When Will I Be Little Again? – Artists

Paweł Althamer lives in Warsaw. His media are sculpture, video film, performative action and installation. His works are socially engaged and interactive; Althamer often collaborates with other artists, communities and audiences. For the Bródno project, he organised a large-scale group performance: the residents of a tower block on a Warsaw housing estate turned their lights – as appropriate – on or off, which resulted in the creation of the illuminated date ‘2000’  up one side of the building. The combination of art, social action and intervention in local situations took place on an even larger scale in his project Common Task, which the artist embarked on in 2008 and which continues to this day. With his family and friends, Althamer visits various places, where together they intervene in the daily life of the local residents. Since 1994, Althamer has run a sculpture workshop with Grupa Nowolipie. In the exhibition at Cricoteka, the artist has shown his sculpture Jael – a portrait of his daughter, made from objects found during a family holiday in Płochocinek.

 

Guy Ben-Ner is an Israeli artist who lives in New York. He is renowned for his series of short films, in which he appears together with his family. He frequently uses the backdrop of his own apartment: his studio, living room or kitchen. His works lend themselves to being shown as discrete individual screenings or as part of installations presenting film props or film sets. The films by Guy Ben-Ner are frequently adaptations of well-known literary works or films. In Stealing Beauty (2007), the artist’s entire family took part in a guerrilla action in IKEA stores. Moving from one domestic interior on display to the next, they improvised scenes from domestic life, whether discussions or watching TV. In the exhibition When Will I Be Little Again? the artist is showing his film Moby Dick in the format of slapstick comedy that he made together with his daughter.

 

Karina Bisch lives in Paris. She has been chiefly inspired by modernism, the history of the European artistic avant-garde and applied arts. Her work shows unusual sensitivity to colour and form, within a historical context. Bisch employs a variety of media such as painting, performance and installation. She takes a comprehensive approach to the gallery space, combining her exhibition with performative action, for which she designs costumes and props. She often covers the gallery walls with paintings, using characteristic combinations of motifs that draw on the traditions of the Bauhaus or Schlemmer’s Triadic Ballet. Especially for Cricoteka, the artist has designed a mural of her own portrait. The image has the hallmark features of her style: flat surfaces of colour combined with strong contours.

 

Christian Boltanski lives in Paris. He is one of the most prominent contemporary artists, discovered in 1968 through his short films and the publication of his sketchbooks. Both his films and his sketchbooks developed profound reflections on human existence – which came to be the leitmotif of his art. In the 1970s, Boltanski began to experiment with objects, which he made from clay, sugar and gauze, as well as with photography. He also employs ready-mades and small cardboard figurines that he photographs, transforming them into large-scale, theatrical images. In his work The Shadows (1984), he used powerful lights to illuminate figurative forms, creating thereby a mystical landscape. He creates light installations based on historical photographs, filling space with clothes and other items from anonymous donors. In the exhibition at Cricoteka, he is showing a doll (Le Petit Christian, 1974/1975) – the artist’s alter ego created especially for the film, as well as a performance.

 

The Duo Bracia, Agnieszka Klepacka and Maciej Chorąży, design costumes and stage sets for the opera and theatre. For some years, the duo has collaborated with the director, stage designer and performer Cezary Tomaszewski, who works closely with the Capella Cracoviensis in Krakow. The Duo use idiosyncratic form and materials, inspired by popular culture and Internet art.

 

 

Anja Carr lives and works in Oslo. In her art she combines performance with installation and object, creating fantastical interiors with fairytale colour ambiance. She is interested in the iconography of popular culture and the Internet. Her works are borderline kitsch. For her artistic projects, she wears costumes inspired by the Furry subculture. In Oslo, Anja Carr runs the gallery Pink Cube. In Cricoteka, the documentation of her exhibitions arranged in the form of spatial installations and live performances has been displayed in the form of brightly coloured prints that have the character of autonomous works of art.

 

Maciej Chorąży is a visual artist who uses found objects and ready-made images, creating sculpture, drawing and installation. He frequently looks for inspiration on the Internet and in the world around him, with its absurdities. He views popular culture with a critical, post-Internet eye. His works are borderline performative, combining elements of stage practice and theatre with his interest in the material used and material properties of objects. Together with Agnieszka Klepacka he is part of the Duo Bracia. At the exhibition he has shown a toy collection, which has been expanded constantly with new objects. Memories are an important point of reference in compiling the collection: some of the objects are linked to the artist’s own childhood, others are mementos of Maciek Chorąży’s exotic travels.

 

Jan Fabre is a visual artist from Belgium, a stage designer, choreographer and theatrical director. He is renowned for his series of drawings made with his own blood, entitled My Body, My Blood, My Landscape. For many years, he has been producing laborious drawings known as Bic-Art, using blue Bic ball-point pens; in 1990 he covered an entire building with a drawing done with a ball-point pen. He has also made bronze sculptures. As one of the few living artists, he has had his work shown in the Louvre in Paris. Since the 1970s, Jan Fabre has been involved in the theatre. The focus of his attention is body expression; aesthetic aspects also play a significant part in his productions. As part of the exhibition at Cricoteka, we present Fabre’s early works: the poster Buried and the installation entitled Wetspotten from 1979, which shows appropriated objects.

