The visitor in the title is the artist himself. Thanks to the possibilities offered by the contemporary art system and support for cultural transfer activities, Gilewicz pursued his interests by visiting many Asian countries: China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan. The situations presented in the film were possible owing to the comfortable situation of the stranger, supported with funding and artistic context, excluded from real dependencies and local social hierarchies. Gilewicz contemplates his own privileged position, external to the reality of the presented problems, almost drastically abusing the language of art, disregarding its ethical correctness.
My lack of knowledge of any Asian language means that I am a “stupid tourist” while traveling there. Being disconnected from that powerful tool of communication and thus having a limited general comprehension of what is really going on around me, I have to sharpen my other senses—sight, sound, taste, smell and even touch. It is often true that we only see what we understand, and while we may try to go beyond this, we are ultimately all visitors, intruders, Others.
Quote from a conversation between Wojciech Gilewicz and Hitomi Iwasaki,
New York City, Fall 2016
film, 12’58’’, English subtitles
In the film Museum we see a provincial art museum in Taiwan. It is a melancholic image that ruthlessly breaks the illusions about the perception of contemporary art. Its protagonists are volunteers who on a daily basis share their thoughts on art and exhibited works with the few people who come to visit. The comedy that emerges from the helplessness of their descriptions is directed at the shadow cast on the artwork by the institutional spectacle. In the absence of an interpretive effort on the part of the audience, it often replaces the contact with the work of art and the real shared experience born from it. When this is missing, all we can see is excess of matter, which will turn into a pile of rubbish during the next change of the exposition.