performance Repressive Tolerance


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Baltic Gallery of Contemporary Art


International Performance Art Festival - CASTLE OF IMAGINATION
Artysta.pl - Artist.pl
stat4u

To be or not to be a Cosmopolitan
Memory
Platform 6 Unrealized openness
I like America and America Likes Me
ECSTASY
Multiple Self Portrait in Mirrors
DADA, da, da, da....
GREENPEACE
Towards a Better Future
24 h
UPSIDE-DOWN
PULP FICTION
Modern Talking
Body & East
 



To be or not to be a Cosmopolitan

This performance concentrates around the issue of one's being the citizen of the world in the context of the recent post-communist past, a limited contact with the world and the new, contemporary anti-globalist context, which want to see the world as a multi-ethnic commonwealth. Right after the 2nd World War, Stalin introduced an obligatory notion of the world and ideological "internationalism", however - never personal. Common people were forced to actualise the slogan "Proletarians of All Countries Unite", which was always ridiculous and void. It served propaganda and politics. It helped to organise the manifestations of solidarity with the Cuban nation or the Koreans and the other way round: the manifestations against the policy of the Americans, Germans and Israel. People who actively participated in "supports" or "protests" were dubbed "the internationals" (a Communist with wide-world aspirations) or "the internationales" (the international sympathising with Moscow). People who mocked notions conceived in this way were dubbed "the cosmopolitans", i.e. the ones who supported American imperialism. Even now, at this moment, my computer proposes such awesome synonyms of the notion "cosmopolitan" as stranger, alien, foreigner, outlander, alochthon, incomer, and a stateless person. In one word - this is someone bad. The "cosmopolitanism" is described as a stance based on the premise that the whole world is a man's homeland. This man's stance is passive towards tradition, culture and the interests of the nation from which he originates. Today, this notion is used in its negative sense by the people of an ultra-right stance, who resist any links with Europe and the world and who want to preserve far-reaching ethnic and religious separateness. Anti-globalists also see a negative sense of the notion of "cosmopolitan". However, we know very well that there is always politics behind the linguistic layer; the politics takes care of the realisation of its own and someone else's aims and interests.
It turns out that the world without borders, visas, the world of similar products, universal culture and common currency is a bad world, destroying what is individual, traditional and national. Similarly, the notion of "the worldly man" sounds bad in the time of general crisis, unemployment, wars and .... the Internet. Political correctness wants to eliminate our open links with the world. Political correctness, imposed by those who most often need not clamour to have their existence in the world ensured and by those who would want to separate themselves from the world at any expense. Fortunately, there is still an individual choice, notwithstanding divagations like those above, which does not have to fit into any of the enumerated frames or notions. And this was the topic of the performance "To be or not to be a Cosmopolitan"/ "Byc albo nie byc Kosmopolita".
The performers, as usual elegantly dressed in suits, white shirts, bow-ties and white gloves, started their performance by contacting tables (objects present in every culture) to which they seemed to turn special attention. The tables were stroked, walked around and, finally, pushed next to each other. Then, a series of quotations from the latest history of art occurred: the artists knelt at the ends of the tables, put chairs on them and, later, - bicycles, they climbed the tables and, accompanied by a genuine Kurt Schwitters sonata, they sat on chairs and were automatically taking down in notebooks the letters pronounced by the German dadaist. Next, they walked along the stage with one shoe on their heads and started to take out an increasing number of plastic gadgets and plastic bags, which they put on their heads. They showed various variations of the gadgets to the public. The sequence of images with masks, inflatable toys, white umbrellas and the reading of the "Cosmopolitan" magazine (with a plastic bag on one's had) introduced us into the world of consumerism, banality and pop culture. The final moment occurred when the artists climbed the tables, put on their heads large paper bags with the brand name MAXI written on them and set the bags on fire.






Memory

Performance took the place at the Teutonic castle, in the museum in so called hunting hall. We just stood there few hours during working hours of the musem. We celebrated memory of the deer's in silence.






Platform 6 Unrealized openness

Performers from Central Europe thank politicians and world leading curators for ignoring and perfect isolation.

