The exhibition observes the working conditions in pharmacies and attempts to restore the space where nature meets science in order to reach the cosmotechnical roots of this profession. The artists invited by the curator and artist, Agata Szymanek, refer to various treatment methods and consider the status of care system employees; they also reflect on the Western approach to life and medicine. At the same time, the presented paintings, drawings, photographs and objects concern art treated as a symbolic act of healing.
Pharmacists know substances, drugs, and the human body, and they must systematically expand this knowledge. Working in a pharmacy involves legal and financial responsibility towards the customers. This is a struggle to cater to the many people who come into the pharmacy every day and work during the exhausting night shifts. And at the same time, it is an occupation with its core in the willingness to help and surround other people with care. This is a topic worth talking about, especially when dealing with the pandemic and its economic consequences.
The exhibition stems from a meeting with pharmacists and extends a project in which the curator interviewed pharmacy employees and invited them to participate in artistic workshops. She was interested in their experiences, emotions and motivations.
The exhibition presents drawings created during the workshops and works created by invited artists that deal with health, contemporary and traditional methods of treatment, the healing power of plants, and the status of employees and pharmacy workers.
The balsamic garden evokes knowledge that flows through our grandmothers’ gardens and wild meadows and forests, finally reaching the pharmacy’s backroom and the equipment that produces ointments, powders, infusions, and medicines. It reflects on the still cherished traditions in medicine but also recalls forgotten herbs and substances, replaced with pills. The reference to the symbolic meaning of the garden opens themes associated with relief, sensuality, mystery and awareness that help look at the figure of the pharmacist in a more sensitive way. Often the pharmacists’ systematic and well-established knowledge may seem like secret wisdom, and the peculiar names of meds are like a new language.
At the same time, the presented works concern aspects of art that has healing properties. It is paying attention to the changes and regenerating processes caused by the creative act and the artwork. The balsamic potential of art brings comfort while dealing with the dilemmas of reality.
Among the artists are: Ryszard Bejnarowicz, Martyna Borowiecka, Ewa Ciepielewska, Suet Yi Chan, Sylwia Daniluk, Maja Krysiak, Kasia Kukuła, Jolanta Mrożek, Marta Niedbał, Nina Paszkowski, Natalia Rojek, Paweł Szeibel, Agata Szymanek, Andreas Trnuitsch, Miłosz , Ludmiła Woźniczko, Joanna Zdzienicka. Workshops were conducted as part of the “Pharmacist” project organized together with the City Museum in Tychy in November 2020.
The exhibition is organized as part of the Scholarship of the Marshal of the Silesian Voivodeship in the field of culture 2020.