Lovehammer is a project by Jan Możdżyński and Sebulec, in which the two young artists reinterpret and queer a popular, “typically male” hobby – the battle games based on miniature figurines from the Warhammer series. They create their own universe and game in keeping with their vision of the world, which is completely different from the violent original.
Warhammer is one of the most popular series of figure games, in which players recruit and command armies that later clash on the battlefield. Drawing on the exaggerated and conventionalised aesthetics of violence, the series has become a cultural phenomenon comprising books, films and computer games. In it, powerful fantastic armies fight countless battles in an endless cosmic war.
In the Age of Lovehammer exhibition, the artists use motifs and tropes characterising this type of entertainment, as well as inspiration from manga, fantasy and legends, to queer violence-based attitudes and turn the mechanics of battle into a love idiom. It is both a visual fantasy and a social necessity – as advocates of love and equality, feminists, but also fans of battle games, Sebulec and Możdżyński propose to change the stereotypical, antagonistic perspective into a relationship based on care, love and affection. They want to play, but on their own terms, reflecting what they themselves believe in.
Lovehammer is both a visual fantasy and a social demand – it is a proposal based on popular entertainment that challenges the dominant logic of conflict and struggle, questioning war as one of the founding myths and a way of building relationships. Sebulec and Możdżyński subvert the model example of the logic of conflict. Their world crosses the boundaries of the heteronormative gaze and the burden of historical borrowings and social traditions.
Age of Lovehammer is the second installment in the Lovehammer project. This time, the artists have expanded their universe and created a space that allows the audience to become actively involved.
Following the example of other wargame realms, the artists treat Lovehammer as an independent universe. This time, the exhibition is set in the Warp World, which is inhabited by Fetishes who are continuously headed to the Core – the unique interior of each of us, made up of the sum of our experiences, ideas and encounters. This journey is repeated many times in the course of our lives, and for some it never ends. Lovehammer is a record of this journey, and the players can decide how it goes and what values will shape the Warp World.
The two miniature armies encountered in the Age of Lovehammer are Sebulec’s Beautiful Beasts and Możdżyński’s Repentants (Crunchies).
Repentants (Crunchies) are a cloud of feelings, ideas, impressions and lives. They are fluid, never unambiguously defined; changeable, escaping heteronorms, patriarchy and the confines of gender. They draw power from the night, the whisper of whisperers and witch rituals. Transgression is their nature, transgender reversal is their method.
Repentants (Crunchies) are about:
transience, change, transformation, transition, body, spirit, moment, fluidity, gender, gender-fluid, social contract, norm, heteronorm, patriarchy, mismatch, dimorphism, transgenderism, transvestism, feminism, mysticism, ritual, tarot, crowley, witch, whisper, whisperer, night, consciousness, memory, historical memory
Sebulec’s Beautiful Beasts represent non-normativity, people who have been rejected, in crisis, forced to hide their identity. Their beauty is their scars, their vulnerability, their path, their strength.
“I look in the mirror and I feel like smashing it,” raps watchmedieslowly, an emo rapper of the youngest generation. The Beautiful Beasts are wild, clumsy and unsure of themselves. Will they be able to embark on the inward journey and love themselves anew?
The Beautiful Beasts are about:
corporeality, queerness, fur, muscles, danger, seduction, jaws, fangs, saliva, biting, eating oneself, flesh, ritual, skinning/revealing the inside, chaos, rebellion, armour, touch, tenderness, wounds, veins, magic, nature, symmetry, metal, hot bulls, werewolves, mermaids.
The entire exhibition is also a game in its own right. Throughout its duration, the audience will have the possibility to take turns and move the figurines-works of art at specific times.
The gameplay rules for the Age of Lovehammer in Warp World were created in collaboration with Paul Kimczak.