back to News Overview
Media File
19 March 2019
Principle of Equality—Open Studio

Adam Szymczyk appointed as Lecturer at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna and initiates the project “Principle of Equality—Open Studio”

March 2019–February 2020
Academy of Fine Arts Vienna

From March 2019 to February 2020 Adam Szymczyk is appointed as lecturer and initiator of the project “Principle of Equality—Open Studio.” Situated within the Institute of Fine Arts at the Academy, the two-semester program comprises of different forms and formats of student participation, including an inaugural public event, a program of lectures, follow-up sessions, a study trip, and an exhibition as the final outcome of the group’s activities to be presented in Fall 2019.

The project was initiated by Kontakt Collection and is realized in cooperation with ERSTE Foundation and the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna.

Principle of Equality—Open Studio
“Principle of Equality” is a term that Polish polymath curator, writer, and philosopher-activist Anka Ptaszkowska (b. 1935) used as a guiding concept for her seminar at École supérieure d’Arts et Médias in Caen, France, where she taught in the 1980s and 1990s. The program “Principle of Equality” at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna in 2019 will continue along the political lines drafted by Ptaszkowska in her text and embodied by her multifarious practice.
Intuitively, equality is the twin sister of freedom. To proclaim the “Principle of Equality” within an esteemed educational institution sets the tone for this program, which is different to predetermining an outcome. Rather it opens up a space for uninhibited practice, individual or collective, and dependent on the participant. Attention is given to listening and being listened to, those two states that form reciprocity, as seen in the dual figures of speaker/receiver (as per artist Moyra Davey), writer/reader, artist/viewer. At some point in the process, these distinctions and their attendant hierarchies must give way to new relationships between equals.

Inaugural Public Lecture: Principle of Equality
By Anka Ptaszkowska, followed by a conversation with Adam Szymczyk
(in French and Polish, with simultaneous English translation)

March 19, 2019, 6 pm
Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Aula
Augasse 2–6, 1090 Vienna

Anka Ptaszkowska (b. 1935) is neither an art historian nor an art critic. In 1966 she co-founded and then co-ran (with Wiesław Borowski and Mariusz Tchorek) Foksal Gallery in Warsaw. There, she worked with artists Tadeusz Kantor, Edward Krasiński, Maria Ewa Łunkiewicz-Rogoyska, Krzysztof Niemczyk, and Henryk Stażewski. She married Krasiński and, in 1970 she broke up with Foksal Gallery to leave for Paris. There, together with Michel Claura, and with François Guinochet and Daniel Buren (in advisory roles), she established a gallery that altered its name with every exhibition, beginning with Galerie 1, Galerie 2, etc. The gallery hosted exhibitions with a.o. Buren, Carl Andre, André Cadere, Dan Graham.
In 1982, Ptaszkowska initiated and organized with Stażewski and Pontus Hulten the exhibition Échange entre artistes, 1931–1982: Pologne—USA at Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris, which resulted in the donation of an important collection of American art to the Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź.
From 1983 to 2003 she lectured on modern art at École supérieure d’Arts et Médias in Caen, where she ran a seminar on the “principle of equality.”
In 2007 she published Żywot Krzysztofa Niemczyka na użytek młodych pokoleń (The life of Krzysztof Niemczyk for the use by younger generations) and Niemczyk’s novel Kurtyzana i Pisklęta albo krzywe zwierciadło namiętnego działania, lub analiza chaosu (A courtesan and chickens, or a distorted mirror of passionate action, or an analysis of chaos). She is also the author of the book Wierzę w wolność, ale nie nazywam się Beethoven (I believe in freedom but my name is not Beethoven, 2010), and, with Leszek Brogowski, she published the first translation into Polish of Guy Debord’s La Société du spectacle (Społeczeństwo spektaklu, 1998).
Currently, in a former Paris studio of her late partner, artist photographer Eustachy Kossakowski, Ptaszkowska organizes private evenings dedicated to the reflection on art and (rather exceptionally) featuring exhibitions by young artists.

Adam Szymczyk (b. 1970) was Artistic Director of documenta 14 in Athens and Kassel (2013–17). He is currently based in Basel and works internationally.