Krzysztof Garbaczewski (born 1983, Białystok, Poland) is a theatre director and an author of adaptations of, e.g., W. Gombrowicz’s Possessed, F. Dostoyevsky’s Demons and W. Reymont’s The Peasants, which form a groundwork for his so-called ‘theatre installations’, combining performance and visual arts with music. His characteristically collage style, the use of video projections and live broadcasts are references to our contemporary cyber-sensitivity.
Garbaczewski’s performances address the most critical existential problems and explore liminal experiences. Ironically regarding all things theatrical (e.g. scenographic illusion, the actor’s approach to the role, faithfulness to the dramatic text, theatricality), he comments on and goes beyond previous experiments, while considering the very origins of the theatre, namely, the ritual. Considered a brutalist of form, he practices unobvious juxtapositions, e.g., the Romantic characters in Słowacki’s Balladyna situated in a genetic laboratory. He confronts the problem of contemporary Polish identity.
The exhibition, Field Investigations, takes the form of the workshop and the process. It is a commentary on the current tendency of organic permeation between theatre and art practices. It attempts to capture things happening at the interface of the theatre and art, in the context of migrating motifs, symbols, methods, works and performativity broadly understood.
Field Investigations is also an intimate artist’s journal dedicated to an eco-philosophical functioning of the human in the world; a document of alienation from what is considered one’s proper natural environment, a clash of mysticism and spirituality rooted in nature with a humanity-encompassing technological utopia. A primary reference is made here to ecological activities of Jerzy Grotowski, who formulated the category of ‘interhuman ecology’, focusing on the organic, source work with oneself and a primordial connection between the actor and the audience in the context of their natural environment. A parallel commentary to his method of operation is provided by Karol Radziszewski’s film, Prince, which strives to tackle Grotowski’s way of working.
Garbaczewski’s working material is a complex ecosystem of inter-human cooperation, an androgynous way of being situated beyond gender divisions, nature and cyber-space. Garbaczewski does not only draw attention to organic relationships established throughout an emergence of specific performative narratives, but also emphasises a certain kind of queer bio-diversity. It operates as a space unlimited by previously assumed results, dichotomous divisions and hermetic categories; rather as a form corresponding to relationships potentially emergent in the future.
One series of works presented in the exhibition are cinematic exercises for the performance of The Peasants, based on Reymont’s novel, in which rhythms of nature are the supreme structure ordering a plan of events. Garbaczewski situates actors beyond the formula of the theatre, in an emptiness of apparently neutral signification, triggering the senses, fantasies, projections in the context of on-camera play on the phantom of a non-existent audience. It is a capturing of the first stage of meaning production: a representation of a microcosm, in which significations of the relationship ‘I – the world’ are, incessantly and fluidly, negotiated, and socio-cultural overlays have not yet manage to make their permanent mark.
A complement to the narrative is an introductions of works by Andrzej Strumiłło and Janek Strumiłło, whose present-day oeuvre is also related to the village of Maćkowa Ruda, where Garbaczewski’s open-air workshops take place. Their common activities, councils, mutual inspirations and collaboration allude directly to the tradition of open-air workshops and communal creative explorations conducted at a distance from well-trodden formats, ship-contained by broadly conceived institutional structures.
The set of works on show creates a sketchy, mosaic record of the author’s original process of distillation of our surrounding reality, which results in Garbaczewski’s performances. The process is composed of ‘side activities’, emerging in the course of working with actors, ephemeral exercises in ‘being oneself’ and in the Romantic ‘being in nature’, short film essays, spatial objects and element of virtual reality, not necessarily directly connected to contents of a particular performance. These are exercises in reality and attempts at devising for it a suitable frame of signification.
The exhibition also features works-commentaries from invited artists: Dream Adoption Society, Karol Radziszewski, Szymon Rogiński, Andrzej Strumiłło, Anna Strumiłło, Janek Strumiłło, Anastasia Vorobiova and Aleksandra Wasilkowska.
|Krzysztof Garbaczewski, Dream Adoption Society, Karol Radziszewski, Szymon Rogiński, Andrzej Strumiłło, Anna Strumiłło, Janek Strumiłło, Anastasia Vorobiova, Aleksandra Wasilkowska
|Krzysztof Garbaczewski. Field Investigations
|Place / venue
|The Arsenal Gallery in Białystok
|January 20 - March 17, 2019
|Aleksandra Wasilkowska Anastasia Vorobiova Andrzej Strumiłło Anna Strumiłło Arsenal Gallery in Białystok Dream Adoption Society Janek Strumiłło Karol Radziszewski Krzysztof Garbaczewski Szymon Rogiński