Cezary Bodzianowski

The performances of Cezary Bodzianowski differ from both the analytical performative work of 1970s Poland, and from 1990s-era Polish performance, which, in a different economic and political context, politicized the body, creating a critical uproar from conservative media and general audiences. The artist is interested in the politics and poetics of the quotidian, and his work digs into the core of those structures of experience that usually remain unquestioned as seemingly objective, shared conditions of reality.

Bodzianowski’s performative work was often referred to as one-actor theater for an audience consisting of just a happy few. His actions in public and private spaces are pitched as syncopated interruptions against the workflows that fill our days. Useless and disinterested, they put in question the capitalist economy of time as a sequence of available and quantifiable units that can be dealt with in a similar way to units of matter. Trying to keep time in a liquid, mercury-like state, Bodzianowski directs his attention to the privileged, isolated, and staged moments of non-acting, refusing to work—in opposition to the barely visible but all-pervading exploitation that we are all subjected to in the economic and political conditions of today. His time-based pieces open a stasis, a moment when the world goes out of joint; a temporary alternative that acts upon us with the force of metaphor in order to change the way we live and perceive things.

One of Bodzianowski’s preferred techniques in performance is that of staged willful surrendering or controlled co-option—an act of full, chameleon-like compliance with any proposed set of rules, which the artist follows, imitates, and pushes to extreme. His radical obedience becomes an attempt at resistance.

As his work is defiantly ephemeral, Bodzianowski decided to use photography and video as a means of constructing memories of things that his audience has never been given a chance to see happening live. Photographs and video recordings, which are usually taken by Monika Chojnicka, the artist’s long-time partner and collaborator, are not conceived as evidence of live actions. On the contrary, they provide a starting point for a discussion of the work’s meaning and content. Rather than proving the work’s status as something that exists or existed before, the still and moving images open a way to the work’s possible future.



1968, Łódź / PL


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Courtesy Foksal Gallery Foundation, Warsaw, Photo: Monika Chojnicka
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