Krzysztof Garbaczewski. Fieldwork

Place: Gdańsk City Gallery 2, Powroźnicza street 13/15
Opening: 23rd of May, Wednesday at 7.30 p.m.
Exhibition: 23rd of May - 17th of June 2018
Artist: Krzysztof Garbaczewski
Curator: Patrycja Ryłko
Guest artists: Karol Radziszewski, Andrzej Strumiłło, Janek Strumiłło
Outdoor performance: Sandra Korzeniak, Jan Dravnel

Krzysztof Garbaczewski’s exhibition Fieldwork follows a workshop-based processual format, thus delivering a commentary on the current tendencies of an organic mutual overlap between theatre and artistic practices. The show attempts to capture the current intersection of theatre and art in the context of migrating motifs, symbols, working methods and broadly understood performativity.

Fieldwork is also an intimate creative journal devoted to the human eco-philosophical position in the world and a documentary of alienation in one’s so-called natural environment, the clash between mysticism and spirituality embedded in nature and the all-embracing technological utopia.

The cycle of presented works forms a sketchy and mosaic-like record of the artist’s process of distilling the surrounding reality, which provides the basis for Garbaczewski’s spectacles. The process comprises collateral activities enacted during the work with actors, ephemeral exercises in “being yourself” and the romantic “being in nature”, evanescent forms of transience, short film essays and spatial forms that do not necessarily bear a direct relation to the content of a specific spectacle. These are exercises in reality and attempts to impose on it an appropriate frame of signification.

The fieldwork exercises refer primarily to the ecological activities of Jerzy Grotowski, in which he concentrated on the relationship/dialogue between the actor and the viewer. Grotowski introduced the category of the “ecology of the interpersonal”, which focusses on the organic work on oneself at the very source and a primary bond between the actor and the viewer in the context of their natural environment. A parallel commentary on Grotowski’s working method is provided by Karol Radziszewski’s film The Prince, which is devoted to the working methods of the famous theatre director.

Garbaczewski’s creative material is the complex ecosystem of interpersonal cooperation, an androgynous way of being situated beyond gender divisions, nature and cyber-space. Not only does Garbaczewski draw attention to the organic relations established when creating specific performative narratives, but also emphasises a certain queer biodiversity. It functions as a space unconstrained by pre-determined results, dichotomic divisions and hermetic categories, but as a suitable form of relation that may come into being in the future.

One of the series of works presented in the exhibition comprises film exercises for the spectacle The Peasants based on Władysław Reymont’s novel, in which the rhythm of nature provides an overriding structure that organises the order of events. Garbaczewski situates his actors beyond the theatre format, in the seemingly semantically neutral void of the plein air in Maćkowa Ruda. The exercises performed by the actors stimulate the senses, fantasies and projections within a game played for the camera with the phantom of a non-existent audience. Such practices grasp the first stage of establishing sense – the representation of a microcosm in which the meanings of the relationship between oneself and the world are constantly and fluidly negotiated, and where the imposed cultural-social layers have not yet left a permanent imprint.

This narrative is complemented by pieces by Andrzej Stumiłło and Janek Strumiłło, whose current work is also connected with Maćkowa Ruda, the site of Garbaczewski’s plein airs. Their joint activities, deliberations, mutual inspirations and collaboration refer directly to the tradition of plein airs and collaborative creative investigations pursued far from ossified schemes embedded in broadly understood institutional structures.

Krzysztof Garbaczewski (b. 1983 in Białystok)
Theatre director, author of adaptations serving as the basis of his so-called theatre installations, which combine performance, visual arts and music. His trademark collage/syncretic style, the use of video projections and live transmissions are related to our contemporary cyber-sensibility. Garbaczewski’s spectacles address the most important existential matters and search for liminal experiences. The director stages unobvious juxtapositions, for instance by situating the Romantic protagonists of Juliusz Słowacki’s Balladyna a genetics laboratory. He also confronts the question of contemporary Polish identity.

A graduate of the Faculty of Theatre Directing and Dramaturgy at the Ludwik Solski State Theatre School in Cracow. Honoured with numerous awards, such as the “Passport” award of Polityka weekly. Krystian Lupa’s assistant in Factory 2 at the Helena Modrzejewska National Stary Theatre in Cracow (2008). He debuted with Elfriede Jelinek’s A Sport Play in Opole (2008). His adaptations include The Tibetan Book of the Dead (Polski Theatre in Wrocław, 2009) and Kronos by Witold Gombrowicz (Polski Theatre in Wrocław, 2013). Director of the spectacles Odyssey (Jan Kochanowski Theatre in Opole, 2009), The Sexual Life of Savages (Nowy Teatr in Warsaw, 2011), The Death Star (Jerzy Szaniawski Dramatic Theatre in Wałbrzych, 2010), Balladyna (Polish Theatre in Poznań, 2013) and The Sky of Stone Instead of Stars (Nowy Teatr in Warsaw, 2013). Often collaborates with Aleksandra Wasilkowska on stage design. The duo Garbaczewski/Cecko also staged Victory Over the Sun (Grand Theatre – National Opera, 2014), The Tempest (Polski Theatre in Wrocław, 2015) and Hamlet (Helena Modrzejewska National Stary Theatre in Cracow, 2015). Robert Robur was created on the basis of an unfinished novel by Mirosław Nahacz. This year, Garbaczewski staged Feast (Nowy Teatr in Warsaw).

