The structures and aesthetics of power embedded in political ideologies form the core of Zuzanna Czebatul’s work, which examines power relations through artefacts and decor. As a sculptor, Czebatul concentrates on the visual seductiveness of contemporary and archaic objects and architectural elements, as well as the language of interior and graphic design. Using comparative methodology, the artist reveals the kinships and conflicts between them.
The many facets of a staggering capitalism come together in her installation Higher Than The Sun, an endlessly reproducible and easily transmutable carpet piece that covers the entire entranceway of this year’s Art Cologne.
Words like MEGA CASH SPEED JIZZ HYPE FROG run the length of the work. Casino carpets, which are infamous for their brash and hypnotic designs that keep gamblers awake and spending, are the inspiration for this potent work. Disorienting and enticing the viewer to gaze down past their feet and away from themselves, Czebatul disallows the boundaries of the room to escape our consideration, which operate like a frame for the piece. Somewhere between militant camouflage, a coat of arms, and a Ming Dynasty vase, Czebatul's psychedelic collage is a constellation of symbols: cartoon hands wobble and grasp for balance, a tongue catches a hit of happy faced acid tab, a mushroom chastises another, and tongues and snakes intertwine. And it seems to propel onwards, like a surrealistic and unstoppable machine. On a suspended ribbon reads another word: NOW; Higher Than The Sun is both a fragmented poem and an imperative, an instruction suspended and still on a factory-produced carpet.
With this installation, Czebatul asks us to question our own position in the power structure, the coercion, and the contradictions implicit in the art market. Are we complicit? Higher Than The Sun could be seen as a gateway into a dystopian and radical place, which despite its lavishness and humor delivers an insistent warning.