artluk nr 1/2017

Jerzy Truszkowski

Andrzej Dudek-Duerer is the most consequent and radically total artist in Poland. Since 1969 every day, week, month and year he has worn only one, always the same pair of shoes, constantly repaired by himself. Since 1969 he has worn all the time, day after day, the same pair of jeans, which after years consist only of patches. The artist is a real living sculpture and his life is a real piece of performance art.
For the cover of this issue of Artluk Andrzej Dudek-Duerer selected his gelatine silver print on paper from 1973, titled Selfcrucifixion. The self-portrait of the young artist is full of authentic existential pain, not easy to find in the fully rationalized, fashionable and elegant Polish art of 1970s … Starting in the 1960s as a painter and a photographer, in the 1970s he became an outstanding figure of Polish art, the most characteristic person in Wroclaw (former German Breslau, the capital city of Lower Silesia region, the biggest city of the south-west part of Poland, just halfway between Warsaw and Prague).
As a teenager for six years I lived with my mother 70 km south of Wroclaw, near Walbrzych – the city of coal mines and really heavy industry, just next to the Czech border. At that time my father living in Warsaw taught me to ride a bike, to skate, to ski and to swim in our Polish Baltic Sea without fear of huge waves, and he also taught me to pay visits to big public art galleries and big museums in Warsaw being not afraid of huge paintings. My mother taught me to type with all my fingers on her Erika typewriter  manufactured by a German company Naumann. In 1945 my mother graduated a typewriting course in Gliwice (the well-known industrial and cultural city in Upper Silesia). In Gliwice she also graduated an evening high school for working persons.
Not so long ago I saw a really huge historical exhibition on Wroclaw’s and Lower Silesia’s art at the biggest Warsaw public art gallery (where my father took me for the first time in the 1960s). A visitor could see plenty of pieces of many “very reasonable, elegant and fashionable” female and male artists (some of them paid a visit to Lower Silesia perhaps only one time in the 80s). Recently my pieces and pieces of my audiovisual group N.A.O. Sternenhoch were shown in Wroclaw at a huge historical exhibition devoted specially to the alternative music and art movements of the 80s in Wroclaw. At both exhibitions I looked for some information about, for instance, such  artists from Wroclaw city like bass player Jagielka or Dudek-Duerer …
At both exhibitions there was no information on Irena Jagielka’s band Mozg … no pieces of art from Wroclaw’s Katakumby alternative art gallery … no photographs from the great archives of Wroclaw’s Zakład nad Fosą gallery of art activities … no works of Wroclaw’s performer Wojciech Stefanik … no pieces of the most radically total Polish artist, the famous legendary Wroclaw’s living sculpture Andrzej Dudek-Duerer.
Andrzej Dudek-Dürer, „Selfcrucifiction”, 1973, performance in the One Person Gallery, Wrocław, Poland, photograph. The work is in the collection of the National Museum in Wrocław.

Grażyna Borowik
Viva Arte Viva

Viva Arte Viva – that enthusiastic, joyful shout in honour of art accompanies the 57th La Biennale di Venezia and seems to originate from an imaginary reality which does not match a world entangled in brutal conflicts, power, politics, and global consumptive economy. The question of a place and meaning of art appears to be particularly important and grave in face of everyday images of tragedies, calamities and deaths storming our households through a stream of media reports.
However, even though situation since the last Biennale (which gathered works expressing concern for the fate of our planet and its inhabitants, channelling fear raised by acts of aggression, ongoing wars, racial and religious conflicts, ecological threats, social disparities, and migrating “aliens”) had significantly worsened, it didn’t stop Christine Macel, the curator of this year’s Biennale, from turning her back to reality and shouting passionately “Long Live Art”. Macel – a graduate of art history, chief curator of the Musée National d’Art Moderne Centre Pompidou in Paris since 2000, an author of numerous books, essays and catalogues – decided to charm audience with optimism, faith in the power of creative actions able to save the world and natural environment, return people their dignity, restore spirituality, protect freedom, establish order, work for the community, dispose of egoism, simply enjoy life. She assigned the artists a special role because it is them who, seeing and feeling more than others, influence the “shape of tomorrow”. Paolo Bratta, the president of La Biennale di Venezia since 1998, gave his inauguration speech a similar tone.

