“WASCHKAUE : DIVIDING LINE” by Dorota Walentynowicz and Karolina Majewska-Güde
“WASCHKAUE : DIVIDING LINE”
Dorota Walentynowicz / Karolina Majewska-Güde
opening : saturday 29th September, 17h
with a performance “Saturday is laundry day”
Finissage: 12th October, 19h [within the independent Space Index https://www.
exhibition: 30th September – October 12th
The research project “Waschkaue – dividing line” takes as a starting point the history of one of the buildings in the most industrialized region of Germany: Schacht 1/2/8 belonging to the Zeche Zollverein in Essen in the Ruhr area. Currently it is the choreography center of North Rhine Westphalia. The project relates the histories of the Waschkaue with the archives of performance art. The title is a reference to the “The Dividing Line” performative action of Tadeusz Kantor’s (1965) in which, among other elements, Kantor orchestrated covering female bodies with coal.
At the time when the Zeche Zollverein operated (1851-1993), the building housed the so-called Waschkaue. Here, the miners changed their clothes and washed their bodies after work. 25 years ago the plant stopped operating, but soap dishes are still hanging on the walls in the corridor. Today it is a place dedicated to the performance. In fact, it has always been: It used to be the backstage of the mine, where the workers changed their clothes and put on uniforms; it was the only place within the complex filled with human voices. Talking was forbidden underground and it was anyhow impossible: the noise was produced exclusively by machines. It was a modern colliery after all. After a rebuilding between 1928 and 1932 it has become a palace of modernity, a model example of industrial architecture – sufficient and beautiful.
The history of technology is not only the history of imagination and clever investments. The history of technology implies a hidden history of the bodily effort. In the mine, the bodies of men became machines, at home women’s bodies performed invisible works.
– In 1851, coal mining began in Zeche Zollverein. It was at that time the most advanced mine in Europe. Coal production was intended to supply steel production plants of Krupp AG, a German metal and weapon industry potentate (the so-called “Kanonenkönig”).
– In 1851, Alfred Krupp patented a new construction of iron wheels, which allowed his company to start manufacturing railways for the United States and significantly increased his revenues.
– In 1851, American James King patented the first drum washing machine – although the drum made King’s machine resemble a modern machine, it was still powered manually.
At Mz* Baltazar’s Lab! Dorota Walentynowicz and Karolina Majewska-Güde will present some manifestations of their collective thinking through these histories – in form of images, objects and performative gestures.
invited by sophie thun
About the artists:
Karolina Majewska-Güde (PL) is an independent researcher, writer and curator. She graduated with a degree in Art History from Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań and in Visual Histories from Goldsmith College in London. She is currently a doctoral candidate at the Institute of Art and Visual History at Humboldt University completing a dissertation on Ewa Partum’s artistic practice. Her research focuses on neo-avant-garde artistic strategies and transnational art history. She has published in numerous art periodicals and exhibition catalogues. She lives and works in Berlin.
Dorota Walentynowicz (PL) is a visual artist, graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznań and the Royal Academy of Arts in The Hague. The area of her artistic and theoretical interests concerns the intersection of photography, installation and performance. Her work is characterised by the continuous process of dialectic feedback between technology and nature, theory and practice, logic and intuitive cognition. Her individual exhibitions have been held i.a. at State Gallery of Art (Sopot, PL), Austrian Culture Forum (Warsaw), Museum Folkwang (Essen, DE), Galerie Stadpark (Krems), Łaźnia Center for Contemporary Art (Gdańsk, PL), Stroom Foundation (The Hague, NL). She lives and works in Gdansk and Heraklion.
Dorota Walentynowicz and Karolina Majewska-Güde work together in a collective 'pisze/mowi/robi' (http://piszemowirobi.tumblr.com). They have also jointly curated a series of exhibitions titled “Techiniques of Release”at the PF Photography Gallery in Poznan, PL in 2015. The presented project is an outcome of their research residency at the PACT Zollverein in Essen in 2017.