In her new series of works, Zuza Golińska investigates the visual and emotional associations of so-called hostile architecture, the intrusive elements of urban design aimed at regulating undesirable behaviours in the public space. Made entirely from stainless steel, Piercers consist of interlocked rings that loosely hang from a rail firmly attached to the wall. Their aggressive, “perforating” form resembles pieces of hostile architecture – like anti-homeless studs embedded in the floors to prevent people from sleeping – but also brings to mind other metal-made artefacts designed to penetrate surfaces, be it a wall, concrete floor, or sensitive human body: railings, bathroom grab bars, mobility handles, body jewelry, as well as sex toys made from polished metal. This time, however, it is the artist who pierces the surrounding space, as if to take vengeance upon its endless prohibitions and surveillance. On the other hand, the sexual appeal of these objects and their high-polished shine seem to evoke a pleasure of touch as well as fierce and ecstatic intimacy.
Nothing seems lightweight or ephemeral about these pieces, let alone the walls to which they are so securely attached. A deliberate choice of stainless steel, material both hefty and durable, conveys an impression of one’s burden having been chained to the wall and left there to be gazed upon. Just as if some unpleasant memory or past trauma, immovable curse imbuing our everyday doings with weight, took form of metal shackles for everyone to see. However, a tangled and powerful form of Piercers also indicates a yearning for something quite contrary – a strong, enduring bond that would introduce balance and structure to one’s existence. These “engagement” rings embody opposing connotations of the word: „engagement” understood as a close and fruitful relationship with someone – but not without all the trouble that comes with it (no diamonds on these rings). Piercers are heavyweight figures of deadlock, of being caught in a double bind; sometimes you can’t break out of it, but at least it’s solid enough to lean on.