Documenta 11, from the performance artist's point of view, is an ingenious exhibition . Many postulates, that performance art had already suggested 30 years ago has been realized during this exhibition. The division into the art disciplines has been taken down. The art has been released from the pressure of art market and aesthetical rules. Art critics do not have to interpret the works of art. They are comprehensible for everyone. Exhibition presents the art, that in fact is not accepted by the art world. Because this art seriously tells about the tragedies of this world. Documenta 11 for the first time is not a place for refined games of artistic establishment, that always during this kind of exhibition has the opportunity to fix seasonal trends and position of romantic artists - geniuses in rankings. Documenta 11 warns, that it is not time for art, whose value lies in modernistic background or Dadaists' perfidy, irony, joke, displaying the sense of humor or eccentric imagination. The time for this kind of art had already passed. The art should disinterestedly serve people, not to authorities or to art market. In this exhibition it is proven, that we could overcome Europocentrism and Americocentrism. It says, that the world is bigger and more complicated than axis G8. That openness - still impossible to realize - is the only alternative for today and for the future. Documenta 11 again reminds us about the Western cultural domination, which cannot be acceptable today. Looking at the exhibition we still do not know, whether the introduction of not-known artists into the world art scene is only a temporary whim of a West Man, or is it just testing the art system, a political reaction to the attacks of antiglobalists or a deep, humanistic process (or only a gesture). The Western culture having the fantastic ability to assimilate and proclaim ideas of openness is in fact a hermetic structure forcing it's own rules, which we will not be able to understand. E.g. we will not be able to understand any reasons of ignoring and isolating Central European culture, more than other cultures. Also, we will not be able to explain logically the marginalization of performance art in Western culture. The art, which was paradoxically born in NYC. Staying out of the art world somehow "double" we are more conscious of the indications of hypocrisy of Western culture and other patterns of globalized civilization. And we thank you very much for this possibility.












"I like America and America Likes Me" - Poznan, NYC, Nove Zamky, Berlin

(the German artist Joseph Beuys used the same title for his performance in 1974, at the René Block Galley, NYC.)

Description of the Beuys performance: "Coyote: I like America and America Likes Me"

Subject: attempt to communicate and co-habitat with a wild animal; art as transformational action; chose coyote, because it is indigenous to North America and because it served as a metaphor for the Native American Indian population, who had been displaced from their homeland because they did not assimilate to a European - based culture; performed only after the U.S. withdrew its troops from Vietnam in 1974; statement about cooperation and learning from each other; art as redemptive action.

Context: postwar Europe, still dealing with traumas of Germany during the war; this piece also directly addresses the U.S. policy towards the Native American Indian, which Beuys sees as paralleling the conquest of Vietnam; belief that art must go beyond the studio to engage the world and life; belief, also, that such actions are transformative and redemptive, like the shaman, who takes on the collective wounds of the tribe, experiencing a kind of spiritual death and rebirth as part of a collective healing.

Action: 3 days performance starting from the moment his plane touched down in NYC. Met at the airport and carried by ambulance to the NYC gallery, where he joined the coyote armed only with a shepherd's crook and felt blanket. The space contained water and food, a stack of hay for a bed, and 50 copies of the Wall Street Journal changed daily. The coyote would pee on the newspapers and huddle in the corner with the artist whenever frightened.


Chashama, 135 West 42nd Street, New York, USA


InnerSpaces, Poznan, Poland

Context 1: to our performance: "NYC: I like America and America Likes Me"

Joseph Beuys (1921) was a nazi pilot in Luftwaffe, Adolf Hitler's air forces, in 1941 - 1945. He very much believed in fascism ideology. In 1942 Beuys was staying as a soldier at the military airport in Krzesiny near Poznan (Poland). My father (1922) was working there at that time as a nazi slave. He was repairing damaged airplanes. Joseph Beuys used them for killing thousand people in Poland, Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan. He is a famous artist now. He liked America as a guilty nation after Vietnam war and America liked him as a guilty nazi pilot who offered art as redemptive action.

Context 2: to our performance: "NYC: I like America and America Likes Me"

We came to America in 2002, one year after September 11 and one year before, when the Polish people could join to the United Europe, and could come into normality since the time, when the nazi troops attacked Poland (1939) starting with the World War II. Since that time, when Hitler destroyed our world, and the Yalta agreement divided Europe for 57 years, displaced nations from our homelands and gave a permission of extending of the totalitarian system onto East and Central Europe.

Context 3: to our performance: "NYC: I like America and America Likes Me"

The huge gap between ART, LIFE, HUMAN VALUES and written HISTORY of art.

