The challenges of Games – from the reality and back

August 13, 2012 in Residences 2012, Rozmowa, Veronika Tzekova

Friday, 17 August 2012, 6.00 PM, admission free
Venue: Poznan Archaeological Museum, Wodna 27, Poznan, the Audiovisual Room

MPRA invites everyone interested to a meeting with Agnieszka Stempin, the curator of an exhibition in Poznan Archeological Museum entitled „The challenges of Games – from the reality and backˮ and Veronika Tzekova, a Bulgarian artist and MPRA resident.

Veronika Tzekova, Space Appropriator #4 / PARK&PLAY #3 Chess, 2012/ © Veronika Tzekova

During the meeting, the curator and the artist will talk with an art historian about topics varying from games as a representation and simulation of reality, historical constraints on games and their practical functions, to contemporary socially conscious games, which may be regarded as works of art. The hosts will also tackle the issue of the game’s „geometry”, the clichés and rules which appear in traditional games and which Veronika Tzekova modifies in her artistic interventions in space.

Inowłodzie – castle XV-XVI century, the collection of the Museum of Archaeology and Ethnography in Lodz, the exposure of the exhibition „Magic games – the art competition”

Games have been present in human life for centuries. It’s impossible to pinpoint their exact place or time of origin. Their forms, however, are surprisingly similar to one another. They have been a part of religious rites and ceremonies. They were treated with the utmost gravity, yet at the same time they evoked a variety of emotions. Casting lots announced the divine plans, a ball’s trajectory mirrored the course of the Sun, a win at tabula served as a proof of the winner’s loyalty to the authorities. Depending on the community in question, games have been greatly valued or thoroughly condemned, but never dismissed as irrelevant.
The main aim of
„The challenges of Games – from the reality and back”, an exhibition created by Poznan Archaeological Museum, is to present the concepts involved in the game-making process and the changing attitudes to various forms of competition.
The gaming accessories displayed at the exhibition are mostly historical artefacts excavated in Poland during archaeological works. The oldest of them date back to the Roman times.

(Agnieszka Stempin, curator of „The Magic of Games –the Art of Competition”)

Chess Sandomierz, XII century, collections of the Regional Museum in Sandomierz, the exposure of the exhibition „Magic games – the art competition”

Veronika Tzekova’s work is inspired by urban environment and the changes it has been facing due to rapid social and economic developments. Most of her recent projects were carried out in urban areas, using elements of numerous games and plays. These include „The Urban Olympics 2011” (Sofia, Bulgaria), or the „Challenged Games” series (shown at the „Include the City” festival in Burgas, Bulgaria, „Centrum Gallery” in Graz, Austria, and during the „Sofia Design Week 2012”.

Her current Poznan project, carried out as a part of the International Artists in Residence Programme, is a follow-up of the series. „Challenged Games”, created in cooperation with Mediations Biennale, Concordia Design, Poznan sports clubs and the city residents, is an artistic intervention exploring the topic of games and play, in particular the relationship between their existing rules and the „liquid modernity”, the ever-changing society.

Veronika Tzekova, Displacement #2, 2012/ © Veronika Tzekova

„Challenged Games” are a part of an art games movement, whose best-known examples include the works of the Fluxus group, especially Georg Maciunas („Flux Ping Pong”, „Flux Multicycle”), and Takako Saito’s „Spice Chess” or Yoko Ono’s „White Chess”, which belong to the „Fluxchess” series. Other works which provide a context for Tzekova’s output are „Open Score” by Robert Rauschenberg and the works of such contemporary artists as Uri Tzaig („Universal Square”, „Trance”).

For Tzekova – just like for the artists mentioned above –games exist not only for children to play and explore the world, but as a medium to reveal the forces acting in real world, offering us a chance to express – or even change – our attitude towards these forces. Therefore, many of her projects exhibit the need to transform the basic function of the game so that it reflects situations from the players’ and spectators’ everyday lives. From this point of view, „Challenged Games” are a search for a new meaning the games, with the aim to create alternative models of thinking about our environment. Apart from encouraging public space activities and exploring games as a tool for discussing social issues, the project attempts to blur the border between the passive and the active recipient of art – the viewer and the participant.