About Krzysztof Gliszczynski
A RETOUR AUTOPORTRAIT text by Urszula Szulakowska Gliszczynski's work is concerned with retrieving memory. He explores the origins of his identity in the psychic and social processes by means of which subjectivity is acquired. He does this through a ritualistic means of pictorial construction in which he attempts to reverse the natural progression of time. His signifying system is derived from alchemical hermeneutics, which is a most unusual venture for a Polish artist. Alchemy is a historical discourse which has been explored more frequently by German or French artists, such as Beuys or Klein. In his laboratory the medieval alchemist practiced an art that was intended to illuminate the psyche of both himself and of his society, transmuting their base natures into a divine consciousness. More specifically, Gliszczynski employs the concept of synergy, derived from the psychologist Carl Jung's interpretation of medieval alchemy as being a proto-psychology. According to Jung, unrelated events occur simultaneously in trajectories parallel to each other, but to the human mind they appear to inter-act, often with very strange results. This process seems to be a magical one, since natural laws of cause and effect are contradicted. The ancient magical practices, such as alchemy derived their knowledge from the intuitive processes of the human psyche. Glyszczynski's practice could be described as liminal, exploring the border between material and immaterial states of being. There is some inheritance in his thought from the late nineteenth century Symbolists, especially Edvard Munch for whom life was a fragile membrane, disrupted by the malevolent irruptions of desire, sickness and death. Gliszczynski's early encounter with Munch was fundamental to his formative process as an artist since Munch's paintings underlined his own realisation of the finality of death; the shock encounter with the void and the dull permanency of loss, grief and suffering. This realisation led Gliszczynski to an existential enquiry into the origins of his own finite nature, such as is reflected in his recent series of self-portraits. These works express a tentative possibility that in art and history, as in dreams, in a meta-space beyond gross physicality, loss may be conquered. The dead can live again. His art-practice is an emblematic process reflecting the human life around him. The enquiry into the structure of his own identity is extended by Gliszczynski to that of a society and a nation, specifically Poland. Ultimately, he brings the issue round to recent history and his personal involvement in the upheavals and street protests of the stan wojenny during the Jaruzelski era. He alludes to a photograph showing himself being arrested with his friends by the militia, an event that caused an enduring fear of further reprisals. The psychic pressures of the stan wojenny are symbolised in his work by the manner in which he destroys the painted surfaces. He forces an alien text onto the imagery by the pressure of his thumb. Trauma is a fundamental theme in his work. The self-portraits are a meditation on the traumatised memories of an entire society and their effect on the identity of the contemporary Polish character. Prior to 1939, Polish identity had been constructed on the basis of cultures that had evolved historically two hundred miles further east of the present border. History has demonstrated that there were many different ways of being 'Polish,' whether within the country itself, or in the diaspora beyond. However, who are the Poles now? For example, in Pomorze over the past sixty years a new identity has arisen out of a patch-work of traditional local cultures and those of dispossessed peoples, mostly from the lost and forgotten Kresy. In Hannah Arendt's study of the effects of Nazism and Stalinism, Gliszczynski has found a resonance to his enquiry into political identity._ These totalitarian regimes had caused permanent fractures in historical continuity, resulting in the disintegration of humane moral codes in the body politic. Arendt perceived that modernity was characterized by, what she termed, the loss of the world, that is, the elimination of individual involvement in the public sphere in favour of retreat to a private world of economic concerns. Politics and action had been replaced by bureaucracy, laborious toil and the manipulation of public opinion. Arendt argued that significant fragments had to be redeemed from the past by means of a selective, critical appropriation. This process could revivify the past and re-establish some degree of continuity with history so that it could serve as the foundation of a positive future political order. In the context of the creative arts, Gombrowicz had also insisted on the necessity of temporal continuity both with the past and with nature, describing the world as 'form in motion.' In his well-known iconoclastic discourse, he questioned the ability of a
1977-82 Attends the State Grammar School for Visual Arts in Szczecine1982-87 Studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdansk, the graduete studio of Prof. Kazimierz Ostrowski.Since 1987 teaching job at the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdask , now as professor in the studio of painting.In years 1995–2002 co–author of the ‘’Koło” Gallery in Gdańsk.
1992 - Art Residency at Atelierhaus Worpswede , DAAD, Germany1994 - Distinction in the All-Polish Painting Competition Bielska Jesie1996 - The Ziemowit Szuman award - XVI Festival of Polish Contemporary Painting in Szczecin2000 - Grant from the Pollock- Krasner Foundation Inc., New York, USA2001 - Art Residency at Shanghai Shanghai in the Eye of World Artist, China2005 - Art Residency, Association d'art Chambre de sejour...Saignon, France