The Oder / The Bodies of Rivers

20.12.2012 – 27.01.2013
The Contemporary Art Gallery, Opole, PL
Curated by: Agnieszka Dela-Kropiowska.
Technique: Hydro - sculpture (hydro data + water jet), acrylic glass.
Dimensions: 2000 x 2500 x 5 mm

Project description

Our bodies consist of 70% water. Water also covers 70% of our Earth. Is there a border between the human body and what is there outside it? What kind of shape does our body take in the process of exchanges, which it is constantly undergoing? Does the shape of a river have something in common with our bodies?

PLACE. ’’I have no idea when this moment happens – when a river is recognised as one’s own. It may be completed on the same principle as birds consider first moving shape as parents, which so touchingly is described by ethologists. It might be the same case of adult attachment, which makes the river view (from a window of a room or during the time of a walk) necessary, soothing and therapeutic. I think that in a certain unrecognized process, our own river roots us into ourselves, its stream mysteriously merges with a stream of our thoughts…”*

SPECIMEN. In the Cabinet of curiosities, the body of Oder River, along with its river basin, forms a large organism exposed to public view in the glass room – Aquarium. Outside there is a low temperature that preserves the quaint “icicle”. Organism, isolated from other map elements, betrays the nature of the place in which it is rooted. The nudity of the technically obtained shape allows you to observe it from a distance. Every day I absorb unformed water unaware of its crystal structure, precisely described and documented by Masaru Emoto. Sentient, water’s organism adapts to the conditions of life. It also creates, stimulates or destroys. It enters in a relationship with: the water economy in this area, relief of land, climate, invention or indolence of a human being. Just as in our bodies, social power imprints its track in this organism. Its shape is also a resonance of personal attitude towards ourselves.

TECHNOLOGY. The object is made using water jet technology. This innovative method involves cutting the compressed jet of water at a pressure of more than 4100 bars. The fusion of modern technology with the original component encouraged me to explore and recreate the natural “shape of water” with the same medium but controlled by a human being. The source of hydrographic information is the Raster Hydrographical Map of Poland made by the Hydrography and Morphology of Riverbeds Institute of Meteorology and Water Management. The Body of Odra Rivers Drawing is an author’s interpretation of the above sources. The installation follows the cycle of works: The Bodies of Rivers, accomplished during the Art & Apparatus workshop (International Project Art Line) in Ronneby in Sweden.

* Olga Tokarczuk The Novel „ Potęga Odry” (”The Power of Oder River”) ; „Kafka” 2003, no. 9



The Bodies of Rivers / Oder River; 2012, plexiglas, water jet technology, 2000 x 2500 x 5 mm

Photos: Archive of The Contemporary Art Gallery in Opole