Przeciw(stawanie) – Agata Cieślak “We Were Tending to the Remains (II)”

Agata Cieślak

“We Were Tending to the Remains (II)”

March 10th-May 7th, 2023

Opening: March 9th, 6:00 PM


Agata Cieślak’s exhibition “We Were Tending to the Remains (II)” run from the 10th of March until the 7th of May. The event inaugurated a new project of the Katarzyna Kozyra Foundation – Przeciw(stawanie). The first edition was done in cooperation with the Dzielna Foundation.


The Przeciw(stawanie) project focuses on two main areas – supporting the activities of artists of the young generation and organizing their solo exhibitions, and cooperation between smaller cultural institutions in Warsaw.


Agata Cieślak’s exhibition “We Were Tending to the Remains (II)” is the second edition of a project in development since 2021 and, at the same time, the artist’s first Warsaw-based solo show. 


The multithreaded installation, which consists of intricately composed objects, is also a scenographic sampling of settings that will appear in the author’s forthcoming musical. Cieślak builds space around and inside shelters—which form an architecture of the uprooted—in which she places objects of a symbolic nature: amulets and relics of overlapping crises. In this way, she tells a story about hopes and myths regarding religion, philosophy, and art, and asks: is it worth reconstructing ruins according to their original spatial designs, only to fill their spatial void with remains? In such a context, what is the importance of the postulated usefulness of art, and how does the tending to the absolute-ideal make sense in the present? Must we completely destroy nature in order to truly know it?


What are the circumstances for replacing the sweet sense of agency associated with self-determination when it is prospected within the capitalist agenda? And finally, is there the possibility of a systemic change, where all forms of domination—both those resulting from unconscious desires or as a consequence of pleasure at the expense of humanity— won’t go undetected?


Agata Cieślak’s exhibition is a spectacle in which the artist leads us through the landscape woven with remnants of decaying ideas, constituting a life-giving compost, on which we come to “cultivate” and “cherish” our reality. This metaphor forms a throughline  with the artist’s earlier practice: the organic nature of her works form a foundation in which particular—sometimes even contradictory—narratives, ideas, materials and other forms function as a coherent whole.


Text: Anna Ciabach 


Agata Cieślak (born 1990) is a visual artist and author of texts and a sometimes-curator. As part of her artistic practice, she writes, paints, creates installations, objects, films and performances. She researches the relationship between work, nature and enjoyment, with particular emphasis on the contexts of control and sovereignty as well as the class nature of contemporary art. Despite many doubts, she still believes in the importance of art. She completed her MA studies at the Dutch Art Institute in Arnhem (MA Art Praxis), and since 2022 she is a PhD candidate at the Mozarteum University in Salzburg. Curator and producer of the first edition of the secondaryarchive.org project. She currently lives and works in Warsaw.


Curator: Anna Ciabach

Exhibition production: Iga Maria Szczepańska
Technical assistance: Dawid Uszyński 
Sound: Maksymilian Uszyński
Acknowledgements: Pracownia Lepiej

This exhibition is produced by the Katarzyna Kozyra Foundation as part of the Przeciw(stawanie) project. The first edition of the project was created in cooperation with the Dzielna Foundation.


The implementation of the project is possible thanks to the support of FUNDACJA OPG, Foundation for Arts Initiatives, the FRIENDS program of the Katarzyna Kozyra Foundation and Katarzyna Kozyra.