Erwin Wurm, “Stand Quiet and Look out Over the Mediterranean Sea”, a one-minute performative sculpture, a lorry, mixed techniques, 874 × 240 × 1274 cm, 2016–2017, Austrian Pavilion, Gardini. © A. Dudek-Dürer

Katarzyna Jeleń

How many times has each of us had a sense of déjà-vu? Felt like there was something more than proverbial 'here and now'? Entertained the thought that the world might not end at the moment of our passing and that our so-called 'existence' might not have begun at the moment of our birth? Andrzej Dudek-Dürer, a performance artist from Wrocław, chose such a way of thinking. He is treated as controversial in Western culture as he makes an attempt to follow the principles of the East. In his youth, having experienced traumatic events, he tried to find the meaning of birth and death. Unfortunately, the latter seemed to be closer to him back then. The death of family members left its mark on him, distancing him from the external world. Gradually learning about the Eastern philosophy and studying the works of Eastern thinkers, he attempted to move from the state of solitude, sadness, grief and confusion to the feeling of peace and broadly understood love, finding the meaning of existence, autocreation and self-realisation in art.
Such an event in life which transforms bad experiences and negative situations into the good, into bettering oneself and progression is called positive disintegration. Such disintegration occurred in the case of the artist and owing to it Andrzej Dudek-Dürer is now following the path of art.
The period in which the young performer began to create his art is meaningful as he started his activity in the times of counterculture. Communism only allowed for art which was compliant with socialist beliefs or which was deemed to be harmless for the state system. Performance art, as well as conceptual art, was the phenomena that did not fit into the official ideology and the censorship itself. The young artist opposed the authorities, defied them. It also seemed vital to him to show his anti-consumerist attitude, a kind of rebellion and manifestation, which was visible in his image, especially shoes and trousers that he wore, but also his whole person. Taking care of his body and soul, through the awareness of revival, breathing and movement, he nurtured them so that they could serve him well through the years of his existence as a Living Sculpture. Such an attitude also stemmed from his determination to fight for his freedom and for his art to be placed at the same level as his life. Because his whole existence is at the same time his art.
Translation Marta Szymczakowska
Andrzej Dudek-Dürer, „Living Sculpture”, 2007, performance during the 52nd Venice Biennale, photograph, solvent print, 100 cm x 75,5 cm.

Grzegorz Borkowski

Why contemporary art is still such a rare occurrence in Polish natural landscape? After all, artists are not strangers to ecological awareness, and yet they definitely prefer to intervene in industrial or post-industrial environments, leaving subjects related to nature for the works exhibited in galleries or urbanized spaces.
Without doubt, practicality is an important factor. It’s easier to prepare a show in an institution located in a city, or even a small town, than it is to work outside it with a team of technicians. Forces of nature are also a challenge. Not every work of art will endure cold, rain or gale. Add to that a matter of audience – a common belief is that an urban audience will swallow current artistic strategies and narrations, whereas people in rural and other areas might not. Thus, some form of additional basic education is necessary.
What is even more essential is a limiting conviction that the natural environment for contemporary artists is everything except the nature itself, and that taking an interest in natural landscape is a domain of traditionalists who identify art with conventional aestheticization. To cross such practical and ideological barriers something more than just a hipster defiance is required. It’s mandatory to start discerning the mental and visual value of non-urbanized context to art.
Luckily, there are idealistic, desperate artists, who try to question aforementioned notions, and take both the natural and societal challenges. They are supported by a founding myth of the 1960s land art, as well as a more general feeling that the urban, artistic gallery network constantly ignores something important. Thanks to such fanatics this year we can attend the seventh edition of Land Art Festival, the third in Podlasie Bug Gorge Landscape Park where we can already admire works created in 2015 and 2016.
Robert Kuśmirowski, “USO / Uindentified Spinning”, object, Zwierzyniec, 2013. Photo: Land Art Festival press release

