This exhibition finds Michał Martychowiec deconstructing cultural symbols and archetypes in his trademark fashion, turning them into topical commentary on the subject of art and the human condition in general.
The artist has chosen the panda as the exhibition’s core symbol. It operates at several levels and in different realms: politics, culture, and ecology, and serves as an idol of sorts. One can interpret the panda as a degenerate being (“We want to keep the good times, even though they’re gone” — Robert Lifton) or a symbol of modern man (José Ortega y Gasset’s el señorito satisfecho). The other central figure, one who serves as a symbol of the modern artist, is Marcel Duchamp, who appears in two key pieces displayed at the exhibition: a garbage can that emits the artist’s voice, and a neon sign that reads Has Marcel Duchamp changed the world?.
This project demonstrates that, despite the extraordinary efforts undertaken since Modernism to change the world, modern art continues to rehash a tired repertoire of ultimately empty ideas. The sound of Duchamp’s words drifts aimlessly out of the panda abyss. The only thing art has left is the concept (poetry) and symbols. In other words, mythology.