All posts by GaleriaLabirynt

Zygmunt Piotrowski

Zygmunt Piotrowski (Noah Warsaw), b. 1947. Lives and works in Warsaw. Graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, where he studied between 1969 and 1974. Since the early 1970s, Piotrowski has pursued multidisciplinary studies in the field of compositional group games and their application as “alternative education.” In the 1980s, the artist introduced a new vision of artistic collaboration, known as “Aufmerksamkeitsschule,” into European performance art, thus defining the program basis for the performance art movement  BLACK MARKET International, which he cofounded. (Biography removed from the records at the artist’s request by the Art Service Association, ASA-European, Cologne). Piotrowski works under the name Noah Warsaw outside the institutional frame of the art market. Since 1998, active in promoting a new field of artistic activity known as “Groundwork / Fine Art,” within which he explores visions of invisible spaces and extrasensory perception, which leads him towards the eastern sources of 喫靝 as a creative practice of Fine Art Performance.


Zygmunt Piotrowski, Communis, 1975, citation from the artist’s publication

“Communis” is the keyword of the “compositional group activities,” pursued by artist Zygmunt Piotrowski at the Dziekanka student house and art venue in Warsaw in the 1970s. Piotrowski concentrated primarily on the question of community: its nature and conditions. The activities under the banner “Communis”—run in the spirit of alternative education with students from Warsaw universities within Piotrowski’s Art and Research Studio—became an artistic emanation of the artist’s postulates concerning community.

Attention was paid primarily to communication and the empowerment of the individuals who were to build the community through conscious interactions and negotiations—as if they formed an artistic composition, whose every element fitted perfectly with the whole but at the same time preserved its distinctive character. Piotrowski argued that community needs to be built from the bottom-up, otherwise when it is decreed in a top-down fashion the result is coercion and a lack of authenticity.

The quotation presented in the exhibition originates from a description of the concept of “Communis,” published in 1975 by the artist, who implemented that concept in the course of his activities with students. Although this particular fragment includes a specific formulation of the idea and detailed etymological references, poetry dominates the remaining part of the publication. Piotrowski recognized this as less oppressive and univocal, and therefore a more appropriate means of expression for his concept.


Maria Olbrychtowicz

B. 1992 in Nowy Targ. Student of the Faculty of Intermedia at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków. In 2014 Olbrychtowicz received her Bachelor’s degree from the Audiosfera Studio. Her practice incorporates broadly understood sound art, video art, and performance. Participant in group shows in Poland and abroad, such as Audio Art Festival, Kraków, 2014; Arteles Reviev, Haukijärvi, Finland; Survival Art Festival, Wrocław. Is currently working on her Master’s project, “Reich for one building”.


Maria Olbrychtowicz, Jana Shostak, Who Is Your Pope?, 2016, banner, film documentation

During this year’s World Youth Day, the artists replaced one of the flags installed for the occasion at the Main Square in Kraków (presented in the exhibition) with a flag featuring the image of Pope Francis, created by emulating the visual identification of the event. Although the action of the artists had not been agreed upon with the organizers, as World Youth Day volunteers the artists did not face any obstacles, and they even received help to install the banner from firefighters who happened to be working nearby. The new banner remained in the Market Square for the duration of the event.

In the lead up to the event, the artist’s noticed an apparent omission of Pope Francis from the World Youth day promotional activity. This work was their riposte. Despite explanations from representatives of the Church that John Paul II appeared on flags in the Main Square as a patron of the event (alongside St. Sister Faustina), Olbrychtowicz and Shostak were not alone in the impression that the Polish organizers of the World Youth Days wanted to spotlight above all the “Polish” Pope. Similar comments appeared after an invitation to the event—which was read aloud in churches across Poland—failed to mention the visit of Pope Francis to Kraków, whereas the name of John Paul II featured twice.