Paweł Sosnowski

During the vernissages and later meetings, banquets and cocktail parties in Venice one subject has been commonly considered as distasteful – the Damien Hirst’s exhibtion “Treasures From the Wreck of the Unbelievable”. The Biennale mainstream turned their heads away when vaporetto passed by Palazzo Grassi and Punta della Dogana, where the artist had been preparing his gigantic exhibition for many years. It seems that such an enormous effort should be rewarded. Hence the question, where does this ostracism towards, after all, the biggest star of contemporary art scene come from?
It’s true that Hirst is not a very likeable persona. He appeared at the Biennale for the first time in 1993 with a scandalous artwork “Mother and Child” – a cow and a calf cut in half and put in glass tanks filled with formalin. Already at this point the artist’s studio turned into an animal dissecting room. “I think I’ve got an obsession with death, but I think it’s like a celebration of life rather than something morbid”, he said during an opening of hist exhibition of colourful compositions made of thousands of dead butterflies. One can say his second obsession are money. He masterfully combines being an artist and a businessman. Presumably, he might be the richest artist in the world. There is a very telling anecdote about him: Hirst employed a team of people to produce his works, among others a bunch of students to paint the “Dot Paintings”. One day a girl at the end of her internship shows him a small painting riddled with dots and says “I made so many paintings for you, but this one is a souvenir for myself. Could you sign it, please?, to which Hirst replies “You made it, you sign it!”.
The Venice exhibition is a monumental, lifetime achievement. He worked on it for years. It’s probably the biggest individual project any living artist has made – filling two huge museums with hundreds of objects created of bronze, marble, resin, malachite, crystal and gold. The exhibition is a display of professionalism and creative potential of the artist, who easily handles every material, medium, and scale – jumping from a tiny coin to a small sculpture, and finally to an eighteen-metre-tall monstrosity.
Damien Hirst, “Demon with Bowl”, sculptural installation, 2017, Palazzo Grassi. Photo: P. Sosnowski’s archives

Emilia Chorzępa

Given a collective umbrella term of Draft Systems, the main events of the 17th WRO Media Art Biennale were held on 17–21 May, 2017. Unlike two years ago, the works on display were distributed across more numerous and more conceptually, historically and architectonically differentiated venues (shows were organised, for example, at the National Museum, the Renoma Department Store, the WRO Art Center, in the basement of the White Stork Synagogue and in the cellar of the old Ballestrem Palace). This helped divide a stunningly wide collection of works into smaller exhibitions, each identified with a different, slightly problematising title. Besides imbuing the variety of video projections, installation pieces and performances with some order, this manoeuvre certainly lent considerable dynamics to the process of “visiting and viewing.”
Both the overall title and the “subtitles” addressed the topic of mutability, or fluidity, of systems, their fleeting character and, also, their occasional adaptability to new conditions, as well as human adaptability to systems that, with increasing frequency, happen to function beyond society’s (or the user’s) general consciousness. The theme is not only compelling but also highly relevant to the current political, economic, and social conjuncture. So it hardly comes as a surprise that many of the featured works directly explored the systems of power and politics.   

Alexandra Hołownia
What Can We Learn From Documenta 14 in Kassel?

On 9 June 2017 a second part of Documenta 14 in Kassel has been opened. It will close this year on 16 September. Meanwhile, Documenta 14 in Athens (lasting between 8 April and 17 July 2017) opened two months earlier. Adam Szymczyk, an art historian and a curator, has been appointed as an art director of that prestigious exhibition of contemporary art. Until 2013 the Pole held a position of the director of Kunsthalle Basel. In 2011 he received a Walter Hopps prize for curatorial achievements, awarded by Huston-based Menil Foundation. Preparing Documenta 14, Szymczyk assembled a team of seventeen curators: Pierre Bal-Blanc, Marina Fokidis, Hendrik Folkerts, Natasha Ginwala, Candice Hopkins, Salvatore Lacagnina, Quinn Latimer, Andrea Linnenkohl, Hila Peleg, Paul B. Preciado, Dieter Roelstraete, Erzen Shkololli, Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, Elena Sorokina, Monika Szewczyk, Paolo Thorsten-Nagel, Katerina Tselou. These people created gigantic programmes of the double Documenta 14. As Szymczyk explained, the goal of his concept is to, among others, examine an influence of an urban agglomeration on art. In my opinion, however, that aspect is barely noticeable. All invited artists showed their works in both Athens and Kassel. The only thing that mattered was that every object exhibited in both places had to be created from the same or similar materials.
Documenta 14 provides an insight into the progress of art over the world during the centuries. Next to Socialist Realism portraits of the Albanian and Kazakh Stakhanovites one can admire Arnold Bode – the founder of Documenta – painted by Gerhard Richter, as well as performances by Prinz Golam – a gay duo representing LGBT community. Sound installations by, among others, Alving Lucier, my favourite composer, were also present. Not to mention films registering performances of dancers and choreographers, such as Anna Halprin or Alexandra Bachzetsis.
Personally, I’m against including into Documenta activities from the frontiers of visual arts. Dancers and musicians have their own festivals and ought not to “deprive” fine arts artists of places to exhibit. In this case the expanded notion of art works one-sidedly. After all, the contemporary dance festival are mostly not very keen to accept visual artists.
Hans Hacke, a poster. © A. Hołownia

