Joanna Rajkowska

Forcing a Miracle transformed an area of Regent’s Park close to the fair into a field of smoking incense

Joanna Rajkowska, Forcing a Miracle, 2012

Forcing a Miracle is a project that made the ground  soil, grass and stones  burn and produce smoke. Rajkowska transformed an area of Regent’s Park close to the fair into a field of smoking incense. The smoke, distinct but gentle, served as a physical emanation of thoughts, secret wishes and desires of people coming to the fair and those who are already part of it. As an extension of the piece Forcing A Miracle, Rajkowska has produced a short film which is available to view online. The film documents a ritual performed by the artist on the 7 October between 7  7.20 pm, involving the burning of incense in order to summon the angel Yod Yod Lamed. יֹיֹלָ, the Kabbalistic name of the angel that heals eye afflictions. Associated with courage, and governing the fire elements, Yod Yod Lamed was called upon to sooth and cure the artist’s daughter. Rajkowska intends the work to be both a comment on Frieze London as a certain state of mind and the artist’s personal need for a miracle.

Burning incense is a ritual used by many religions and spiritual groups. It offers a refined sensory experience and has an appealing physicality, effectively blurring the image of reality. It ‘blesses’ things as they are without changing them. At the same time it represents the artist’s need to leave the area of the fair and go out: a translation of the legacy of land art into a subtle, public but ephemeral experience. 

Joanna Rajkowska (b.1968) is a Polish artist based in London. Recent solo shows and projects include ‘Born in Berlin. A Letter to Rosa’, Zak-Branicka Gallery, Berlin (2012) and ‘Swamptown’, Polish Institute, Berlin (2012). Group shows include: ‘Forget Fear’, 7th Berlin Biennale, Berlin, ‘Dependency Culture as a State of Mind’, InteriorDAsein, Berlin and ‘Middle East Europe’, Labor Gallery, Budapest (all 2012). Forthcoming public projects in 2012 will be for the ‘Made in Peterborough’ commission programme, Citizen Power Peterborough (a joint venture between Peterborough City Council amd Royal Society of Arts, London) and in Copenhagen as part of the Copenhagen Art Festival.