Alea iacta est, Paweł Sosnowski, Polish exposition project at the 50th Biennale in Venice 2003


Referring to the slogan of the Biennale is ‘Dreams and Conflicts’ is a real challenge. It is so easy to turn it into a banal, illustration or an anecdote.
That is why the project by Stanisław Dróżdż ‘ALEA IACTA EST’ seems to be almost an ideal proposal. The game is an archetype of the conflict and the simplest symbol of the relation dream-conflict whereas the dice are the European symbol of the game.
The artist proposes the game of dice thereby referring to the core of the conflict which is not an objective but a subjective situation which exists in everyone. Even the innocent ambitions, desires and dreams could be the basis for the conflict.
The artist makes the viewers face a giant wall composed of dice and provides them with thousands of possible solutions, tempts and provokes them. A lonely chair and the table with dice on it invite the viewers to play. When the viewers take the dice with their hands, they will cross the Rubicon River and enter the game being a tantamount to entering the conflict with oneself. Once the game is started, the situation becomes irreversible – they may either win or lose.
Each game, even the simplest one, needs the rules. In our case, we also have an appropriate instruction. The artist seems to make a courteous gesture placing on the wall the rules of the game translated in several dozen languages (which is the highest possible number) of languages. He talks to every viewer individually in their native language. Nevertheless, this is a deliberately provoking trick because although everyone has an opportunity to read the text in their own language but first they should find this language among many other ones. In this way, the artist from the very beginning makes the viewers join the game and evokes in the ambitions, desires and dreams of being the winner.
The project by Stanisław Dróżdż, likewise all his previous ones, refers to the issues exceeding simple interpretations. In this case, it refers to the relation between the dream and the game and the form of describing the reality based on a pure chance which, in spite of its apparent order, is based on conflict.


Paweł Sosnowski