 

Aneta Grzeszykowska lives and works in Warsaw. She combines film, photography and objects. Grzeszykowska is interested in creating metaphorical representations of childhood. A recurrent motif in her art is images of the artist herself or her family. The artist’s body frequently undergoes ‘decomposition’ or symbolic objectification. Another important theme of her work is disappearing or liquid identity, subjected to deformation or transformation through the medium of film and photography. In her project Untitled from 2000 she created digital representations of non-existent people. In Album (2008), she erased herself from her family photographs, using Photoshop. In the exhibition she has presented dolls that show her daughter Franciszka as she will be in the future.

 

Wiktor Gutt lives and works in Warsaw. As a student, he was strongly influenced in his art by Oskar Hansen’s theory of Open Form. He worked closely with a group of students from the studio of Jerzy Januszkiewicz and was active in the group DO-GU-RA (Grażyna Doba-Wolska, Wiktor Gutt, Waldemar Raniszewski) and in a duo together with Waldemar Raniszewski. His activities were focused on seeking means of non-verbal communication with others, with artists’ anthropological interests an important point of reference. The artist’s actions were based on a series of art dialogues that took diverse forms, from drawings on pieces of paper to painting the bodies of co-participants in the action. Wiktor Gutt has also organised painting sessions with his own children. At the exhibition we will see the record of these activities.

 

Władysław Hasior (1928–1999) lived in Zakopane. He worked with sculpture, painting and installation, as well as designing theatrical stage sets; he was also a lecturer. He was interested in craft, including tapestry. Hasior was one of the most renowned Polish artists. He is considered a precursor of pop art and assemblage. He made idiosyncratic collages with all kinds of found objects. He was best known for his monumental projects in public space, in which he used materials not normally employed by a sculptor, such as water, fire and air. His art was emotional and metaphorical, drawing on mythology and replete with archetypes. From 1965 he worked on his famous series of textile banners, with rich textile appliqués and found objects.

 

At the exhibition we present one of Władysław Hasior’s first-ever works, which he made from tree roots in the 1940s whilst at boy-scout camp. The sculpture Deer demonstrates his unusual imagination and dexterity in employing material.

 

Tadeusz Kantor (1915–1990) lived and worked in Krakow. He was one of the most prominent Polish artists of the 20th century, active in the visual and performative arts. He is considered a reformer of the theatre, who was inspired by avant-garde artists. For Kantor, his own life and his roots in Galicia were always significant reference points, which he expressed particularly powerfully in his plays The Dead Class and Wielopole, Wielopole. From childhood, Kantor had dreamt about creating a ‘moving image’. He used the metaphor of the journey as the leitmotif of his art. His theatrical activity was inseparable from his visual art. Kantor evolved many theories about his artistic praxis and wrote numerous manifestos, dividing his oeuvre into discrete periods, during which specific concepts underwent transformation. Together with Cricot 2, his theatre company set up in the 1950s, Tadeusz Kantor toured the world, achieving global acclaim. In 1980 he founded Cricoteka – his ‘Live Archive’ of Cricot 2 Theatre, which exists to this day. The starting point for the exhibition is The Death of Tintagiles – a puppet production, which Tadeusz Kantor made in 1938. The performance, Schlemmeresque in character, was to be continued some five decades later in the first part of what he called his ‘cricotage’: The Machine of Love and Death, in which Kantor again returned to Maeterlinck’s drama.

 

Tony Oursler lives and works in New York. He is considered a pioneer of the new media. In his art he employs video, sculpture, installation, performance and painting. Oursler’s works often include multimedia and objects reminiscent of marionettes that tend to deliver strange narration. The artist probes the effect that technology has on us today and points to emotional dysfunctions such as obsession, isolationism, sexual fetishes and escapism, the source of which he perceives to be our addiction to technology. At the exhibition When Will I Be Little Again? we present one of his early films, Grand Mal. Tony Oursler’s early video films are known for their plotlines. They have sophisticated, experimental soundtracks, hand-painted stage sets, background animation and special optical effects, evolved by the artist himself.

 

Claus Richter lives in Cologne. His art is full of aesthetic references to the iconography of childhood. Small objects and paper puppet theatres represent stories from the world of adults. His work is set in the imagination. At the exhibition we show a small object made of wood and paper, with miniature figurines. The artist has made three versions of the stage set, which shows the ‘World of Toys’, the ‘Hospital’ and the ‘Street’. The story that the artist will be telling during the performance has been created on the basis of a text by Maurice Maeterlinck.

 

Franciszka Themerson (1907 – 1988) was a painter, illustrator and costume designer. Together with her husband Stefan Themerson she made experimental films. In 1948 they set up the publishing house Gaberbocchus Press, which published some 60 books, including volumes by Alfred Jarry, Kurt Schwitters and Bertrand Russell as well as children’s books and novels for adults with texts by Stefan Themerson and illustrations by Franciszka Themerson. One of the most acclaimed publications was Ubu Roi by Alfred Jarry, with drawings printed on yellow pages. At the exhibition we present photographs from the production of Ubu Roi with the stage set and puppets by Franciszka Themerson and directed by Michael Meschke.

 

The Book Lovers is a project initiated in 2011 by the curator Joanna Zielińska and the artist David Maroto. The project concentrates on exploring the artistic novel used as a medium of the visual arts. The fundamental goal of the project is to compile artistic novels complete with an online database, and supported by a series of exhibitions and public programmes as well as setting up temporary book shops and producing publications. The project has been partnered by numerous art institutions, including: M HKA (Antwerp), de Appel (Amsterdam), the Museum of Modern Art (Warsaw), Fabra i Coats Centre d’Art Contemporani (Barcelona) and the Whitechapel Gallery (London). In 2015 Joanna Zielińska and David Maroto published and edited Artist Novels (Sternberg Press, Cricoteka).

 

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