Such “repression” is indicative of the attitude of a section of Catholic milieus in Poland towards the pontificate of Francis, which is recognised as groundbreaking in terms of the Pope’s praise of openness, tolerance, and modesty. The Catholic hierarchs in Poland and their political allies may sometimes find it difficult to reconcile the declarations and appeals of the Pope with their own promoted views. Hence the perception of Pope Francis in Poland is not always uncritical and his authority as the head of the Church is sometimes subject to relativisation.
As a mass event that attracts worldwide media attention, the World Youth Day provides an excellent opportunity for a variety of manifestations outside the official program. Jana Shostak not only replaced the flag in the Main Square, but also appeared at the internationally televised meeting between the Pope and volunteers with a banner “PAPA CALL ME!” and her phone number. Activities pursued during the World Youth Day by the artists, and by the group Faith and Rainbow (also present in the exhibition) are characterized by a critical edge that originates from within the community. The artists and activists wanted to become rightful members on the community’s own territory, which they “used” in a creative way. Their goal was not to negate the community or to demand a revolution, but to negotiate concessions, which they see as a more realistic pursuit if tangible change.



Małgorzata Malinowska/Kocur

B. March 19, 1959 in Sopot. Malinowska studied painting at the State Higher School of Visual Arts in Gdańsk, where she received a diploma in 1986 from the Faculty of Painting, Graphic Art and Sculpture. Between 1996 and 2007, the artist worked with Marek Kijewski in the duo Kijewski/Kocur. They explored the space of broadly understood contemporary visual culture and mass culture by applying their own strategy of SSS: surfing, scanning, sampling. These terms originate from the language of Internet users as well as producers of rap, hip-hop, and techno music, who rely heavily on musical samples from other pieces. The duo created their works with the use of “non-artistic” materials and found objects, such as colorful candies, balls, and Lego bricks. They also created neon signs.


Małgorzata Malinowska/Kocur, Whosoever Possesses the Holy Lance, Holds in his Hands the Destiny of the World, 2015, sculpture

The work was created as a commission for the decoration of the Holy Sepulchre at the Church of St. Joseph of the Visitationists in Warsaw—a yearly custom cultivated in many parishes. The artist’s work is animated by her reflection on the limits of the impact of devotional kitsch—on the tension that arises when the cross, an object of cult that carries a specific message, becomes an object that is thoughtlessly reproduced.

Malinowska’s interest focuses the way the holy symbol is processed in contemporary sacral popular culture: akin to most gadgets, an item manufactured in China. In the context of the mutual permeation of faith and culture, the artist seems to enquire about aesthetic blasphemy, which is fascinating and repulsive at the same time.

The multiplication of a formally trivialized element results in a sculpture that makes use of its pop-cultural ambiguity in order to convey a message about the sacred sphere in Poland today. The accumulation of lights, each in the shape of the cross, appears to suggest collective prayer (regardless of one’s religious denomination), which serves the faithful to express their longings, fears, and desires.

When the sculpture functioned as the main feature of the Holy Sepulchre in the aforementioned church, it became an object of profound adoration by the faithful, who prayed passionately facing the light cast by the work—a form made of aesthetically ambiguous elements. In this case, the spiritual charge of the used symbol prevailed and “neutralized” the material layer.

Inspired by the blade of the lance of St. Maurice, the form of the work references a broadly known relic, which stirs intense religious feelings in Catholicism, and, at the same time, stands as a symbol of power. Power is understood here in a two-fold way: as earthly agency which uses a religious symbol as an imperative that legitimizes its acts; and, perhaps above all, as the power of the religious community when the non-material value of the relic is transformed into a value that binds the entire community.






An artistic duo—Zofia Kulik (b. 1947 in Wrocław) and Przemysław Kwiek (b. 1945 in Warsaw)—active between 1971 and 1987. After graduating from the Faculty of Sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, the artists continued their research into the theory of Art of Activities—“ongoing efficient conduct in specific life, artistic, social, political, mental, material, and spatial situations.” In practice, such activities led them to produce harsh criticism of the Polish experience under Communism as well as to their engagement in a radical struggle with the institutions of the then-active political regime. The artists merged art and daily life by principle. They belonged to the first generation of Polish artists who rejected traditional means of expression at the turn of the 1970s and concentrated on the use of media as well as the mechanical record and reproduction of images.


