18.01.2013 - 05.05.2012
galeria Art Stations
in the title role:
Magdalena Abakanowicz, Paweł Althamer i grupa Nowolipie, Vanessa Beecroft, Edward Dwurnik, Aneta Grzeszykowska, Zofia Kulik, Zbigniew Libera, Jacek Malczewski, Anna Molska, Anna Niesterowicz, Roman Opałka, Zbigniew Rogalski, Wilhelm Sasnal, Zbigniew Warpechowski
kurator wystawy „Performer”: Łukasz Gorczyca
the film Performer was written and directed by:
Maciej Sobieszczański and Łukasz Ronduda
director of photography:
Art Stations Foundation by Grażyna Kulczyk
Telewizja Polska SA, Heliograf, Film Factory, Artcore
Polski Instytut Sztuki Filmowej
Performer is a special project, being both an exhibition by the artist Oskar Dawicki and a story about him as a fictional character that combines different disciplines – art, film and literature. The title’s performer, Dawicki’s alter ego, appears here in a variety of incarnations – including in the company of his friends from the art world and alongside works from the Grażyna Kulczyk Collection – as he continually explores the boundaries between the work of art and reality.
Oskar Dawicki was born in 1971 in Kociewie. He uses the methods of conceptual art and performance to reactivate the post-romantic figure of an artist infected with the existential pain of life. He produces postmodern total works in which art and life merge into one: a string of more or less spectacular disasters and small, everyday failures, all leading up to one final, great loss – death.
Dawicki ironises and assumes the role of an illusionist, putting on a somewhat too-small and faded brocade jacket to enchant the audience for a brief moment with his perverse sense of humour and wry scepticism. He leads us towards the ultimate experience, but also shows us numerous paths of escape. His formally diverse work and his “private” life are arranged in a logical sequence, forming the subject of the biographical novel Half-empty (2010), in which the artist Oskar Dawicki becomes a literary character. Release of the book’s second, updated edition will accompany the exhibition in the Art Stations gallery.
Another element of the game into which the artist draws us is a full-length feature film in which Dawicki plays himself. The exhibition being putting together is part of this project: it is part of the film set, but also a cinema in which you can see parts of the forthcoming film. It is another – in addition to the novel – form of narrative about the life and art of Oskar Dawicki that includes elements of retrospective and fiction, but also the artist’s personal and artistic friendships.
The exhibition consists of three main parts, presented on successive floors of the gallery: Artists’ Cemetery, Art and Film and The Oskar Dawicki Museum. Thus, from the very beginning, we find ourselves facing the ultimate experience. The performer’s grave in the film is surrounded by designs and models of graves that other artists – Dawicki’s friends and acquaintances – were asked to make for themselves. This unusual collection shows the art of contemporary artists in a rarely used today, eschatological perspective.
On the next floor, selected works from the Grażyna Kulczyk collection are juxtaposed with film portraits of the performer. They show the artistic traditions behind Dawicki’s work. This is, above all, an attempt to confront a variety of artistic approaches to the character – which, on the one hand, is the artist, who in engaging in a kind of total performance becomes a literary and film character; on the other is the classic formulae used for visually depicting the human figure: the portrait, nude, and character study. We see here the process of transformation that the figure undergoes in the arts – from the intense materiality and symbolics of figurative painting and sculpture to the dematerialisation and transitoriness of the movie character, fulfilling the child’s dream of jumping into a film.
On the top floor of the gallery is the Oskar Dawicki Museum – a retrospective of selected works by the artist with an emphasis on self-referential works and self-portraits. This is a study of the artist’s life through his own art, beginning with Advertising Project, in which the artist’s image was hidden in commercial print works he made to earn money, to his latest works with the meaningful titles 19 Years of Wasting Light and Portrait of a Man Who Sold His Father’s Kidney Stone.
The culmination of the exhibition will be a pre-premiere screening of Performer at the Art Stations Foundation by Grażyna Kulczyk, highlighting the involvement of the foundation in the production of the film, as well as the exhibition’s original formula, in which it becomes an extension of the film set and, at the same time, a complement to the story being told on the screen. (Łukasz Gorczyca)