He was born in Opole in 1972. Poet, painter, author of videos, objects, installations.
He was born in Opole in 1972. Poet, painter, author of videos, objects, installations. Author of critical and theoretical texts.
Author of critical and theoretical texts. He studied at the Opole Academy of Pedagogy and painting at the Krakow Academy of Fine Arts, where he earned a degree in 1997 under Prof Stanisław Rodziński. He lives and works in Krakow.
Roman Dziadkiewicz's practice goes beyond the traditional confines of art. He practices non-institutional education, creates projects blending art with social activism, studying the relationships between artistic individuality and the broad socio-political context as well as other areas of culture and life. His projects often assume the form of workshops (e.g. Thinking Workshop, 2004), public opinion surveys (What Is Important and What Is Most Important, from 2000), texts and manifestoes (The Manifesto of Doing Nothing, 2004). He usually carries them out in collaboration with invited partners, within the framework of collective initiatives such as 'Health Centre' Artistic Association (SAOZ) or Foundation 36.6. The SAOZ association, active in Krakow between 1999-2002, which Dziadkiewicz was the founder and president of, organised workshops, concerts, exhibitions, presentations, international artist meetings, and public-space activities. Its members said that it
"mixed art with life, literature, education, play, accounting, marketing and management, and social activism."
The SAOZ statutes said that
"the association is a permanent artistic action, its statutes and resolutions are literary texts, and its Managing Board and General Assembly meetings are performances."
In May 2003, taking the SAOZ model further, Roman Dziadkiewicz and musician Wojciech Kosma set up the Foundation 36.6, designed as a collective of artists and activists, which further moved the focus from art towards studying the social, political, or economical contexts of culture. One of the first projects carried out by the Foundation 36.6 artists (Dziadkiewicz, Zorka Wollny, Mateusz Kula, Michał Kowalski) was the Excursion to Krakow (2003), as part of which they played tourists for a couple of days to gain a new perspective on a city they actually lived in. The Foundation's activities include workshops, conferences, panel discussions, or artistic events. One of its most recent projects is the 36.6 Academy, a structure based on the Deleuzian rhizome model which is to pursue and provide non-institutional education and self-education through dialogue and direct contact.
Dziadkiewicz collaborated on several projects with the visual artist Zorka Wollny. One of those was the video Still Lifes (2004), in which the painterly motif, here as a set of objects arranged on a piece of cloth, was morphing, denying its 'still' nature. For the Palimpsest Museum show at the 2004 Łódź Biennale of Art, Dziadkiewicz and Wollny carried out a fictional Kidnapping of the Curator, which comprised a video imitating the typical victim-asking-for-ransom films (curator Aneta Szyłak eventually frees herself from the fetters and escapes) and a leaflet with a list of demands. These included demands connected directly with the project's execution (digital equipment, printing of leaflets, rent of hotel rooms), as well as with institutional functioning (the kidnappers demanding, among other things, "free admission for the unemployed to all the Biennale exhibitions and accompanying events" or "doubling the space devoted to contemporary art in the country's three largest daily newspapers and on each channel of the public radio and TV)". As the catalogue reads,
"Dziadkiewicz's piece, imitating amateur kidnapping-victim videos, reflects the soft-terror strategies practices by all the actors of cultural transmissions, and provides us with one of the possible codes of interpreting the exhibition as an attempt at the coherence and homogeneity of those transmissions."
As part of Re:Location Shake in Gdańsk in 2004, Dziadkiewicz carried out a series of activities at the Łaźnia Centre for Contemporary Art, referring to the institution's history and identity. During the opening, he played its director's personal bodyguard. He awarded the director, Jadwiga Charzyńska, the "role of an advocate of a liberal and democratic institution of contemporary art". At the same time, he ceremoniously unveiled a plaque naming the building's central heating installation after Aneta Szyłak, Łaźnia's co-founder and first director, ousted by the city hall back in 2001. It was a special gesture, because Szyłak's new institution, the Fundacja Wyspa Progress at the Gdańsk Shipyard, co-run with artist Grzegorz Klaman, lacked any heating at all. On top of that, in one of the Łaźnia spaces Dziadkiewicz presented CSW Wyspa's publications and a video featuring Klaman as the father of the Gdańsk CCA. He thus performed institutional criticism from within, as it were.
Robinson Crusoe or Stranger Than Paradise, a project carried out by Dziadkiewicz in Cleveland, Ohio, USA, in 2005, dealt with the relationship between fiction and reality in the North American context. The artist played Robison Crusoe, explorer and coloniser, casting the city residents (and Americans in general) as the natives. The project comprised 11 episodes (videos, installations, performances), the starting point of which were passages from Daniel Defoe's classic novel, events from the history of Cleveland, and the city's contemporary reality. One of the episodes featured the famous Noam Chomsky.
