May You Live in Interesting Times

September 20, 2013 - November 30 2013

The purported translation of an ancient Chinese curse, the phrase indicates that interesting times are the most perilous from the individual's perspective. The exhibition features Wiktor Dyndo's recent paintings and drawings commenting on aspects of the current political and economic reality. He explores the issues of growing Chinese domination, media manipulation, aesthetization of war, economic crisis and social change.

The artist comments: "Photographic reportages or films from war zones are composed of beautiful frames which make smoke and explosions look very picturesque. One of my inspirations was Werner Herzog's documentary film Lessons of Darkness (1992) which explores the ravages oil fields of Kuwait in the aftermath of the first Gulf War: burning installations, pools of oil spreading across the desert. A fascinating, refined aesthetics, beauty and drama in one. Illustrated magazines, printed and on-line, often feature jewellery or perfume  ads next to reportages from war zones. The same goes on TV news where dramatic reports are often interrupted with commercials."

In his earlier works, the artist focused on the Middle East and issues of terrorism, islamophobia and consequences of 9-11. He would set off cultural and religious symbols against the desert landscape. His painting with the two World Trade Centre towers featured on the cover of Judith Butler's Frames of War: When Is Life Grievable? The American philosopher addresses the issue of censorship quoting examples of the government attempting to control materials published by the press during the war in Iraq in 2003.

Dyndo declares: "In my new paintings, I approach reality from a much broader perspective. I think it is important to refer to the reality created by the media. To me, press, television, the Internet are an inexhaustible source of inspiration."

The May You Live in Interesting Times exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue reproducing a broader selection of Dyndo's paintings in addition to those featured at the exhibition. Published by the aTak Gallery, it contains essays by Agnieszka Sural, the exhibition's curator, and art critic Stach Szabłowski.


Wikor Dyndo born 1983 (Warsaw), MFA Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. Before his debut in Poland at the Fisheye Young Art Biennale in Słupsk (2008), he had already had individual exhibitions in Cairo (2005) and Teheran (2007). In 2009, he won the 1st Prize at the Picture in the Public Space International Painting Competition organized by the Union of Polish Artists and Designers and Zamek Centre for Culture in Poznań. Select group exhibitions: Zamek Ujazdowski Centre for Contemporary Art (Warsaw), Witryna Gallery (Warsaw and Madrid), BKS Garage (Copenhagen), BWA Gallery (Bielsko Biała), Klima Bocheńska Gallery (Warsaw). His works are in private collections in Poland and abroad (Switzerland, UK, France, Iran, Egypt, USA).


Curator of exhibition:
Agnieszka Sural


Media patronage:



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