Action: "NYC: I like America and America Likes Me"

We came to NYC by British Airways on September 30th. From the JFK airport we come by the Super Shuttle service car to the door of our friend, Leopold Duszka Kolcz, who had to emigrate from Poland 20 years ago. In meantime we did some slides of New York City for you. We came to the Chashama in very common style by subway. We don't want to be an extraordinary heroes. We used in our performance simply story about the nazi pilot, well known in history of art, and also we used some pictures, American Hymn and flag, some small things and two toys (dogs) as the metaphor of warm feelings and as a hope for the future without military aggression and the actions of redemption from the people side (maybe).

Technical equipment:
2 slides projectors
CD player
Microphone + sound system

Duration: 40 minutes



"ECSTASY"

Performance could take place in disco club.

Idea: The significance of this performance was to condense and highlight ideological aspects of pop culture music; those implied ideological meanings underlying the seemingly neutral nature of techno music. Techno - anonymous music, a rhythm and an augury of man's functioning in a separate, technical and technological civilisation, which is beyond any culture. Techno is the ideology of a new lifestyle, a way of thinking and reacting to the world. In the world of the end of ideology.

Ecstasy - a chemical agent stimulating the physical efficiency of an organism, providing one with the illusion of superhuman power - is inherent in techno music.

Irritating, artificial rhythm dictated by two dolphins - trashy gadgets, the rhythm of two rotating fans, a rhythmical stroboscope, a flickering laser beam, ultraviolet light, smoke and rapid, extremely loud techno music were contrasted with the performers' slow behaviour and their chic clothes (suits, white shirts, bow-ties, dark glasses, neat hairstyles). Mirrors, hammers, sickles, white gloves, a violin, violin case and clocks were touched very slowly by the performers, raised and put down by the artists sitting passively, opposite each other at a large, black table. A minimal delay and the repetition of the actions by the female-performer, as well as more gentle way of presenting them, introduced the notion of women's disbelief in the utopia created by men. The rapid rhythm of the techno music provoked an aggressive, extremely dynamic reaction within the performers and audience. The performers acted against this and, in the final phase, stood stock still, holding simultaneously large, wall clocks fully lit and completely silent.





DURATION of performance: 40 minutes


"Multiple Self Portrait in Mirrors"

Brief contents of performance:

The method of taking photographs with the use of mirrors was well known and widely used in 1890. Nearly everyone could have his multiple portrait. The method of taking such photographs was described in detail in Albert A.Hopkins` book entitled "Magic" which was published in New York in 1897. Witkacy made his multiple self portrait in a mirror in 1915, Wac³aw Szpakowski in 1910, Marcel Duchamp and Umberto Boccioni in 1917.

At the time of gigantic civilisation changes and negation of values adopted by the nineteenth century world - the world of clear social and political concepts, at the time of violent revolutions, World War I, falling of the empires and creation of new states, at the time of chaos, fight and conflicting social concepts every man - as a matter of fact - faced the necessary dilemma of formation of his attitude and his view from scratch. Intelligent and sensitive individuals who did not accept the group attitudes were in fact forced to rely on their own opinions, their own criteria and in solitude could turn only to one instance - their own perception of the world.

The multiple mirror self portrait, possibility of discovery of "a "multiplied" oneself was most probably an unusual event. Sitting in front of mirrors set at the angle of 80o, the photographed person can see his own four reflections. He cannot see himself en face like in a normal mirror, but can see his own two profiles and two figures set in 3/4. In order for the photograph to be taken properly the photographed person must look at the line of junction of two mirrors at the refracted space which destroys our habits of watching our reflections in the mirror. The photographic session itself is exhausting, but staying in a black studio (surrounded by mirror stands, especially in front of them, the black must be ideal) the photographed person has a pleasant and dramatic impression that he himself and his four reflections exist in somehow cold timeless world. It is interesting to discover that solitude, impression of emptiness, nonentity, curiosity of one's own figure, being close to oneself, confirmation of the fact (even illusoric) that reality confirming several self's and several parts we play in our lives is possible, and that it is very precarious to believe that the man is a permanent entity. Experiencing oneself in front of the mirrors and longer contemplation cause the acceptance of one's own personality and belief, that oneself consists of multiple souls which guard different principles.

Each of us having the sense of living in the world of relative principles, in the world pretended and inauthentic, in the world of dramatic divisions and last but not least living in the times of great transformation and breakdown of totalitarian ideologies, in the time, when as at the beginning of the 20th century, a lonely individual looks for one's own criteria and seeks to built different, unknown world. "Multiple Self Portrait in Mirrors" is a moment of a quest after the full acceptance of one's own considerations and attitude with the adopted assumption, that there is no chance for the fact of external acceptance to happen.

