• Poetry & Performance / The Eastern European Perspective
    22 December 2017 − 10 March 2018

    Nová synagóga, Žilina, Slovakia Poetry & Performance / The Eastern European Perspective 22/12/17 –  10/03/18 Loans by Kontakt: Vlado Martek: Ciklus Soneti / Sonnet Cycle, 1978-79 Raša Todosijević: Znak / Sign, 1971; Skulptura / Sculpture, 1971; Was ist Kunst, Patricia Hennings? / What is Art, Patricia Hennings?, 1976; Was ist Kunst, Marinela Koželj? / What is Art, Marinela Koželj?, 1978 Tamás St. Auby: Kentaur / Centaur, 1973-1975/ 2009 Curators: Sabine Hänsgen, Tomáš Glanc, Daniel Grúň Nová synagóga in Žilina presents the exhibition Poetry & Performance. The Eastern European Perspective curated by Tomáš Glanc, Daniel Grúň and Sabine Hänsgen. The exhibition brings together more than forty artists, poets and creative groups from the countries of the former Eastern Europe as well as contemporary artistic positions. The exhibition will be opened on December 22nd from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. by a series of several performances and will run until March 10th 2018. In the second half of the twentieth century, poets and artists in particular took up the challenge of reflecting on and investigating the instrumentalization of language for communicative and political-ideological purposes. They did so by drawing attention to the “made-ness” of language, its material and medial dimension, and by creating performative situations for themselves and their audiences within which possibilities of verbal expression could be tested and acted out. In Eastern Europe, poetry and performance played a significant role in the unofficial or partially tolerated cultural scene. The writing practice of samizdat and its relation to the devices of concrete and visual poetry have been treated and presented in a number of previous projects. Until now however, less consideration has been given to the circumstances of performance. In addition to the typescript literature of samizdat, subcultural milieus attached particular importance to the oral recitation of poems, exhibitions, and poetry actions. The interrelation between text and situation in poetic acts functioned as a trigger for performances and happenings. The exhibition presents authors from subcultures in socialist states along with contemporary positions that continue the legacy of combining poetry and performance. It shows the efforts of poets and artists to break free from controlled language and normative communicative now and then. Poetry & Performance. The Eastern European Perspective thus confronts the current social challenges in the post-socialist countries through the prism of language and ideology and looks back at their points of departure. Artists: Milan Adamčiak, Pavel Arsenev, Babi Badalov, Bosch+Bosch (Attila Csernik, Slavko Matković, László Szalma), Collective Actions Group, Ľubomír Ďurček, Else Gabriel / Via Lewandowsky, Rimma Gerlovina, Tomislav Gotovac, Group of Six Artists, Bohumila Grögerová / Josef Hiršal, Gino Hahnemann, Václav Havel, Jörg Herold, Semyon Khanin (Orbita), Kinship Moho (Zuzana Jasenková, Kristína Országhová, Magdaléna Scheryová), Dávid Koronczi, Katalin Ladik, Yuri Leiderman / Andrey Silvestrov, Vlado Martek, Andrei Monastyrski, Monogramista T.D, Ladislav Novák, Pavel Novotný, NSRD (Hardijs Lediņš, Juris Boiko, Imants Žodžiks), OHO Group (Nuša & Srečo Dragan, Naško Križnar), Boris Ondreička, Orange Alternative, Roman Osminkin, Ewa Partum, Bogdanka Poznanović, Dmitri Prigov, Lev Rubinstein, Nóra Ružičková / Marianna Mlynárčiková, Mladen Stilinović, Gabriele Stötzer, Tamás Szentjóby, Bálint Szombathy, Raša Todosijević, Jaromír Typlt, Jiří Valoch. Nová synagóga, Žilina, Slovakia J. M. Hurbana 220/11, 010 01 Wednesday — Sunday, 1 p.m. — 7 p.m. free entry (voluntary)


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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.”


1951, Mulawicze / PL

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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