• Everything we see could also be otherwise (My sweet little lamb)
    20 September – 11 November 2017

    The Showroom (63 Penfold St, Marylebone, London NW8 8PQ, UK) Curated by: What, How & for Whom/WHW, in collaboration with Kathrin Rhomberg, co-curated by Emily Pethick Preview: Tuesday 19 September, 6.30–8.30pm Exhibition opening hours: Wednesday – Saturday, 12–6pm The Showroom presents the epilogue of a long-term project which took place over several months in Zagreb (November 2016 to May 2017), which contextualised and rethought the Kontakt Art Collection. It was curated by What, How & for Whom/WHW in collaboration with Kathrin Rhomberg. This final exhibition is co-curated by The Showroom Director Emily Pethick. Taking selected works from the Vienna-based Kontakt Art Collection as its point of departure, including seminal pieces by some of the most prominent artists from Central, Eastern and South-East Europe since the 1960s, the exhibition stages an interplay between these and other historical, contemporary and newly produced works that interpret and critically examine the collection. The project unfolded in six episodes in Zagreb, each iteration influencing, contradicting and reinforcing each other. It took place in a number of smaller art spaces, artists' studios, private apartments and other locations related to artistic production and the broader cultural landscape of the city. This final stage of the project at The Showroom continues to reframe and expand the context of the collection. Interlacing geographically and poetically heterogeneous artist practices, the project attempts to punctuate standardized presentations and interpretations of works that have dominated international art circuits over the last few decades, with more disorderly and experimental arrangements. The project title is taken from a work by Croatian artist Mladen Stilinović (1947–2016), to whom the project is dedicated. Stilinović's life-long anti-systemic approach, his quiet but shrewd rebellion against social conventions and the conventions of art, and an artistic practice that trenchantly and humorously engages with complex themes of ideology, work, money, pain and poverty, inspired a generation of artists worldwide. The project is a cooperation with Kontakt Art Collection and is supported by Erste Group Bank AG and ERSTE Foundation.


