After receiving last year’s prestigious Preis der Nationalgalerie (former winners include Anne Imhof, Omer Fast, Monica Bonvicini and Elmgreen & Dragset), Berlin-based Polish artist Agnieszka Polska is now debuting her multi-channel video installation The Demon’s Brain (2018). The video finds its inspiration in a 15th century story about a Polish official, Mikołaj Serafin, who governed the country’s salt mines which were initially leased to him by the king in an early (and then unnamed) form of capitalism. Polska draws upon correspondence between Serafin and his employees as well as a network of creditors and debtors to depict the story of an illiterate messenger delivering letters to the official. One day, the messenger becomes stranded and has a hallucinatory vision that raises thoughts relating to both the modern, unsustainable use of raw materials and information-based capital as well as to Serafin and apocalyptic Christian theology.
-- Emily McDermott
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