„Modernization” by Mateusz Piestrak is a painting imitation of the reparation process realized at the Gate art zone Artspace in Düsseldorf.
The installation, which consists of paintings from the artist’s „OSB” series, fills five niches, which were created after walling up the casemates forming the margin of the boulevard on the Rhine river in Düsseldorf.
GATE art zone, a project curated by Angelika Fojtuch, uses niches in the wall as a space that creates an opportunity for artistic interventions and provokes social dialogue in the context of a place where artistic life, alternative and experimental forms of activity (once strongly present in the area of the old town near the Art Academy in Düsseldorf), due to economic reasons were removed from the city center, therefore also from the center of attention and experiences.
The illusory character of Piestrak’s „Modernization” constructed from painting objects in the city space is a reflection of the artist’s deliberations on the urban areas (non-places) deprived of its specificities, which are one of manifestations of existence in depersonalized supermodernity, as Marc Augé refers to the modern world.
Modernization, although usually identified with the idea of progress and introduction of changes leading to the increase in the utility value, is often reduced today only to building illusions associated with modernization. The artist’s experiment realized in Düsseldorf, based on the intentional placement of paintings not in the gallery, but in the open space, and then leaving them to the influence of external factors is a gesture asking whether the „nobody’s” places, which no community is emotionally bound to, can be considered as a common good – belonging to everyone.