June 24, 2016 by: Natalie Fleming
BT&C Gallery presents Unknown Knowns, an exhibition of new works by UB Department of Art Alum Gary Sczerbaniewicz. The exhibition opens Friday, June 24th with a public reception 6-9 pm and will run through July 30th, 2016. BT&C has open gallery hours during exhibitions Fridays and Saturdays, 12-5pm, or anytime by appointment (716-604-6183 or firstname.lastname@example.org).
Donald Rumsfeld (U.S. Secretary of Defense-George W. Bush Admin.), Department of Defense news briefing 2/12/02:
Known Knowns – Things that we know that we know.
Known Unknowns – Things that we know that we don’t know.
Unknown Unknowns- Things that we don’t know that we don’t know.
Slavoj Zizek (re-D. Rumsfeld):
Unknown Knowns – Things that we don’t know that we know. ‘ things that we know, that are part of our identity-but we don’t know that we know them…..that determine our behavior…’ ‘What you don’t know that you know controls You – but you don’t control It.’
Sczerbaniewicz’s most recent work aims to translate the concept of cognitive dissonance through a sculptural, architectural lens. Included in Unknown Knowns is a body of work that depicts scenes of what Sczerbaniewicz describes as a “fossilized agency—an agency that in its current and diminished state acts as absurd mockery of its once proud and functional past.”
Sczerbaniewicz’s practice involves an insatiable fascination with interior and often, uncanny architectural spaces. Sczerbaniewicz is interested in spaces that “evoke a sense of psychological unease.” He further explains,
“I am drawn to create works in which some unknown, sudden event has rendered a space inert, transforming it from its original intended function into some form of hybrid and liminal zone. In many of the works included in this exhibition, it is evident that some violent upheaval has occurred, revealing a latent and Otherly substance which is incompatible and in conflict with its host body.”
Drawing upon these marginal spatial subjects, Sczerbaniewicz constructs intricate sculptures, which he refers to as “psycho-geographical vignettes.” While his recent focus has been smaller, wall hung sculpture (of which several will be included in Unknown Knowns), all of Sczerbaniewicz’s work references back to his large-scale immersive installations. The artist explains:
“My compulsion toward an aesthetics of anxiety leads me to fabricate confined space environments which include scale shifts using architectural models seamlessly blended into full-sized structures into which the viewer is invited to physically enter and explore.”
Sczerbaniewicz’s immersive installations employ meticulous theatrical or filmic stagecraft and advocate for direct, physical, viewer engagement. Through this level of immersion, Sczerbaniewicz seeks to disorient the viewer in an attempt to subvert the staid and often detached approach to experiencing art. He insists that it is only in this hermetic space where authentic communication between artist and viewer occurs. Unknown Knowns will include the latest in Sczerbaniewicz’s series of interactive sculpture. Titled Tunguska Minor, this experiential sculpture is a direct outgrowth of several earlier works by Sczerbaniewicz and employs a common domestic staircase towards the artist’s strategy of disorientation. The result is a strange and surreal physical experience.