"... the important thing is the constant search for what is grander and better than me", said Warpechowski, pioneer of performance art. Zacheta National Gallery of Art is holding a retrospective of his work.
The Zachęta exhibition will be the first large-scale exhibition of the work of performance artist, painter and poet Zbigniew Warpechowski. Its presentation is anchored in the broader context of his work in the mainstream art world. Warpechowski, as Zacheta aims to show, had close relations with the Krakow counterculture, Polish neo-avant garde and artists Jerzy Bereś, Tadeusz Kantor, Ewa Partum and Andrzej Partum.
The retrospective spans 50 years of Warpechowski's work and reveals its range of themes and diversity of form. He created visual poetry, conceptual works, and performances, inspired by politics, the philosophies of the East, and the concept of "Nothing".
"The documentation is merely a medium allowing a performance to have a more prolonged existence in time and space; it is not, however, the artist’s goal, as testified by the often poor technical quality of the video recordings made during actions. It is for this reason that the exhibition presents first and foremost those recordings which make it possible to get a sense of the artist’s striving to achieve authentic experiences and his sense of the metaphysical character of reality, as well as the desire to involve others in this process," reads the gallery's press release.
Also shown at Zacheta are the artist's texts and drafts, props and costumes which played an important part in his work, and paintings, sculptures and poetry that were close to the artist. At various locations within the exhibition, a number of places have been set up to accomodate Warpechowski’s performances.
Zbigniew Warpechowski (born 1938) was a precursor of performance art in Poland and one of the first artists in the world to develop performance art, as well as a creator of paintings, poetry, art theory, philosophy and film sets. He was a member of the second Kraków Group from 1985 and the international group Black Market (from 1986), and author of the books: Podręcznik (1990), Zasobnik (1998), Podnośnik (2001), Statecznik (2004), Podręcznik bis (2006), and Konserwatyzm awangardowy (2014). He made his debut in Kraków with the poetic-musical action Improvisation (1967) with the participation of Tomasz Stańko. Amongst his most famous actions can be counted Dialog z rybą (Dialogue with a Fish) (1974), Dialog ze śmiercią (Dialogue with Death) (1976) and Champion of Golgotha (1978).
„ZBIGNIEW WARPECHOWSKI. IT“
Zachęta – National Gallery of Art, Warsaw
Curated by: Joanna Kordjak-Piotrowska, Dominik Kuryłek
Collaboration: Katarzyna Kołodziej, Zuzanna Sękowska
Source: Zachęta, translator MJ 03/09/2014