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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » March 5, 2008
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Frenchman in Warsaw
March 5, 2008   
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Mysterious Thread of Red, an exhibition by Cyril Barrand, is now showing at the Simonis Gallery and the French Institute in Warsaw.

Barrand, a contemporary French artist who sought to understand Poland and its people during the years he lived here, examines the Polish identity as both an outsider and a "local". Barrand is a little reserved and ironic but his attachment to the country is evident. Videos, photographs, collages and sewing patterns are all pressed into service. The red thread that gives the exhibition its title refers to Poland's ever-changing borders over the centuries. Traditional techniques seldom seen nowadays, like gold leaf decoration and embroidery, have been deployed. Objects and events are juxtaposed in unusual ways and, by toying with what they normally stand for, Barrand puts his personal stamp on them in the form of commentary or allusion. The image of Poland taught to Barrand is woven into the one he has discovered for himself.

Barrand incorporates historical events and places, legends, traditions and everyday life. He portrays the period during which Poland had to struggle to exist, a Poland looking back longingly at the past, and a modern Poland that has assumed its rightful place in Europe and the world.

The exhibition has two parts. The part on display at the Simonis Gallery, features works on paper, canvas and wooden boards. The part being shown at the French Institute consists of the video projects Voyailleurs and Meduse. Meduse likens Poland to a jellyfish that continually shrinks and expands. The opening images show the constantly changing Poland as an amorphous, protean creature.

Barrand was born in Belfort in 1967 and graduated from Strasbourg's Ecole Superieure des Arts Decoratifs in 1992. He lives and works in France and Scotland.

Cyril Barrand-Mysterious Thread of Red, Simonis Gallery, 9 Burakowska St., 01-066 Warsaw, tel. 0 22 637 36 10, 0 515 13 37 86

Open Wed.-Fri. 2 p.m.-7 p.m., Sat. 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
French Institute, 38 Senatorska St., tel. 0 22 505 98 00
The exhibition is open through March 29
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