21.08 –  20.09.2014
Billion and One / Kijewski / Kocur

Billion and One was an installation by the artistic duet Kijewski&Kocur composed of a hypnotizing crowd of figurines - a multiplied portrait of kneeling Mao Tse-tung, the ruler of billion souls. In 2000, Malgorzata Malinowska produced a prototype of the sculptural mod- ule and since then she considers the project as being still in progress. The exhibition at Propaganda Gallery was the biggest presentation of this work till 2014.

The multitude, massive uncountability, giant scale - thanks to this extent Kijewski&Kocur’s artwork reaches utter significance. Equalisation and openness for this infinite perspective break the measurable element named one - indicated in the title and still remaining a condition structuring the exposition, which artists clearly verbalized:

„Billion and One”. Therefore, it was impossible to expose like 3 figurines on the exhibition, but 10 plus 1, 100 plus 1, 1000 plus 1."

[Marek Kijewski in an interview with Marek Goździewski and Joanna Rentowska]

Kijewski&Kocur’s artwork is quite oxymoronic; the collision of something tangible with unspecified creates an image of a society of a kind, a vision of the world’s construction. This view of multiplicated Chinese leader immediately suggests an association with Terracotta Army, or Antony Gormley’s sculptural composition titled Field (presented in Warsaw’s Centre for Contemporary Art in 1994), which fascinated Marek Kijewski. In turn, the Mao’s figurine depicting him in a restrained, prayerful pose evokes the effigy of another despot - apologetic Hitler by Maurizio Cattelan (2001). Through this affinity of a religious gesture, rooted in the Western beliefs, but submitted to the hands of a totalitarian Eastern leader, two visions of the world intersect.