Usługa języka migowego

Kuba Bąkowski, The Ice Core of a Pingo Hill

September 25, 2021

Opening: Saturday, September 25, 12 – 8 pm
Exhibition runs 25.09.-5.11.2021

Curated by Katarzyna Krysiak


‘Pingo’ is the name given to a dome-shaped hill which emerges in a permafrost environment and has an absolute height of seventy metres. Pingos are often found in the completely flat landscapes of the Arctic tundra. Their existence is connected with a series of natural phenomena, where the pressure of freezing groundwater forces a layer of frozen soil upwards. A pingo may look like an ordinary hill, but the truth is that contains a core which can fill a large part of its interior and which consists of a massive quantity of pure ice. It is thus a hill constructed of water covered in a thin layer of soil. In the face of the global changes we have been observing in recent years, this type of formation is, of course, threatened with extinction.

However, the focus of Kuba Bąkowski’s exhibition at the Foksal Gallery is not phenomena and the threats that go hand in hand with climate change, but the states of delicate balance which appear in places of apparent conflict. The photographic objects collected together at the gallery are rooted in images brought from far-flung spots like a glacier on Spitsbergen and a rain forest in western Canada or sought out in the archives of natural history museums and other resource networks. Processed and juxtaposed in hybrid combinations, they are intended to build a narrative about the phenomena which make reality so complex. At the same time, the project alludes to a vision of a hypothetical world grounded in balance, where technological civilisation and nature ‘grow’ together, mutually, creating a functional and completely hybrid connection. With time, an organic permeation of technological culture and nature would have to create new social and political phenomena and a new kind of metaphysics. The Ice Core of a Pingo Hill is like a paraphrase the title of Michel Houellebecq’s novel The Possibility of an Island; it speaks of a hypothetical ‘possibility of a hybrid’, the phenomenon of a new type of symbiosis which unites the organic world and the technosphere in an unexpected way.


Kuba Bąkowski graduated from the Department of Multimedia Communication at the University of the Arts in Poznań in 2001. His artistic practice combines questions from various fields of science, technology, anthropology natural history and art, which is reflected in his experimental work with photography, sculpture and multimedia. He creates installations and programmes kinetic objects and he collaborates with scientists, engineers and construction designers. In his projects, contemporary reality is a place where the borders between biological beings and mechanical creatures evanesce and where our perception is shaped in collision with phenomena permeating and coexisting in outwardly opposing orders.

Bąkowski has created individual projects and works for group exhibitions which have been shown in numerous prestigious galleries in Poland, with the Zachęta National Gallery of Art, the Foksal Gallery and the Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art, all in Warsaw, Wrocław Contemporary Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Krakow numbering amongst them. Internationally, the institutions which have shown his work include Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig in Vienna, Musée d’art moderne et contemporain in Saint-Étienne, Artspace Sydney, the National Centre for Contemporary Arts in Moscow, Palazzo delle Arti Napoli, the Chelsea Art Museum in New York and the Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh. He has received scholarships and grants from the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, the National Centre for Culture, the Capital City of Warsaw, the Trust for Mutual Understanding, Creative Scotland and Canada Council for the Arts.