review: show in Szczecin/Poland (updated)

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA
KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

On Friday, 20 October 2006
://selfportrait – a show for Bethlehem – a show for Peace
was inaugurated at “the place of art – OFFICYNA
as the starting event in the framework of
Performance and Intermedia Festival Szczecin/ Poland (20-22 October 2006)
Now the review and the image documentation are posted online —>

—>
From its historical and structural conditions, Szczecin was certainly a good choice for presenting our show for Peace. The city has a very changing history and was nearly completely destroyed in World War II. After the war there was not much to be reconstructed, and in this way the contemporary city is presenting itself strangely faceless without a real or historically grown city center. Everywhere are broken links visible and wounds which do not heal.
Since centuries German until the end of World War II in 1945, Szczecin became Polish afterwards. The city can certainly not be called a “place of art”, the few existing museums get lost in the strange architectural conglomerate.
Maybe this was the reason, why the founders of Officyna – a non profit art space, located somewhere decentrally in the suburbs of Szczecin – wanted to create a special “place of art”, i.e OFFICYNA, in order to give contemporary art expression a home and a space.
Nearly consequently, it is also Officyna which is organising divers festival events during a year, whereby a particular relevance got “Performance and Intermedia Festival”, an event which is curated by Antoni Karwowski, an internationally reknown Szczecin based performance and visual artist and organiser and independent curator of performance events since many years.
In 2005, I was curating for the 2005 festival edition a selection from VideoChannel for screenings during in the video section of the festival PI 5 Videofestival, and invited Antoni Karwowski for particiting in the show for Bethlehem. Later, he invited me to present the exhibition in Szczecin as the frist venue after Bethlehem.

Although the art space of OFFICYNA seemed to be a good place especially also for installing the selfportrait exhibition, during the installation phase these peope showed how they understood the term “professional”.
In contrary to what was agreed, the technical equipment and the needed exhibition components were not available or prepared in any way. Instead of starting the exhibition installation when I arrived at Szczecin, I was standing for two days in the icecold exhibition space waiting and waiting, and nobody knew what would be happening else than waiting, resulting that I caught a heavy cold, which was forced also by the icecold hotel room without any heating and partially also without electricity.
I do not want to go more in details in order to remain contructive, as in the end one minute before the vistors entered the gallery space for the opening precedure, the exhibition setup was finished. Inspite of all restrictions, I would say it was a very nice exhibition and a lot of feedback from the visitors confirmed by subjective impression.
The inauguration on 20. October was not standing for itself, but represented the start of PI Performance and Intermedia Festival, a festival organised at different locations.
The selfportrait exhibition represented the main part of the Intermedia section, besides some video installations which were set up in another exhibition space located in a separate building, but installed only during the festival days 20-22 October.
The next item after the two openings was the screening of videos as the part of PI Video Festival, whereby Agricola de Cologne, me, was the first who was starting the video screening. He presented a selection of Cologne OFF I – genderscapes, a selection of videos and short film dealing with gender issues and sexual identity.
Antoni Karwowski, the organiser and curator of the festival video section, was presenting his selection afterwards consisting of short videos with a duration of not more han 5 minutes.
The second day of the festival, 21 October, changed the festival location, the second part of the screenings and the extensive performance event took place at the National Museum of Szczecin, a volumious building originating from 19th century.
The evening started with the second screening curated by Agricola de Cologne–> Cologne OFF II – image vs music at the screening and event hall of the museum, followed by an unusual form of organising artists performances.
At midnight, the main performance section of the festival followed. The gigantic museum entrance hall was modified and used for presenting a dozen of performances simultaneously.
On one hand, the visitor has a wide choice between different performance works, but at the same time he got completely confused, and he did not know on which performance he should concentrate and prevent that he is missing anything. No chance, the visitor was really missing everything, if he is not concentrating from the beginning on one certain performance piece.
For me, who is no expert in the art of performance, I had my problems to value the single performance pieces as I tried to catch as many impressions from all the 12 peformances as possible.
Anyway, I think some of the participating artists should be mentioned individually.
Even I saw only short cuts, the excellence of some artists presentations could not be overviewed –> Antoni Karwowski (Poland), Valerian Maly (Switzerland), Andrzej Pawelczyk (Poland) and Chip for Peace (Poland). An artist who was really suffering from the unusual presentation form was the Berlin based CAP Grundheber, her performance located somewhere in the shadow between the huge columns of the museum architecture, and some other younger artists were also acting nearly without an audience. This is and was a pity.

On the 3rd day, 22 October, the festival was moving to another place – Swinouscije (German: Swinemünde) a place at the Baltic sea situated directly at the German/Polish boarder, where Andrzej Pawelczyk was organising a festival of art in action. Here the second screening of Antoni Karwowski’s curated selection took place and another performance section whereby the performance pieces followed the rather traditional way of presenting, one piece after another.

At the end of this small report, I would like to thank three artists for being present personally in Szczecin on occation of the inauguration of the selfportrait show, i.e Moon Na (South Korea), Marlen Karlen (Switzerland) and Antoni Karwowski (Szczecin), who did not need to travel far.

Here are some images documenting
the inauguration of the exhibition and the performance festival:

Officyna gallery
Officyna gallery – entrance area
exhibition setup
gallery space – exhibition setup
exhibition setup
gallery – exhibition setup
exhibition setup
gallery – exhibition setup
show opening
inauguration 20 Oct – Bartosz Wojcik, director of Officyna speaks
show opening
at the opening
show opening
some selfportrait artists Antoni Karwowski (Szczecin),
Agricola de Cologne (Germany) & Marlen Karlen (CH)
show opening
inauguration audience
show opening
inauguration audience
show opening
Swiss performance artists Valerian Maly and Klara Schillinger
show opening
festival gallery for video installation
show opening
inauguratioon audience – at the computers
show opening
Officyna – the exhibition installation
show opening
Officyna – the exhibition installation
show opening
Officyna – the exhibition installation
show opening
Officyna – the exhibition installation
show opening
Antoni Karwowski, curator of PI – Performance & Intermedia festival
show opening
Marlen Karlen, Swiss artist who came especially for the opening to Szczecin
National museum
National Museum – location for screenings and performances
National museum
National Museum – sceening space
National museum
National Museum – temporary festival installation
National museum
National museum
performance Klara Schillinger
National museum
performance Andrzej Pawelczyk
National museum
Polish performance “Chips for Peace”
National museum
German peformance artist – Christian Schmidt-Chemnitzer
National museum
German performance artist Cap Grundheber
National museum
National Museum – Cap Grundheber’s performance