KwieKulik, Manifestations, 1979–1982, Super 8mm film transposed to digital file

At the beginning of the 1970s, the artistic duo KwieKulik—Zofia Kulik and Przemysław Kwiek—found themselves among a group of artists who firmly embedded their artistic activity in a socio-political frame and proposed art that was intended to open the possibility of rethinking the dominant political doctrine and its underlying ideology.

Kulik and Kwiek also concentrated on the aesthetics of state propaganda, official gatherings, and celebrations. The artists pursued visual research into this sphere, which formed a major part of their artistic activities in such projects as “Variations of Red” from 1971. The beginning of the 1980s saw a cycle of film documentation produced under the common title “Manifestations,” which featured substantial public gatherings: the May Day Parade of 1979 in Warsaw, and mass celebrated by Pope John Paul II (also held in 1979 in the Polish capital). The other two ceremonies were filmed from television broadcasts of the Olympic Games in Moscow in 1980 and the ceremonial funeral of Leonid Brezhnev in 1982 in the capital of the former USSR.

The film footage created by KwieKulik portrays public gatherings of diverse character: political, religious, and sporting events, while the breadth of their ideological spectrum is striking. Crowds are drawn both by a Papal mass and by a May Day Parade— events which sit at opposite sides of the ideological continuum. As we watch the images of groups united in celebrations we may find it difficult to recognize them as genuine communities. They seem to be decreed in a top-down fashion by the state authorities or formed under the powerful influence of religious or sporting symbols.


Milena Korolczuk

B. 1984 in Białystok. Lives and works in Oakland, California. In 2010 the artist received her MFA diploma in painting from the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznań. Since her graduation Milena has presented her multimedia art projects at individual exhibitions (“Blue Bird,” Raster Gallery, Warsaw, 2013; “Nostalgia of Now,” Arsenał Gallery, Białystok, 2012) and group shows (“The School of Kyiv – Kyiv Biennial 2015,” Kyiv, 2015; “Procedures for the Head/ Polish Art Now,” Kunsthalle Bratislava, 2015). Her works have also featured at the art fairs LISTE in Basel and NADA in Miami. In 2014, Milena began writing film scripts and exploring her interest in feature filmmaking. The artist is currently a student of the American Film Institute in Los Angeles and is working on “Łopuchow”—a graphic novel devoted to growing up in a Polish provincial town during the period of the country’s democratic and free market transition.


Milena Korolczuk, Białystość, 2010, video, 4’54”

Against the backdrop of an azure sky, a girl dressed in an airy white dress is dancing to the rhythm of church bells. Despite the connotations of religious ceremonies that this sound carries, Korolczuk’s video does not emanate the spirit of cult practices embedded in institutional frames. The artist proposes an approach to religious celebrations that blurs the distinction between the Christian denominations (in Białystok, a city with a strong Orthodox community, the sound of church bells could conceivably come from either a Catholic or an Orthodox church). Yet, above all, her act deems invalid the division between any belief systems as it brings to mind the experience of profound trance, ecstasy in dance—a state that many cultures and religions worldwide perceive as an encounter with their deities.


Ada Karczmarczyk

Ada Karczmarczyk, a.k.a. ADU, b. 1985, lives and works in Warsaw. Graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznań, Faculty of Multimedia Communications. Multimedia artist, performer, blogger, composer, and singer. Her work merges the separate and conflicting worlds of popular culture, spirituality, and art. Awarded numerous art prizes, such as the Views 2015 – Deutsche Bank Award. Participant in many exhibitions in Poland and abroad. In 2010 the artist completed an artistic residency in New York City.


Ada Karczmarczyk, The Brides, 2015, video 4’18”, photographs

The artist’s music video to her own song and a series of three photographs derive inspiration from the vision of the Church as the Bride of Christ. Ada Karczmarczyk portrays the Church as a woman, or rather a girl, which taps into the artist’s trademark pop aesthetic. A major question inherent in this work concerns the differences between the three Christian denominations: Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox. Drawing on her observations and impressions, Karczmarczyk translates these differences into a set of fashion styles.

However, the differentiation is important for the artist not only at the level of aesthetic and image, but also in the context of the ecumenical discourse. In an interview published in Szum magazine on the occasion of the Views 2015—Deutsche Bank Award ceremony (“The Brides” premiered at the exhibition that accompanied the contest at the Zachęta – National Gallery of Art in Warsaw; Karczmarczyk was awarded second prize), the artist stated that the Christian churches of different traditions should be “united, but not uniform.” “The Brides” suggests an encounter between the denominations, and a celebration of their differences with chic.