SFX: Audience, a project pursued since 2005, has been devoted to comparing and studying the structures and circumstances of the 'audience', in the broad sense of the word, in a Western democracy (Germany) and a transforming post-communist country (Poland). SFX is the film industry jargon for 'special effects'. After the Spanish philosopher Manuel Castells Dziadkiewicz uses the term to describe the 'contemporary virtual social space'. The project was to be based on a confrontation 'between symbolic SFX constructs and critical and creative reflection'. The artist invited artists and activists, as well as (or first of all) the exhibition's viewers to participate in the platform of democratic exchange. As he writes,
"normally we are all the system's audience and rotten collaborators. Insofar as we become involved in participation and dialogue (between ourselves and with the system), reviving the old Habermasian Lebenswelt, we reanimate human solidarity (however pompously this sounds)."
In 2006, as part of the Guide series at the National Museum in Krakow, Dziadkiewicz carried out a project called Imhibition, a term construed as an antonym of 'exhibition'.
"The neologism - the artist explains - refers to the English term 'imbibition' (the absorption of liquids by a solid body or gel), but it can also be associated with the psychological notion of 'inhibition', meaning not so much an opposite as a discontinuation of expressive processes. So imhibitional would be all introvert (and impressive), intimate, implosive (and dangerous) concentrative creative processes - that which is defined by looking, listening, or remembering and which avoids generating and distributing messages."
In collaboration with the series' curators Ewa Tatar and Dominik Kuryłek the artist organised at the 20th Century Polish Art Gallery a Panel of Works (metaphorically alluding to the motif of obscuring, erasing). He also produced a re-edition of Emil Zegadłowicz's 1935 poetry volume entitled Heathers. Just like the poet did then, he sent the five copies of the volume to five persons, handing one over to the museum with the reservation that it may be made available to the public only 50 years later. The whole project was, according to the artist himself,
an attempt to look at non-existence in the Eastern European, and more precisely, Krakow, version - at that which does not exist because it is hidden, has been oppressively deprived of a voice and an image, or has disappeared (out of embarrassment, fatigue, apathy), for instance in the spaces of the National Museum in Krakow.
During his residence stays at Chemnitz, Germany in the spring and autumn 2007, Dziadkiewicz initiated a project called Museum der Transformation, in a way developing the idea of Imhibition. It provides for setting up a semi-real, semi-fictional museum differing from other museum institutions in that its purpose would not be to preserve and conserve works of art, but to transform and critically absorb them.
Author: Karol Sienkiewicz, December 2007.
Selected solo exhibitions:
- "SFX: Publiczność" - Westfälischer Kunstverein, Münster, Germany
- "Robinson Crusoe or Stranger than Paradise" - Spaces Gallery, Cleveland, USA
- 2006 - "Imhibition" - part of the "Przewodnik" series, Muzeum Narodowe, Krakow
- 2001 - "Popelita" - Bunkier Sztuki, Krakow
- "Germinations 13 - Get out!" - Galeria Arsenał, Białystok
- "Pieniądze szczęścia nie dają" - Galeria Manhattan, Łódź
- "Look at Me / Spójrz na mnie", Krakow
- "Simon Sais 'Aloha' to Polish Art" - sthm art fair, Stockholm, Sweden
- "Sposób na życie" - Centrum Sztuki Współczesnej Łaźnia, Gdańsk
- "Palimpsest Muzeum - Biennale Sztuki w Łodzi", Muzeum Historii Miasta Łodzi, Łódź
- "BHP" - Instytut Sztuki Wyspa, Gdańsk
- "Nova Huta" - Westfälischer Kunstverein, Münster, Germany
- "Re:Location Shake" - Centrum Sztuki Współczesnej Łaźnia, Gdańsk
- 2005 - "Kolekcja Małopolskiej Fundacji Muzeum Sztuki Współczesnej" - Międzynarodowe Centrum Kultury, Krakow
- "Policja" - Bunkier Sztuki, Krakow
- "Models for a Fictional Academy" - Hungarian University of Fine Arts, Budapest, Hungary
- "Czechpoint" - C2C Gallery, Prague, Czech Republic
- "How to Do Things" - Centrum Sztuki Współczesnej, Kyiv, Ukraine
- Kunstraum Kreuzberg, Berlin, Germany
- "Obrazy jak malowane" - Galeria Bielska BWA, Bielsko-Biała