Zbigniew Warpechowski, Agreement, 1981. Performance, Small Gallery (Galeria Mała), Warsaw. Photo: Zygmunt Rytka. Courtesy of the artist.
New website of the archive of Zbigniew Warpechowski’s performances
It is with great pride that we now announce the launch of a new website with the archive of Zbigniew Warpechowski’s performances, one of the precursors and most recognised representatives of this art worldwide.
If you are looking for information about performance art, artists from Poland and Central Europe, or the history of art of the second half of the 20th century, it is worth visiting this page. The website contains photos and descriptions of 50 actions carried out by the artist, as well as films and documents about them.
A performer, painter, poet and author of texts on the theory of performance. Born in Płoska in Volhynia in 1938. Lives and works in Sandomierz (Poland). He has cultivated performance art since 1967, which makes him a forerunner of this movement. Warpechowski has had over 300 performances in many countries in Europe, Asia and North America. Since 1986, he has been a member of the legendary Black Market, an international group gathering pioneers of performance art, such as Norbert Klassen, Alastair MacLennan, Nigel Rolfe, Zygmunt Piotrowski, etc.
Warpechowski’s artistic career started with figurative painting. After giving up studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków, he went into writing poetry, and it was this artistic medium that steered him towards performance art. The artist says, “Initially, I called my work actions. I heard the term “performance” for the first time in Marseille in 1975.”
Warpechowski’s output embraces numerous performances, during which the artist, in the name of the authenticity of expression, tortured and hurt his body. During the March show in Stuttgart in 1984 he set fire to his hair. A photograph of this action made the cover of Elisabeth Jappe’s book, Performance – Ritual – Prozess. Handbuch der Aktionskunst in Europa (Munich, 1993).
For some time, Warpechowski has been doing performances which are highly critical of contemporary consumerist culture, the domination of the media, postmodernism and social liberalism. An extensive retrospective exhibition of Zbigniew Warpechowski, entitled It, was held at Zachęta – National Gallery of Art in 2014. In 2017, on the other hand, the same venue hosted A Ceremonious Performance, an event organised to celebrate 50 years of the artist’s performance art. His works can be found, among others, in the collections of the Museum of Art in Łódź, the National Museum in Warsaw and Wrocław, the Leon Wyczółkowski District Museum in Bydgoszcz, and many more.
(texts and archives selection: Anna Ciabach, editor: Zuzanna Sokalska)
The project of digitalising Zbigniew Warpechowski’s archive was carried out by the Monopol gallery and co-financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage from grants of the Culture Promotion Fund.