Polish Artistic and Political Collective AKADEMIA RUCHU at PERFORMA 13
For the past forty years, the legendary Polish artistic collective Akademia Ruchu (Academy of Movement) has staged over 600 happenings, performative interventions in public spaces, political actions, and theatre performances. Their point of departure for each action is the social and political context inherent in the function of metropolitan landscape, architecture, and idea of movement within the city. In November the artists will be in New York for Performa 13.
Founded in 1973 in Warsaw by Wojciech Krukowski, the collective's artistic director, the group consists of artists Janusz Baldyga, Jolanta Krukowska, Cezary Marczak, Jan Pieniazek, Zbigniew Olkiewicz, Jaroslaw Zwirblis, and Krzysztof Zwirblis. Throughout the period of totalitarian rule and beyond, Akademia Ruchu has turned political repression into a source of inspiration. The collective's initiatives have always existed outside of institutional frameworks that could be subject to censorship. They consist of anonymous performances and installations purposefully interfering with the routine of city life, transforming any space into a gallery or stage. Since the fall of Communism in 1989, Akademia Ruchu has not lost its spirit of critical engagement. By taking its art into the streets the group has made a deep impression on everyday people by making them co-authors of the work. Their visual language is simple and direct, with the goal of establishing clear communication between the collective and members of the public drawn into the performance. The purpose of these guerilla actions is to activate a sense of civic expression. The collective wants to enrich social connections by promoting creative and independent responses to the reality of everyday life.
The Performa 13 biennial is an international platform for celebrating live art by presenting and exploring original visual and performance art. From November 1-24, 2013, Performa and a consortium of innovative organizations will transform New York City into a stage for experimental and collaborative projects. A central focus of Performa 13 is "citizenship," a vital topic with a deep history for many contemporary Polish artists. Performa events will take place at over 60 venues across the city. The Performa 13 biennial will debut two national Pavilions Without Walls, a Norwegian Pavilion and a Polish Pavilion featuring multiple collaborative projects involving Performa, Polish artists, Adam Mickiewicz Institute and Center for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle from Poland, and the Polish Cultural Institute New York.
For Performa 13 Akademia Ruchu is bringing their distinctive style of disruptive street performance to Times Square with a seriesoffour minimalistic single-element actions entitled The Market of Toys, specifically created for the occasion. Occupying an area of constant foot traffic, these austere interventions, carried out by members of Akademia Ruchu and students over the course of November 8 and 9, will emphasize the vibrant character of the space and its dense multitude of visitors. For one of the performances, Standing People, the performers spread out throughout Times Square, wearing neon-colored safety vests with the word "OBSERVER" lettered on the back. The performers will stand motionless, meditative and observant for about 15-20 minutes after which they will calmly move to a different observation spot and continue in this fashion for 2 hours. The performances will be complemented by a newspaper-as-exhibition publication, documenting Academia Ruchu's deep history of socially and politically driven public performances beginning in the 1970s. This red, white and black newspaper will be distributed in many of Performa's locations, in addition to Times Square.
Parallel to its practice of street actions, Akademia Ruchu has cultivated a new tradition in the contemporary Polish theater, both conceptually and socially grounded, presenting their work at avant-garde theatres, museums, and galleries across Europe, the Americas, and Japan. On November 6 at the Martin E. Segal Theatre at the CUNY Graduate Center, five members of Akademia Ruchu will perform Chinese Lesson, a sequence of short, physically intensive, minimalistic pieces, tied together by the ensemble's unique visual theater language.
As a part of the Performa Institute on November 7, Akademia Ruchu will present a visual retrospective of unique video footage, captured on hidden camera, of their guerilla actions from the 1970s and '80s along with photographic documentation.
Among other projects within the Polish Pavilion Without Walls, Pawel Althamer will stage a month-long culinary and art performance project at BiBA, a Brooklyn bar and restaurant on the East River overlooking Manhattan. Agnieszka Kurant will unveil Cutaways, a short film based on editorial outtakes from Hollywood films as part of her SculptureCenter solo exhibition. Katarzyna Krakowiak's The Great and Secret Show is a sound intervention installed in the historic James A. Farley Post Office in Manhattan with the Storefront for Art and Architecture, giving the Post Office an opportunity to hum with life and a specially composed score based on an acoustic modeling of the main hall. Radek Szlaga and Konrad Smolenski's Tribute to Errors and Leftovers is a collaborative immersive live music installation with Dean Spunt, an LA-based noise musician of the band No Age at the Fridman Gallery in SoHo. Karol Radziszewski will lead an evening on the topic of the political importance of queer resistance in Eastern Europe through readings, presentations and discussion about the Polish pioneer gay activist Ryszard Kisiel and Radziszewski's documentary Kisieland. For the full Polish Pavilion Without Walls schedule please visit our website.