„Quatations from Joanna Hoffmann”
Text from the Catalogue „New Spaces of Art,
Installations of the 90-ies” Biala Gallery,
One can say that reality means „everything”.
Nobody has an access to it fully , nevertheless
everybody in some way is able to get nearer to a slightly different fragment of
it. But even the areas we can approach are rather small. Some things have to be
ignored or at least they must wait.
The rest is subjected to selection in order
to define the world in which we move about.
„Objects appear or become present in the area of my language by
themselves. I do not choose them but rather notice them and undertake decisions.”
The process of defining the shape and the symbolics of
one’s private world is especially visible in artistic decisions, mainly
because they do not enter relations with practical matters. Decisions serving
the everyday life are deprived of such
a clear authorship. Most of them are attributed to (account for) specified
functions or aims. In art, where something like a function or aim does not exist,
each choice has an individual
designation, a declaration of interest, weight, uncertainty, strength and many
„ the starting point is always to a some degree of a mess, due to a
chaos of information and experiences. Maybe repeating elements, creating a
narration of links (...) is a never-ending attempt of ordering, an effort
undertaken always from the beginning, again and again.”
All of us have to mark out an area of privacy, no
matter if this delimitation serves everyday life or art..
This act divides people into two different groups. The
first one is unaware that any choice has already taken place . Such people
function convinced that their life or art touches upon the whole world. With
such an assumption it is easier to believe in the rightness of one’s point of
view, in the truth of one’s knowledge.
Those who belong to the other group are conscious that
their existence embraces only a
fragment of the world and that it
ensues from particular choices. Thus all conclusions and reasons are loaded by
something especial, something that is inside us.
Such awareness brings criticism but also an interest in
„Much more important is the quality of experiencing and the relation
with that which is not myself.”
other points of view complement our
own observations, and treated as a selection from reality are incorporated into
our private areas.
„I think that we are stuck in and
contribute to a reality in which nothing is given, is all-ready existing.
Everything is being constructed.”
Many artists have such consciousness. But usually it is
kept aside their main subject matter, though it serves their methodology ,
increasing the prudence of creative decisions.
The awareness that we see only a small fragment ( which
itself may contain omitted places) that we „see” it through devices
parameters of which are different from those used by others, increases caution
in judging, in coming to conclusions, in falling into certainty.
In the case of Joanna Hoffmann, the consciousness of
representing an individually constructed world serves something more than an
outlook on life. It constitutes the main place her creativity pivots around.
The choice of such an area of creative concentration
implies a particular attitude and behaviour. Trying to describe this
attitude one should adopt some order, but to tell the truth no hierarchy or
sequence has raison d’etre here.
Nevertheless, one can start the description by
underlining modesty , which in a
natural way issues from the fact that we have only
limited fragments of the world in our disposal and to extend these
resources is difficult. But modesty
has also its limits. It manifests itself in not expressing assertions to become
obligatory outside. What is revealed
comes rather in the form of denouncements. Such modesty, when the threat of
somebody else’s intervention appears, can evolve into a kind of
obstinacy The strength against somebody else’s opinions and interference
arises from the conviction that within one’s private world one is the main
An attitude strongly concentrated on the private
structure of reality may also contain some disbelief in the possibility of
communication. If this disbelief assumes the character
of assumption it can have many artistic consequences. For example, the
rejection of finishing sentences and the elimination of
things of secondary importance
from the work which then underlines the „symbolic readiness” of
Arranged in such a way, objects of more or less the
same level of necessity acquire a
An object always has its meaning, its identity, though difficult to grasp
/to perceive/. Maybe entangled in so many notional or linguistic texts, existing
and constantly being created, it has
itself disappeared somewhere.
So what is the meaning of an object? It seems that the meaning of an
object lies in its concreteness.
In Joanna Hoffmann’s installations, these „heavy”
, concrete objects, in which one should search for full meanings, are integrated
by some „course”. The line of this course depends on the architecture of the
place where the situation happens. And this line decides that the obtained whole
is possible only in this place.
„Joining objects, either by a background or lines, comes perhaps from a
fear of loosing them within the space. Unlinked they are endangered by the state
of weightlessness, inertia, disappearance.
Maybe the majority of our vital energy
is used for this constant process of uniting, bounding together objects, people,
Such is the first impression. It results from a
conviction that things came first, and a linking line appeared afterwards. It
seems that these are objects which are connected, that after having been chosen
they got comprised by some line’s course. Thereby things are considered to be
of most importance. But there is a possibility that it was the other way round,
that first there was a line, some undisturbed course, some pure idea, for
example an idea of a book, and then objects occurred, and hung on this course,
forcing it to submit to the load, burden, weight,
or they made their way into
the middle of the idea, deforming its evidence
The assumption that the line was primary implies some
initial perfectness , something
simple and continuous that, due to events
we experience, was subjected to
tensions, weights and went out of its way.
This version gives less liberty to the choice of
objects . On the whole they are imposed by what happened previously. The act of
forming looses its freedom; as if „something” uses us to form itself. This
„something” is most often the past remembered in a particular way.
„Choice of elements is made by intuition. Maybe they open my instinct,
the instinct of reading the reality in which I live, work, grapple with. What is
being constructed is a particular situation - visualisation /demonstration,
confrontation of a process of thinking harnessed in the process of intuition.”
Objects which influence the course of the line or
intervene in the content of a book are dictated by intuition, past, events,
memory. Thus they cannot be freely chosen, they must derive from the inside of a
private world and refer to its borders. They have to describe this world and
interpret its principles. They are both the content and its translation.
„Inner spaces are open for co-creation, for a dialogue; being realises
itself in what is open by dialogue.”
In a situation where the appearing object has such a
wide and open function, it cannot represent or tell anything - it can only
signal. Best if it does not allow any verbalisation or description of the signal.
In this way we „derive” some meanings which
we do not name or define. Only when these meanings gain some constitution , can
we afford to increase the sharpness of comprehension.
We can compare this to the reception of a sentence.
Senses of words are „derived” but not deciphered. Only a jointly elaborated
meaning is getting opened.
This is the best way to approach
works composed of many elements; to search only for those meanings which
come out of the arrangement of particular things. For various reasons, it might
happen that we will not encounter such meaning, and then we will find ourselves
among autonomous objects which seems to have no reason to be so close to each
Objects constructing a new meaning can be very distant
from matters and passed events to
which they somehow refer. Best when the private past of the work cannot be
reached at all.
Objects created or arranged by Joanna Hoffmann keep
this distance. One can feel private references behind them but one cannot reach
them. Thanks to this, they allow for being filled with someone else’s privacy
and do not disappear in the attractiveness of biographic explanations.
One has to have a great sense of balance to keep
one’s private area unrevealed while observing it intensely and to signalise
constantly its existence through non - revealing,
This perpetual taming of life can arise from a
particular treatment of art.
Art is for me a form of being.
Art allows me to penetrate /to find my way/ into the matter of life
through a different door, the door
which, set ajar, offers the freedom of cognitive imagination.
marked in the text were chosen by me from the conversation with Joanna Hoffmann.