Yet, obviously enough, Karczmarczyk’s project does not merely serve the internal dialogue between the Christian denominations—it is pursued in the language of contemporary art and on its territory. Importantly, the ideological and aesthetic strategy represented by Karczmarczyk, whose declared goal is evangelization by artistic means, distinguishes her both on the contemporary art scene and in the evangelization mission of the Catholic Church. Emanating the spirit and aesthetics of popular culture, the artist’s practice is an experiment with the channels of communication between the potential “faithful” of both those communities.



Michał Dobrucki

Graduate of the Faculty of Intermedia of the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków, where he received his diploma in 2015 from the Performance Art Studio. Dobrucki is presently a Master’s student in the Faculty of Painting and New Media at the Academy of Art in Szczecin. His interests revolve around film, theatre, and the wild aspects of culture, as well as this culture’s motivations. Select activities and group shows include “KINO LAB /,” CCA Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw; “THE DARK MATTER OF THE ART WORLD #1,” Klub Bomba, Kraków; INTERMÉDE FESTIVAL, Szpitalna 1, Kraków; and “Conversations with Plants,” Księgarnia / Wystawa, Kraków. The artist collaborated with Michał Borczuch on his spectacle “Paradiso,” Łaźnia Nowa Theatre, Nowa Huta and the short theatrical form “Mikro Teatr / Assholes”, Komuna Warszawa.


Michał Dobrucki, Confession, 2015, performance footage, 9’50”

“Confession” does not feature any filmed images. The soundtrack consists of dialogue, accompanied by the sounds of a holy mass heard in the background. It documents an act of atonement: a real life confession made by the artist—a confidential conversation that has been recorded and presented in public. Inside the confessional Dobrucki talks about his life and doubts using quotes from Ingmar Bergman’s film “The Seventh Seal.”

In so doing, the artist evokes fundamental existential issues. Yet the staged situation and the performed role gain authenticity as a dialogue owing to the approach of the priest, who ventures to answer the doubts and wants to share the burden of indecision. It is does not matter if he is aware of his role in the artist’s work.

Dobrucki’s interests focus on the questions raised by the ritual of washing away sins, a procedure that releases the individual from the committed moral wrongs and restores the ties with the religious community. The ritual requires contrition and shame for the committed wrongs. Dobrucki’s artistic activity, which feeds on the sacrament of penance, is an attempt to recreate this rite of passage.

His work can be described as a profanation in its original sense—relocating the sacrament from the sacred sphere to the sphere of use with a view to understanding its mystery and transformative force. How is penance for sins chosen? What is the gravity of this act? What is the power of forgiveness? How can it influence the community? If a performance adopts the form of a confession; Does it wash away the sins?




Hubert Czerepok

Hubert Czerepok, b. 1973 in Słubice. Graduate of the Kenar Art School in Zakopane and the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznań, where he studied in the workshops of Izabela Gustowska and Jan Berdyszak. The artist completed postgraduate studies at the Jan van Eyck Academie in Maastricht, Netherlands (2002–2003), and at the Higher Institute for Fine Arts in Antwerp, Belgium. Between 2006 and 2013, Czerepok worked as an assistant professor, and later associate professor, at the Video Art Studio at the University of Fine Arts in Poznań. He is currently a professor at the Faculty of Painting and New Media at the Academy of Fine Arts in Szczecin. Participant in many exhibitions in Poland and abroad. As part of the artistic duo Magisters (with Zbyszek Rogalski), he produced absurd photographs and movies. In cooperation with Sebastian Mendez, he created the strategy game “Survivors Of The White Cube,” a simulation of the art world. Czerepok’s multifaceted oeuvre escapes unambiguous typecasting. His actions demonstrate how images function in visual culture, and his strategy of mystification makes it possible to defuse the traditional mechanism of perception.