Karol Radziszewski (b. 1980)
Lives and works in Warsaw. Filmmaker, photographer, creator of installations and interdisciplinary projects. Publisher and editor-in-chief of the DIK Fagazine magazine. Founder of the Queer Archives Institute. His works have been exhibited at Zachęta – National Gallery of Art, the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, the Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź, the Wrocław Contemporary Museum, CCA Ujazdowski Castle in Warsaw, the Kunsthalle Wien, the New Museum in New York, Video Brasil in São Paulo and the Cobra Museum in Amsterdam, amongst other institutions, as well as at the PERFORMA 13 Biennial in New York, the 7th Göteborg Biennale, the 4th Prague Biennale and the 15th Media Art Biennale WRO.

Andrzej Strumiłło (b. 1928 in Vilnius)
Lives in Maćkowa Ruda by the Czarna Hańcza River near Suwałki. Graduated in 1950 from the State Higher School of Visual Arts (PWSSP) in Łódź under Władysław Strzemiński and from the Academy of Fine Arts (ASP) in Cracow. Worked as an assistant professor at both these institutions between 1949 and 1953, contract professor at the ASP in Cracow between 1977 and 1980, lecturer at the Suwałki division of the Catholic Theology Academy in 1987-1988. Between 1982 and 1984, he was the head of the Graphic Presentation Unit of the UN Secretary-General in New York. A former member of the Culture Council of the Ministry of Culture and Art, member of the Board of the Polish Cultural Foundation and the Voivodeship Environment Protection Committee in Suwałki, initiator and commissioner until 1977 of the Art and the Environment meetings in Wigry. Active in a range of media: painting, graphic art, drawing, photography, illustration, book design, exhibition design and stage design. A photographer since 1945. Strumiłło has published two poetry volumes: Moje [Mine] and Jak [How], as well as numerous books about nature and culture (such as Nepal). His artistic journeys bore the fruit of drawing and photographic series, such as China, Italy, the Far East, USSR, India, Mongolia, Vietnam, Nepal, Japan and Thailand. The artist gathered collections of art and artefacts of the material culture of the Far and Middle East for the Ethnographic Museum in Cracow and the Asia and Pacific Museum in Warsaw. Honoured with the State Award, two Awards from the Ministry of Culture and Art, an Award from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Award of the City of Warsaw. Activist in the fields of culture and ecology in North-Eastern Poland. Curator of many international plein airs.

Janek Strumiłło (b. 1978 in Warsaw)
Lives and works in Warsaw and Maćkowa Ruda. Spent his education years travelling. Sailed on the Aegean, North and Baltic Seas. Ran a mountain hostel in the Karkonosze Mountains. Bred horses in Masuria. Worked as a marketing specialist at an art gallery in Warsaw. Affiliated for the last ten years with the RedoSFX company, which designs and builds film, theatre and advertising set designs, special effects and SFX makeup for such artists as Aleksander Sokurow, Krystian Lupa, Grzegorz Jarzyna, Allan Starski and Mariusz Treliński.

Sandra Korzeniak (b. 1976 in Cracow)
Lives and works in Warsaw. Theatre and film actress. Graduate from the Acting Department of the Ludwik Solski State Theatre School in Cracow. Between 2000 and 2008, she was an actress at the Helena Modrzejewska National Stary Theatre in Cracow. Between 2008 and 2010 she was at the Gustaw Holoubek Dramatic Theatre in Warsaw, and between 2010 and 2016 she was at the Rozmaitości Theatre in Warsaw. Honoured with the “Passport” award of the Polityka weekly for the role of Marilyn Monroe in Krystian Lupa’s spectacle Persona. Triptych/Marilyn. The same role brought her the Feliks Warszawski Award and a distinction at the 16th National Contemporary Polish Drama Staging Competition. Korzeniak has collaborated with Krystian Lupa, Maja Kleczewska, Kasia Kalwat and Mo Fei.

Jan Dravnel (b. in Vilnius)
Lives in Warsaw. Actor and director. Affiliated with the Rozmaitości Theatre since 2006. Collaborates with Krystian Lupa, Grzegorz Jarzyna, Michał Borczuch and Krzysztof Garbaczewski.