Artist’s Talk and In-Conversation: Sława Harasymowicz
Freud Museum London
20 Maresfield Gardens
4 December 2016
Artist Sława Harasymowicz will present an audio recording of specially commissioned performance as part of her year-long project – a wide-ranging research into the complex relationships between post-memory, political representation and autobiography. The event will revolve around personal and collective consequences of what remains one of the biggest yet obscured WWII maritime disasters, during which the British RAF torpedoed three German ships, anchored in Lübeck Bay. Unknown to the pilots, the ships were populated by thousands of primarily Polish and Russian prisoners evacuated from Neuengamme concentration camp.
In June 2016, Harasymowicz created a non-public live performance in Freud’s former study at 20 Maresfield Gardens. The out-of-hours event took the form of a radio broadcast, dramatising and re-imagining real activity that took place in a German concentration camp towards the end of the WWII. During the nights, a group of prisoners would engage in clandestine and prohibited collaboration to create fictitious ‘radio programmes’ using the structure of real broadcasts – including news bulletins, weather forecasts, sport commentary and reportage – as a way of blocking out the surrounding reality of war, incarceration, displacement and the terror of the unknown. Referencing the Museum as a psychoanalytical-historical space, Harasymowicz’s performance produced an aural collage of performed testimonials, fiction, poetry, scientific research, experimental writing and sound distortions.
Presenting the radio broadcast for the first time publicly in the Freud Museum, and using visual materials, the artist will give a performative talk followed by an in conversation with Dr Caterina Albano which fill focus on Harasymowicz’s art practice and methodology, working through the awkward points of intersection between collective history and trauma, and personal identity.
The talk accompanies the artist’s solo exhibition The Spring to Come at the Poetry Library, Southbank Centre, until 10 January 2017.
Sława Harasymowicz is a visual artist and a PhD candidate at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London. Her work in progress includes a research-based project in collaboration with BWA Gallery in Tarnów, Poland (2017), supported by the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. Recent exhibitions include Layered Narratives: Collage/Photomontage/Print, l’etrangere, London (2016), Radio On, narrative projects, London, supported by the Arts Council England; H.N.5 515, Centrala, Birmingham (2015), Ersatz, Ethnographic Museum, Kraków (2014), and Wolf Man, Freud Museum, London (2012), following the publication of a graphic novel Wolf Man (Self Made Hero, 2012). Her publishing collaborations have included Penguin Books, The Guardian, Le Gun and Modern Poetry in Translation. Her work is held in the V&A Museum’s Permanent Prints and Drawings Collection, National Museum in Poznań, and other collections internationally.
Caterina Albano is a Reader in Visual Culture at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London and holds a PhD in Renaissance Studies (London University). Albano curates, lectures and publishes in the fields of art, cultural history and cultural theory, in particular emotion and affect, memory and consciousness. She is the author of Memory, Forgetting and the Moving Image (Palgrave MacMillan, 2016) and Fear and Art in the Contemporary World (Reaktion Books, 2012), of journal articles and essays on the history of emotion, anatomy, on memory and contemporary art, and curating. Albano convened the international symposium Anxious Places: Angst, Environments and Affective Contamination (CSM, University of the Arts London, 2014) and other events part of UAL collaboration to the Anxiety Arts Festival London.