities that are believably real. Consequently, she presents a society in continual flux, in which truth is defined by the equation of matter and knowledge.


Agnieszka Kurant
on Artuner

Part of the
exhibition