Short version:

The performance is about the world of dramatic divisions, the great transformation and breakdown of totalitarian ideologies. The world of relative principles, pretence and inauthenticity, forces the loney search for ones own criteria to build a different world. A profound insight into the concepts of multiple identity and individuality in an imperfect and fragmenting society.











Duration of performance: 30 minutes


"DADA, da, da, da...."

Idea:

I found this tape with the voice of Richard Huelsenbeck and other DADAISTS in Canada this year.

When I was listening to DADA artists there, my reflections about DADA were very similar to those, which I had at the very beginning of my contact with art. Then, I thought automatically: DA, DA, in Polish, especially in the region, where I was born, means "BYE, BYE", but it is so, only in the communication between children and adults. Later on, during my art education, starting in 1971, brought me also the reflection, that DADA was an intelectual and artistic basis for many directions of the art of the sixties and seventies. You can imagine that the combination of the meaning of children's words DA, DA and BYE, BYE, which then meant the necessity of giving up the traditional forms of art. Otherwise we observe another proces in art: a very slowly changes of giving up with DADA.

After 25 years of my practise in art, I can say, that an audience doesn't need the very intelligent, excentric, anarchic art, anymore (like DADA art was). As well as Marcel Duchamp used "readymade", we use our bodies and ourselves just to create art. That is the best, what we can do now. That is why more then 25 years old reflection is still fresh: DADA means BYE, BYE for art from the past in fact. I do not know, if we came into BYEBYEISM already or not, but it seems like that.

Reading text.

I found this tape with the voice of Richard Huelsenbeck and other DADAISTS in Canada this year.

When I was listening to DADA artists there, my reflections about DADA were very similar to those, which I had at the very beginning of my contact with art. Then, I thought automatically: DA, DA, in Polish, especially in the region, where I was born, means "BYE, BYE", but it is so, only in the communication between children and adults. Later on, during my art education, starting in 1971, brought me also the reflection, that DADA was an intelectual and artistic basis for many directions of the art of the sixties and seventies. You can imagine that the combination of the meaning of children's words DA, DA and BYE, BYE, which then meant the necessity of giving up the traditional forms of art. Otherwise we observe another proces in art: a very slowly changes of giving up with DADA.

After 25 years of my practise in art, I can say, that an audience doesn't need the very intelligent, excentric, anarchic art, anymore (like DADA art was). As well as Marcel Duchamp used "readymade", we use our bodies and ourselves just to create art. That is the best, what we can do now. That is why more then 25 years old reflection is still fresh: DADA means BYE, BYE for art from the past in fact. I do not know, if we came into BYEBYEISM already or not, but it seems like that.









Duration of performance: 30 minutes


"GREENPEACE"

Brief contents of performance:

Our fascination of the technical civilisation and its clean beauty has changed our criticism into the alternative consciousness. Focusing on environmental issues we don't see the huge gap between the damaged nature, with its irreversible degradation and our desires of easy and wealth life in our artificial environment. We need more and more new sources of energy for pleasure. Only can it be taken from the nature.

The last actions of "Greenpeace" disclose a very sad truth that the institutions fighting for "saving of the nature" are transformed into the prosperous companies connected with economic, military and political lobbies.

The world of the technical civilisation expertly create the new "ecological correctness" attitudes, which never call in question the main directions of the civilisation development.

But the question is: what's next? Do we have any chance to overcome our poor criticism?

Short version:

The performance is questioning the manipulation of ecological issues. Highlighting the conflict between our concern for the irreversible damage to our environment, and the desire for the benefits of modern technology. Society makes small concessions to nature, creating so-called "ecological awareness" whilst ploughing ahead with mass destruction.





Duration of performance: 30 minutes


"Towards a Better Future"

Idea:

performance was a bitter sneer at the purity of intention in politics. The recurrence of empty gestures and slogans; sham brilliance, everything done for show; "human" behaviour of politicians reduced to poster rules; falsity of interpersonal relations; rendering all values banal. And aspirations to create a future for the world.



Duration of performance: 40 minutes


"24 h"

Idea:

Performance "24 h" is a reminder, an evocation of reflections about the process of collision of higher culture (the vanishing one, neurotic, multidirectional, revoking to its own secular traditions, not fitting to contemporary civilization) with the lower culture (popculture, its penetration to everyday life, unbelievable vigour, power, effrontery, greed and omnipresence).