Hubert Czerepok, Foe Is Born, 2007, neon sign

“Foe is Born” forms part of a series of neon signs by Hubert Czerepok with ominous slogans that deliver a more or less direct commentary on the condition of contemporary Polish society (such as “You’ll never be a Pole” and “It’s a scandal for a Pole not to have enough civil courage to punch a helpless man”). The neon signs identify a particular sense of affiliation with a national or religious community, and the resulting exclusions.

Tapping into his trademark strategy of repetition and appropriation, Czerepok modifies the first verse of a popular Polish Christmas carol (“God is born…”). Thus, the artist denounces the brutal exclusivity of the religious community built on a strict division between “us” and “them.” Czerepok’s neon signs may be understood as a warning, and an appeal, for a critical examination of the impact of national and religious ideologies, which may potentially pave the way toward hostility and violence.


Przemysław Branas

B. 1987, PhD candidate in Interdisciplinary Doctoral Studies at the University of Arts in Poznań. Graduate of the Faculty of Intermedia at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków. Participant in the festivals, Embodied Action, Hong Kong, 2016; GUYU ACTION Performance Art Festival, China, 2016; Polish Performance Night, Le Lieu Gallery, Quebec, 2014. Branas presented his works at the individual exhibition “Moro,” Galeria Wschodnia, Łódź, 2013 and the show “Hiccups,” part of Photomonth Festival at MOCAK, Kraków, 2014. Bestowed the 2015 Szara Kamienica prize.


Przemysław Branas, Hyena, 2014/2015, object, slideshow

“Hyena” by Przemysław Branas is essentially a trace of the artist’s activity created over an extended period of time. The work comprises scarce photographic documentation of a process completed by the artist, as well as the outcome: a wax cast in the shape of a small coffin from the nineteenth century. For nine months Branas paid regular visits to cemeteries in order to pick up discarded grave lanterns and candles from rubbish bins. At the same time, he would recast the found objects in his own kitchen, and later basement, into the object on display.

This cemetery “recycling” processed the remnants of grave candles into a different artefact from the repertoire of material culture that accompanies death. The artist’s extension of the “death-cycle” can be understood with reference to cultivating the memory of the departed, but also to a persistently recurring form of mourning. Such unaccomplished mourning is a major component of the idealized identity of the Polish nation, which perceives historic defeats as a source of pride and a sacrifice offered by “Poland, the Christ of Nations.” Akin to mourning that has not been worked through, and continues to reappear in a reflection on “Polishness,” the artist persistently keeps the traces of memory of the anonymous departed from disappearing.


Paweł Althamer

B.1967. Lives and works in Warsaw. Althamer studied at the Faculty of Sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw between 1988 and 1993, where he received a diploma from the studio of Professor Grzegorz Kowalski. Sculptor, performer, action artist. Creates installations and video works. Alongside Katarzyna Kozyra, Jacek Adamas, and Jacek Markiewicz, Althamer formed one of the leading groups of Polish art in the 1990s—the so-called “Kowalnia” (artists from the studio of Professor Kowalski). Honored with the prestigious Vincent Award, awarded by the Dutch foundation de Broere (2004). The artist uses unconventional materials, highlighting the organic, material, and transient character of the human body. His work has contributed to redefining the concept of “social sculpture.” Employs a wide range of techniques and methods, working in the field of figural sculpture as well as social actions and interventions. Althamer is known for his uncompromising and loyal approach to his artistic vocation. Represented by the Foksal Gallery Foundation in Warsaw.


Paweł Althamer, The Garden of Eden, 2009, sculpture-garden

Paweł Althamer’s practice relies on a subtle game between the mundane and the extraordinary character of situations of everyday life, eliciting both charm and a spiritual dimension. The exhibition illustrates this approach with a project produced through the co-creation of the sculpture “The Garden of Eden” with the residents of the Warsaw high-rise residential estate Bródno. The sculpture-garden situated in the Bródno Park comprises various plant species and undergoes ongoing transformations as plants grow and new ones are added.

Building a fragment of the garden of Paradise in a municipal park resembles an attempt at establishing a secular holiday, forming a community around an object that provides an opportunity to meet and act together. A photograph showing the group of people involved in building the garden later became part of the decoration of a parish church. In this case the strategy of “enchantment” profited from the aura and authority of the Church.