Joanna Sitkowska-Bayle

The famous Centre Georges Pompidou – a pioneering cultural institution whose seat has become an architectural icon of a second half of the 20th century – celebrates this year its 40th anniversary. After four decades of existence, during which other cultural institutions of Paris didn’t stop to expand their offer, Centre Pompidou’s (fondly called Beaubourg) attractiveness did not diminish at all. In 2015, after the November terrorist attacks, when attendance in the Louvre and other capital museums dropped by over a dozen percent, Beaubourg reported an increase in visitors. It is worth considering what drives its unabated success.
When in 1969, after a wave of contestation movements of a second half of 1960s, Georges Pompidou had been elected the president of France, New York held the title of a world capital of the western culture for some time already. Pompidou, a humanist, author of an anthology of French poetry, a great admirer and collector of contemporary art, decided to create a new type of a state institution that could help Paris to regain its lost prestige. Some say he was inspired by André Malraux, a minister of culture who wanted to promote art by opening cultural centres all over France. Malraux considered them “the cathedrals of the 20th century”. However, Pompidou’s vision reached much further.

Centre Georges Pompidou. © Joanna Sitkowska-Bayle

Piotr Wełmiński

Is it possible to retouch the reality? Both in the past and in the present we can see insistent efforts to erase people from politics, social life or art. That practice, along with misrepresenting the facts, has become an important weapon in a struggle for power. It seemed that an era of simple social engineering tricks was gone for good after the fall of communist regime. Unfortunately, a part of society is still prone to manipulation, and politicians are eager to cynically exploit that. Maybe it’s just a nostalgia for the times of youth in Polish People’s Republic, when everything was “simple and clear”? Sadly, many young people, who did not experience the reality of those times, are easily influenced by the propaganda served by mass media tied to certain political circles. Did history teach us nothing?
A “Retouch” exhibition in Duża i Mała Scena UAP Gallery in Poznań was undoubtedly an attempt to answer that question.
“The problem of a deliberate modification of images – in the political, as well as in a broader social context – puts fine arts in a very centre of a ‘war for the control over image’, which can take a variety of forms. The artists, aware of that, play with a question of ‘the truth of image’ … by trying to make a political strategy of visual retouch their own creative method. Them taking control over images takes various shapes and often serves as a mean to expose the official political rhetorics employed within instrumentalized artworks” – writes in the foreword Mateusz M. Bieczyński, curator of the exhibition.
1. “Woroszyłow, Mołotow, Stalin, Jeżow at the Moscow Canal”, 1937. Photo: “Retouch” exhibition press release, Duża i Mała Scena UAP Gallery
2. “Woroszyłow, Mołotow, Stalin at the Moscow Canal”, 1940. Photo: “Retouch” exhibition press release, Duża i Mała Scena UAP Gallery

9 www.walbrzych.wroclaw.warszawa.poznan.lublin.pl
Jerzy Truszkowski

12 La Biennale di Venezia 57th International Art Exhibition
Nine Paths to Art
Grażyna Borowik

18 48th Art Basel
A Hunt for Jean-Michel Basquiat
Alexandra Hołownia

22 Playing With Imaging Conventions
David Hockney – a Youthful 80-Year-Old
in Tate Britain
Magdalena Durda-Dmitruk

26 The Private Mythologies of Robert Rauschenberg
Magdalena Durda-Dmitruk

28 Documenta 14
What Can We Learn From Documenta 14 in Kassel?
Alexandra Hołownia

33 17th WRO Media Art Biennale
Authorities’ Systems / Information Systems /
Sub-Systems / System Errors / Outside the System
Emilia Chorzępa

38 Time of Elementary
Paula Gortazar interviews Jerzy Olek

42 Art in Fire
Michał Staszczak

46 Lev Stern

48 Agata Siecińska
Martyres Doloris
Temi Hirch

52 Repetitio Et Differentia
Jerzy Truszkowski

54 Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris
A Victim of It’s own Success?
Joanna Sitkowska-Bayle

58 Declaration of Objection
Malina Barcikowska

60 Biennale 2017
Two Worlds of Art
Paweł Sosnowski

62 The Way of Contemporary Land Art
Grzegorz Borkowski

66 “Absent Artist”
or How Did Paweł Łubowski Stole
the Idea of Contemporary Art
Mateusz Maria Bieczyński

70 Vaporwave, nostalgia, romanticism
At the Margin of Frank Warzechas Exhibition
Maksymilian Wroniszewski

72 Retouching the World
Piotr Wełmiński

Małgorzata Łuczyna, Jacek Złoczowski

76 NA druhé straně (Zrcadla)
Agata Smalcerz

78 In, Through, To
Jerzy Olek

80 Andrzej Dudek-Dürer
Trans… position of Reality
Katarzyna Jeleń