Action:

The artist, elegantly dressed (like the musicians or artists from the turn of the 19th and 20th century - black suit, white shirt, bow-tie, with neat hairdress, with the use of gel) calmly paced with an opened violin case, in which there were various objects attached such as: artificial red roses, fluorescent crucifix, beads, plastic luminescent swords, military toys, inflated gadgets. In the same hand, he also held a lead, on the end of which there was a violin attached. The violin dragged through the pavements and streets produced dead, numb sound. In the other hand, the artist held a white umbrella over his head.

The artist, looking ahead, wandered about in the downtown of Cracow and other public places like galleries, museums, cafés. He didn't react for the comments, provocation or the will of conversation from the pedestrians' side.



Time of duration: 24 h


"UPSIDE-DOWN"

Wladyslaw Kazmierczak together with Marek Choloniewski & Iliana Alvarado

"Upside-down" is a balancing body with and without control. The body as a object is hanging in a center of limited space. The movement of the body is translated to the musical structures by system of optical sensors. There is a story about violence, human independence and communication. Look and get, grab and pull, do it without any doubt.



Duration of performance: 30 minutes


"PULP FICTION"

Brief contents of performance:

The performance is about the world development without any direction. The world of dramatic divisions, the great transformation and breakdown of culture. The world of relative principles, pretence and inauthenticity, forces the loney search for ones own criteria to build a different world.

The idea of the performance was drawn from and inspired by the Quentin Tarantino's film. Using some of dialogues and musical pieces from the film, the construction of the performance includes a message: despite of the fall of culture, numberless self-quotations, indifference towards the problems of other people, unceasing searching for emotions, disdain to life, emptiness filled with no matter what, decline of fundamental values, somewhere on the bottom of the human heart, exists a longing for an authentic love, life and creativity.





Duration of performance: 30 minutes


"Modern Talking"

Concept of performance:

The performance began by presenting two hammers, playing greetings cards, drinking and spilling water from glasses, hanging colourful clothespins and so on. The artists prepared themselves for the performance by putting gel on their hair and combing it. Next, the artists began to measure the space in which they acted and stuck broad, colourful tapes: black, red and yellow to the floor. They formed a geometrical picture that alluded to Mondrian's abstract paintings. But not exactly. They used many funny things, like wooden hors, newspaper, plastic bags, religious pictures. From then on, artists concentrated on moving only along those lines holding first little pendulums and then spirit levels (in ideal vertical and horizontal positions). They showed some geometrical shapes - a circle, square and cross of different sizes. In the final phase, they put all those shapes on their arms and heads, and started to dance in the rhythm of Dadaist music.

Briefly, it was an ironic statement about modernism in Dadaist style with the use of original records of the Dadaist from the Cabaret Voltaire. But it is doubtful whether mockery about such a historic artistic group makes any sense. Modernism has been overcome many times. There arises the question: what were the intentions of the artists by drawing attention to the old-lady Moderna? Presumably there were no intentions. And that's probably the best way to interpret that performance. Because it did not refer to modernism in its historical sense, to its radical programs, that failed completely, leaving behind imperfect masterpieces. Rather it was about the presence of modernism in the present. It turns out, that this historical mistake has a second youth. In many different aspects: technological, social and aesthetic. These are not the artists who are interested in modernism, but the contemporary "users" of art. Modernity becomes again the aesthetic option, which is looked for nowadays in the place of art. "Modern Talking" warns against barrenness of this way that dangerously narrows down the possible spectrum of human expression. This minimalist action coincided with the famous fact of censoring the art in Brooklyn Museum. The Mayor of New York closed down the exhibition. Rudolph Giuliani becomes a guard of... what? Of the values of the majority of taxpayers and his electorate. He is one of the thousands of guards of public life in the democratic world. In the whole world, art is placed out of the frame by "decent" people: presidents, ministers, aldermen and mayors. The global model of the development of civilisation aims at unbearable boredom, placidity, averaging, calmness and not posing any difficult or important questions.





Duration of performance: 40 minutes


Body & East

Idea:

The performance is about a new experience of post-communist societies which pretending to be in the West World circle. Performance has many various simple pictures, which show the "adapting" of the new members to Western civilization, pop culture and many others aspects of "to be the best".







Duration of performance: 35 minutes