28/11/2019—05/01/2020 exhibition Róża Duda and Michał Soja Never Embrace Burning Statues,Ujazdowski Castle
Centre for Contemporary Art, Project Room
A sweltering Haitian jungle, first half of the twentieth century. Faustin Wirkus, a Polish American coal miner, arrives at the island of Gonâve, and in mysterious circumstances becomes its king. His story has never been adapted for film until now. Presented at the Project Room, the exhibition Never Embrace Burning Statues by Róża Duda and Michał Soja is a narrative about what may have happened on the exotic, sunscorched island of Gonâve.

In their film, Duda and Soja construct a speculative biography of Faustin Wirkus, in doing so subjecting Western culture to a sort of psychoanalytical reading, all in a convention of rogue adventure. The installation Never Embrace Burning Statues is a hypnotic display. The blackandwhite animation is presented in a darkenedout room, the threechannel projection accompanied by rhythmic music.

Never Embrace Burning Statues focuses on the final episode of Faustin Wirkuss life on the island of Gonâve. Wirkus thinks back to his service as a marine on USoccupied Haiti, and realises that a system based on exploitation is a failure. The dark jungle becomes a place of transgression, with voodoo rituals paving the way for new times, and the hypnotic power of music awakening latent desires.

Faustin Wirkus is determined to shake off the curse of Western civilization with its obsession of work and discipline. He believes himself to be a romantic rebel who will disarm the very system that has turned him into an automated zombie. Will he start a rebellion?

Never Embrace Burning Statues is this years sixth instalment in the Project Room series of exhibitions, as part of which the Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art presents the work of young Polish artists. All exhibitions are sitespecific and all are premieres. In 2019, the following artists have been on show: Marta Krześlak, the (defunct) collective Limanka Fashion House, Jan MoszumańskiKotwica, Wiktoria Walendzik, and Horacy Muszyński. At the beginning of 2020, an international jury will select two most interesting projects and award them with a First Prize of PLN 20,000 and a Second Prize of PLN 10,000. The jurys verdict will be announced in January 2020.

Directed by

Róża Duda
Michał Soja

Written by

Róża Duda
Michał Soja
Łukasz Zawada

Featuring as Faustin Wirkus

Adam Zduńczyk


Adam Zduńczyk


Łukasz Zawada


Bartosz Zaskórski, Mchy i Porosty


Piotr Podsiadło
Paweł Soja


Piotr Podsiadło
Paweł Soja

Faustin Wirkus’ costume on stage

Marta Szypulska
Ireneusz Zając


Michał Soja
Róża Duda

Technical suport with animation

Karol Wójcicki

Art direction

Robert Sowa

Curated by

Marta Lisok

Exhibition coordinator

Sara Szostak

Exhibition series curator

Michał Grzegorzek

Exhibition series coordinator

Kamil Kuskowski

Communications coordinator

Arletta Wojtala

Exhibition series visual identity

Tomasz Bersz


Maciej Landsberg


Marcin Wawrzyńczak