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Paweł Kwiek

Paweł Kwiek was the key figure in Polish experimental film and video art during the 1970s. At that time, he was actively collaborating with two important neo-avant-garde formations: Workshop of the Film Form in Łódź and a group of artists connected to the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. The Warsaw group consisted primarily of the circle of Prof. Oskar Hansen, including Zofia Kulik, Przemysław Kwiek (Paweł’s brother, who was part of KwieKulik), and also Anastazy Wiśniewski, and Zygmunt Piotrowski. Together, they formed the “Soc Art” movement (also known as “Socialist Conceptualism” or “New Red Art”), which tried to introduce new avant-garde political art and, in doing so, subvert the communist regime from the inside (since they all perceived themselves to be leftist artists). Experimentation with regard to Hansen’s theory and practice of Open Form likewise had an important impact on Paweł Kwiek’s approach to the filmic medium, to spatial experiments, and to participatory strategies that he developed later on. In 1971, he came together with Zofia Kulik, Przemysław Kwiek and Jan Stanisław Wojciechowski to co-author the filmic project “Open Form (Forma Otwarta)”, consisting of sequential study cases including the spectacular “Game on Actress Face”. These experiments determined the shape of Kwiek’s first “political” films, involving his deep interest in mass-media, in the phenomenology of the medium as such, and in the manipulative power of film as propaganda tool: “Face” (“Twarz”, 1971); “Me and the Phone” (“Ja i Telefon”, 1972); “1,2,3 Cameraman Exercise” (“1,2,3… Ćwiczenia operatorskie”, 1972); and the “assembling film” Niechcice from 1973. Needless to say, Kwiek was a co-founder and member of the famous Workshop of the Film Form (a formation officially active between 1970 and 1977) together with Józef Robakowski, Ryszard Waśko, Wojciech Bruszewski and Kazimierz Bendkowski, fellow students and alumni of Łódź Film School. Later on, between 1978 and 1981, he also worked as a lecturer at this institution. All of his filmic experiments from that period correspond with the practices of the Workshop, in which he was a leading figure. In the non-camera and non-screened film “Commentary” (“Komentarz”, 1972), he developed the interest he had nurtured in “Me and the Phone” to radically conceptualize (textualize) the filmic image, replacing the screening with a performance, “reading” the film’s content in front of the audience. This film was a “radical rejection of the cinematic communication mediated by film” that opposed clichés of the viewer’s narrative and mental expectations, according to Łukasz Ronduda. Other provocations appeared in “Mirror” (“Lustro”, 1971), consisting only of a mirror and the projector’s light “attacking the audience”—and in 1973, just before his real engagement with the medium of TV, “Numbers” (“Numerki”), which presented only the opening countdown (film leader) of the film reel in a way that resembled strategies from structural film.
The period of 1974–1976 saw Kwiek made his most important TV videos: “Video A”, “Video C” and “Video P”. The first video of the A–Z series was “Video A [Sytuacja Studia / Studio Situation]”, which was both the first Polish work to artistically employ the potential of the television medium and a pioneering video work in general. During a TV show devoted to the Workshop of the Film Form, Kwiek presented a performance, standing in front of the cameras and issuing his directives to the cameramen. By directing a live “television broadcast about himself,” he demonstrated that “every attempt to report objectively through a medium is doomed to fail, as we always deal with the interpretation both by the viewer and the operator, who decides what to show and what to hide,” according to Marika Kuźmicz. In his text Video (a catalogue introduction for Galeria Remont, 1976, Warsaw) Kwiek stated: “TV technology allows me to construct sets that transmit the image of reality in a way that is acceptable for human beings and conforms to its attributes. Therefore, I construct sets where the observed reality is the human being—for whom, in turn, the image of reality is his own constructed image. It is possible to build sets of varied degrees of dependency on the mode of transmission to the observed human, and therefore from themselves to the perceived image of reality. On the other hand, the structure of such a set determines what a human being who forms part of it can point out, discern, determine. As it is, we are dealing with a matter of intentional, physically existing realities and investigations into the ways in which humans operate within them. The investigation is developed through specific operations carried out thereupon and therein.”


Born in Warsaw, Poland, 1951.

Kwiek studied at the National Higher School of Film, Television and Theatre in Łódź (Poland). He is visual-arts artist and co-founder of the Film Form Workshop (1970-1977). From 1978 to 1981 he lectured at the National Higher School of Film, Television and Theatre in Łódź, from 1977 to 1978 at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw (Poland). Kwiek has participated in many presentations of Polish Art in the country and abroad, he is the author of theoretical texts on avant-garde art, and also involved in poetry events and performances. His artwork is generally divided into two stages: The first one is characterized by his activities in the neo avant-garde movement of the 1970s, while the second stage is marked by a departure into spiritualism.

Lives and works in Warsaw, Poland.

Solo Exhibitions (selected):

2010     “Love, Light and Peace. Retrospective exhibition of Paweł Kwiek”, Center of Contemporary Art Zamek Ujazdowski, Warsaw, Poland

2008     “Inter-Pictures (reconstruction)”, Arton Gallery, Warsaw, Poland

2005     “Possible Models of Ecumenism”, Kordegarda Gallery, Warsaw, Poland

Group Exhibitions (selected):

2011     “Polish Conceptual Photography”, Freies Museum Berlin, Berlin, Germany

2010     “Changing Channels - Kunst und Fernsehen 1963-1987“, MUMOK Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, Vienna, Austria

2009     “Summer in the city”, Klimy Bochenska Gallery, Warsaw, Poland

2008     “ANALOGUE: Pioneering Video from the UK, CANADA and POLAND (1968-88)”, Artspace, Peterborough, Canada

2007     “1, 2, 3 … Avant-Gardes (Open Form #2)“, Künstlerhaus Stuttgart, Stuttgart, Germany

2006     “tranzit - Auditorium, Stage, Backstage – Eine Ausstellung in 32 Szenen“, Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt/Main, Germany

2004     “De ma Fenêtre, des artistes et leur territoire“, École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts, Paris, France

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