Message from Charlotte

Yan Tomaszewski’s exhibition Message from Charlotte imagines a fictitious situation in the future. An apocalyptic landscape reveals a relic from the past: a time capsule from the Silesian town of Rydułtowy.

Bytom, Poland
19:00 05 December - 23 January 2016
Curator Stanisław Ruksza

The brass capsule, which forms the core of the exhibition, bears reference to the aesthetics of the Pioneer Plaque – plaques with engraved messages for the future generations or for other civilisations, sent out into cosmic space.

The starting point of the artist’s project was a real situation from the town of Rydułtowy, where several years ago a container with objects and documents from that time was buried in the ground for two decades. The eponymous Charlotte is the name of the mine in Rydułtowy (active after 1945 under the name Rydułtowy – Anna), but also the local spoil tip, the highest in Europe, which was personified as a protagonist of the regional promotion strategy.

For Yan Tomaszewski, the history of that place, which is undergoing constant transformation and seeking a new identity, became a case study of developing communication in the jargon of tourist industries and overblown ambitions to immortalise time and place.

Making use of real promotional materials and Western iconography, for instance the Romantic motif of the mountains, but also pop-cultural references to Hollywood, the artist created a universalising artificial visual language that creates the identity of the place. At the same time, he deliberately took its logic to the limits.

More / credits

Yan Tomaszewski

Franco-Polish artist born in 1984

Stanisław Ruksza

Curator, art historian, author, book editor, lecturer.