Gina Czarnecki Retrospective – The Bluecoat, Liverpool.

Though the retrospective of Gina Czarnecki’s work at The Bluecoat finished recently after a successful stint in the gallery space of the Metropolis like building for the arts, the work has the effect on the viewer of simply refusing to leave, so it demands a write up.  Mixing many different medias and visual ideas, the exhibition looked through a clinical lens at biological issues that confront the society of today.  The video installations on show in particular took a disturbing look at the spreading of mankind across the world by likening the multiplying of people to bacteria growing and swarming until the mixtures of flesh and movement became a singular mass. The video works, though featuring predominantly images of the naked human form, were devoid of any eroticism which was instead replaced with an almost cunning repellence for the potential of future population explosions.  One video in particular verged on contemporary dance,  yet its cold and clinical feel meant that the movements took on a disturbing identity rather than a visually pleasing aesthetic.  This is of course a credit to Czarnecki whose work is extremely original and highly individual. The immersive nature of the work meant that escape seemed impossible in the interesting and overwhelming visual experience that was the Contagion installation.  The viewer was treated like a germ in a room lit by Ultraviolet light while a supposed sensor tracked them down as it prepared to sterilise the poor victim.  Being treated in this way meant believing the fiction was extremely easy and this only added further to the building tension of the moving sensor. The stairs that led to Contagion were lined with plaster casts of teeth and jaws adding further to the highly clinical nature of the exhibition and almost defining what type of bacteria the viewers were meant to be.  The theme of teeth continued in Czanecki’s sculptures that at first seemed normal but on closer inspection were dark, verging on the disgusting.  Whether it was the chair cushions filled with body lipid or the Palaces from the Wasted sculpture containing real milk teeth, the room had a shock value and worked well as the twisted finale for an extremely morbid but at the same time interesting exhibition. Though The Gina Czarnecki retrospective has now finished, her work will have no doubt left an indelible mark on the viewers of Liverpool who saw it and her next exhibition in Liverpool, whether at The Bluecoat or elsewhere, should be especially anticipated. Image from Adam Scovell

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