Sauvity and Dispair

Wozownia Gallery, Torun

The exhibition Sweetness and Despair addresses ambiguities, contradictory senses and oppositions concealed in everyday life activities, ordinary items and art. Situations, things and categories – reinterpreted by the artists and amplified through repetition – disclose simultaneities which are sometimes hard to accept; they divulge weaknesses originally regarded as strengths, or mistakes which eventually turn out to be a success. In order to underscore the equivocalness of what might seem to be obvious, the artists make use of chocolate and its ‘double nature’: that of great sweetness and that of a stimulant which drives one to despair. What for some people is an essence of taste, sophisticated pleasure and soothing remedy, becomes a dangerous poison, a threat and obsession for others. Sweetness covers original bitterness, just like hot temperature and motion turns the tartness of cocoa mass into an exquisite delicacy.

Chocolates – Tasty & Healthy by Dorota Podlaska contrast pleasure, satisfaction and joy with bitter disappointment. Her self-made pralines imitate the style of exclusive chocolate products. The artists disturbs this order by filling them with ‘viruses’ – unusual stuffing which, although harmless in itself, fills the viewer with disgust. Crickets, silkworms and cockroaches rest in sweet mass as its integral element, both an internal and an external landscape. Both natures match perfectly – the worm lends its shape and liquids to chocolate, while the latter consolidates the former and lends its specific taste to the whole. Yet this perfect coexistence, just like views on chocolate, arouse ambivalent feelings: the title – an advertising slogan – confirms the product’s high quality and advantages, whereas the worm coming as a core element disturbs the order of the well-drilled sight and taste. Chocolates – Tasty & Healthy tests the strength of cultural habits, it demonstrates the control mechanism of our taste, habits and likings. The strategy of an advertisement-like seduction accelerates our recognition of prejudice, exposes stereotypical behaviors toward otherness.