Defense Mechanism, Christian Jankowski for Quote-Unquote, Geothe Institut Bucharest
May 05 – May 13 2021
“The encounter between the military apparatus and the psychotherapeutic room generates the discursive correspondent of a tensioned elastic band that seeks to find resolution. If one reduces these two domains to two divergent theoretical positions, the first suppresses individuality against a collective identity defined by the same purpose, while the latter celebrates individuality and its possible inherent contradictions. Both of them have their own defense mechanisms when facing those that would question their practices. And yet, the two realms are profoundly cross-contaminated: the everyday rituals represent a day to day standardization inspired by the military instrument. The social values “closely associated with the military identity, such as loyalty, honour, conformism and subjugation, are privileged and framed as being desirable for citizens and as panacea for certain social issues”, claims anthropologist Catherine Lutz. Outside the therapy room, the emotion submits itself to the disciplinary rhetoric with the attempt of integrating itself in the public sphere.
Jankowski suggests a format through which the defense mechanisms of the two fields intertwine, a video work resulting from the dialogue between the clinical psychologist Alexandru Bătinaș and five Romanian soldiers. Through language, networks of associations and symbolic interaction, they analyze the context in which they find themselves, the implications of their professions and personal considerations regarding contemporary art in the social landscape. In parallel, a series of photographs of dioramas from the Military Museum in Bucharest are paired with texts that highlight different types of defense mechanisms, as assembled by popular health websites.
Through collaboration and dialogue as artistic practices, Defense Mechanism assesses our inner and outer worlds, aiming at extending new perspectives and images.” (Quote-Unquote Press Release)
Healing Games, Christian Jankowski for Quote-Unquote x Suprainfinit, Bucharest
Talk therapy informs and infuses more and more discourses outside therapists’ offices. From personal development coaching to social media and entertainment or political analysis, therapeutic speech enters the scene as a linguistic agent and decodes choices, habits or individual biases, online and offline. It makes unconscious choices familiar and explainable through patterns of talk, action and thought. It dismantles automatisms by highlighting the shadows in which shame, joy, guilt or desire hide for every individual.
Healing Games is the solo exhibition of artist Christian Jankowski, whose practice touches on dialogue at both a personal and a collective level, through a newly commissioned work, Family Constellation, and through previous works that echo concerns from related fields.
Sender and Receiver, Fluentum, Berlin
For the exhibition Sender and Receiver, Christian Jankowski takes what is probably the most famous duo in classical communication theory to reflect on forms of transmission processes: the sender and receiver. Developed in the late 1940s as a simple mathematical model for optimizing signaling in the telecommunications sector, it quickly became an absolute allegory for the exchange of information between two channels. This abstract model, in which meanings and contents are ignored without comment, immediately draws attention to a previously unnoticed component: the transmission channel through which the message to be transmitted is routed. It is precisely this fragile threshold moment during a transfer that decides whether communication is successful or not.
Christian Jankowski for Bangkok Art Biennale 2020