Marcin Dudek (b. 1979, Kraków, PL) weaves together autobiographical memories of his youth as part of the Polish generation that came of age after the dissolution of the Eastern bloc with a critique of society’s dependence on spectacle, power, and aggression. Working across installation, performance, sculpture, and painting, he uses found and salvaged materials, slicing and welding them together in an anti-readymade approach. For his first solo show in the German-speaking world, the artist has conceived new large-scale installations, presented alongside existing and reconfigured works. His exhibition at IKOB centers around spaces in which profound transformations—of the body, of the mind, of society—take place. In each of these locations, survival and community become inextricable from one another.

Responding to IKOB’s architecture, “Akumulatory” takes viewers on a journey through different chapters and sites of the artist’s past. The show thereby continues Dudek’s series of “memory boxes”: scale replicas of rooms that speak to a particular identity or experience, often located on the fringes of society. The “memory boxes” combine original elements of a space with assemblages and images that convey the underlying narratives housed there. For each of these works, Dudek builds an architectural skeleton that is permeable and irrational, turning reality inside out. The title of the exhibition, “Akumulatory” (Polish for batteries), refers to this amalgamation of memory and material, and to a transfer of a loaded energy from the artist to the audience.

In this exhibition, Marcin Dudek shows us the spaces that have transformed him and his generation. He invites the audience to join his reckoning with a troubled history, speaking to the universal human experience of wanting to belong, of searching for environments in which we can fashion our own selves and become somebody new. In his remarkable practice, we come to recognize the failure of supposedly contained entities that are meant to protect us: human bodies, institutions, nation–states. Dudek peels open the envelope of mass society and what emerges are not the clean, abstract lines of consumerism but waste, plastic, and toxins.