Katarzyna Depta-Garapich‘s exhibition, Excursion took the theme of the bear in the Tatra Mountains and its pop-culture image as represented by a ‘white bear’ – a mascot that entertains tourists on the main street of Zakopane, Poland. The exhibition ran from 28 April – 9 July 2023.
This exhibition is also a presentation of the artist’s practice-led doctoral project that took place between 2017-2023 at the Slade School of Fine Art UCL. In her PhD, Katarzyna Depta-Garapich approaches the problem of protecting nature and endangered species. The artist also focuses on the destructive impact of tourism and other human activities on nature.
As part of the project Katarzyna Depta-Garapich made a white bear costume and climbed the most difficult mountain trail in High Tatras, recreating the routes used by local brown bears. The white bear costume refers to the mascot, a person dressed as a white bear that is providing entertainment for tourists while simultaneously side-lining the real bear.
The exhibition at Watermans Art Centre takes the form of a multi-channel video installation. Viewers are invited to take part in the Excursion through adopting many points of view, watching the projections of Tatra views and climbing white bear. The exhibition is accompanied by a presentation of an artist’s book containing a literary essay and over 20 graphics by the artist.
Katarzyna Depta-Garapich is a visual artist born in Krakow, Poland, living and working in London. Her practice takes a variety of forms including sculpture, drawing, performance and video. Graduate of the Sculpture Department of Wimbledon College of Art (BA 2010) and the Slade School of Fine Art in London (MA 2012) and Art History at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow (1999). In her work, she often refers to themes taken from everyday life and her own surroundings, especially those that represent her own fears and anxieties related to femininity and social expectations. She is interested in the relationship between humans and non-humans. She is fascinated by the absurd and finds inspiration in situations, stories and objects that deviate from the norm. Katarzyna Depta-Garapich’s most recent exhibitions include: Claw, Kuns(z)t Gallery, Goethe Institut, Kraków (2022); You ate Three Hundred Devils, Władysław Hasior Gallery, Tatra Museum, Zakopane (2022); Matter of the Anthropocene, Mathare Art Gallery, Nairobi, Kenya (2019) and Centrala Gallery, Birmingham, UK (2020); Simple Gestures, BWA, Katowice (2020); Melancholy, Freud Museum, London, UK (2020); Handiwork, Gallery Władysław Hasior, Zakopane (2019). She has participated in artistic residencies at the Tatra Museum, Poland (2019); Grymsdyke Farm, Buckingshire, UK (2019) and Grizedale Arts, Coniston, Lake District, UK (2014). In collaboration with Grizedale Arts, she facilitated the Polish edition of the House of Ferment, ArtBoom, Krakow (2015). In 2022 she won a prestigious drawing competition, the Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize for student entry (2022).
Excursion is supported by the Polish Cultural Institute in London.