Soft Protection: The Great Britain and Northern Ireland Version
7 April – 28 May 1995
Soft Protection is the general title of a series of most recent works by Jaroslaw Kozlowski. He has already realised four different versions of the work, placed in and dedicated to four different social, cultural and political contexts:
Soft Protection : Danish Version (Charlottenborg, Copenhagen, February 1994),
Soft Protection : Swiss Version (Suti Galerie, Bern, April 1994),
Soft Protection : Museum Version (’Europa, Europa’, Kunsthalle Bonn, May 1994) and
Soft Protection : Polish Version (Museum Sztuki/Museum of Modern Art, Lodz, October 94).
Soft Protection : The Great Britain and Northern Ireland Version made for Matt’s Gallery in London for April 1995 is the next and the final manifestation of the idea. As Kozlowski says:
The work consists of elements which are common to all the versions of Soft Protection :
1. Furniture : used furniture of various kinds and conditions (tables, chairs, beds, wardrobes, chests, carpets etc), collected in second hand shops. They all keep their own ‘history’ and their own ‘memory’, related to their function, to the places they come from and to the people they have been used by. All of them are cut in half with a saw, which in itself is an aggressive and cruel act of violence. Next, they are collected carefully together again and glued, but in a different way and different order. As a result they almost fit each other, but not exactly. They almost look the same as before, but they are not the same any more. They almost seem to be functional, but they are not useful in any way. As a matter of fact, because of the change in their status they have become totally useless. They have a new identity, they ‘exist’ for themselves and gain a kind of dignity and pride.
2. Dressing : All the visible ‘open’ cuts of the reconstructed furniture are dressed with white bandages. The dressing fulfils at least a double function. First, it protects the ‘painful’ wounds of the furniture. Second, it protects the viewer’s ‘sensibility’ against the drastic and unpleasant view of open wounds (’soft protection’).
3. Newspapers: different daily newspapers from the country where the work is made. They contain various sets of information (politics, social life, culture, economy, sport etc.), good and bad news, almost the ‘reality of today’, but they are not real, just words and images carefully prepared for easy and safe consumption. Where the gallery in which the work is made has windows, they are all partially covered with newspapers - to protect from the view of outdoor reality.
4. Room : by the special arrangement of standard objects (furniture) the gallery interior is usually changed into a space which is recognisable to everyone, a space one can identify (for example, a ‘living-room’ or a ‘bed-room’), feel familiar with and be comfortable in.
The piece constructed for Matt’s Gallery will differ from the previous four versions. Instead of creating a ‘living space’, this time Kozlowski will erect a structure within the four steel columns of the gallery. This amassing and stacking of the sawn-in-half furniture could be seen as a castle or barricade.
For Soft Protection : The Great Britain and Northern Ireland Version all the furniture was collected in London. The newspapers, however, were collected both in London and Derry.
Further exhibitions at Matt’s Gallery
20 – 24 January 1999
14 February – 4 March 1990
10 February 1986
23 – 28 November 1982
Caledonian Road Series
11 – 17 February 1980