born in 1958 in Warsaw, lives in Warsaw
Graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts (1985), where at present he runs the Studio of Spatial Activities at the department of Media Art and Stage Design. As an artist he is active in the field of sculpture, drawing and video. In his works he takes up problems related to the fragility of human existence, and also to memory and history of the totalitarian regimes of the 20th century. In the years 1985–2011 he had several hundred individual exhibitions on all continents, among them numerous broad retrospectives of his work. From 1990 he has participated in the most important international exhibitions, such as: Metropolism, Berlin; Possible Worlds, London; Documenta IX, Kassel; 9th and 15th Biennale of Sydney; Rites of Passage, London; The Carnegie International 95, Pittsburgh; Distemper, Washington DC; 24th Bienal de São Paulo; 1st Liverpool Biennial; Between Cinema and a Hard Place, London; 44, 50 and 51 Venice Biennale; SITE Santa Fe. In 2009 he carried out the project How It Is within the Unilever Series framework in the Turbine Hall, Tate Modern, London. He is the author of the monument to the victims of the “Estonia” ferry, Stockholm, 1997.
Bruno Schulz – a plaster sculpture made in 1982 as a part of a semester subject entitled A Portrait of a Favourite Writer in the professor Stanisław Słonina’s studio at the Department of Sculpture in the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts. The work belongs to the collection of the artist.
Tanz – the video was made in 2002 in the Warsaw–Gdańsk express train. The video measuring 250 × 190 cm, projected on a salt screen, placed on the floor of the exhibition room. The work (ed. 1/2) belongs in the collection of the Lower Silesia Society for the Incentive of Fine Arts.
born in 1958 in Székesfehérvár, Hungary, lives and works in Budapest and Tác, Hungary
His work is an interpretation of the world through deeply personal feelings and impressions. Fehér’s painting, most often based on contrasts of two colours, is an excellent example of postmodernist art, interweaving narrations and creating new meanings from them. Many of his works refer to memories, others comment on the current reality, among them the questions of the presence of the Jews in an anti-Semitic community.
Sándor Geisler’s grandson
standing by tombstones,
on his head a kippah,
intangible figure forged of light,
with ancestors from Galicia,
Yitgadal v’yitkadash sh’meih raba.
The sun bleached his white suit into light
and the landscape enlarged by
the white cloud behind the trees.
A timid squinting smile,
Sándor Geisler is standing before us,
the future university-trained certified engineer.
No trace of the blood-furrowed past,
no trace of the last gestures of those
dying in the ghettos.
No trace of the parental home in Przemysl,
just the light bleaching the white suit
Remember the silent, sullen landscape?
The prayers in the ghetto, remember?
Éva Kardos, remember her
dashing across the street
to escape certain death?
Remember your bar vitzvah and the tallit,
the yellow star hidden underneath?
I remember because I am a circle,
the elusive infinite.
As long as I exist You too shall exist,
as long as you remember – so long shall you live.
June 17, 2017, Budapest
Translated from Hungarian by: Judith Sollosy
born in 1981 in Jeruzalem, lives and works in New York
The artist creates videos and installations. In her works she tries to demonstrate how social and religious hierarchies become apparent through the commonest objects and everyday behaviour. She exhibited her work in the Jewish Museum in New York, the Israel Museum in Jerusalem and Dumbo Art Center in New York.
Strongly inspired by Emil Knebel’s childhood memories in Nowy Sacz, Little Nowy Sącz is a video installation that revolves around the idea of physical transportation of memory and its remains. The piece will include a multi-channel video projection, depicting the process of the creation of drawings of Milek Knebel’s homes in the form of handmade architectural blueprint drawings. The videos / drawings will first depict Knebel's childhood home in Nowy Sacz, as well as their later incarnations, his temporary home in Nowy Sącz after the war, and then the little Nowy Sącz created in his mother’s apartment in Tel Aviv. The piece will also include a three dimensional small installation piece referring to the video as well as to the cross-border transportation of memories and domestic objects from Nowy Sącz to Tel Aviv and now, more than 60 years later back to Nowy Sącz.
born in 1923 in Brno, Czechoslovakia, died in 2009 in the USA
At the age of nearly 20, she was deported to the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, where she remained until the end of the war. During her stay at the camp, she painted Snow White on the wall of the children’s barrack. The picture was noticed by Josef Mengele, who, seeing Dina’s talent, ordered her to paint portraits of the Romani that he later experimented on. After the war, Dina Gottliebova she married the famous draughtsman Arthur Babbitt and moved to the USA, where she worked for the greatest animation studios, co-creating characters like Tweety Bird and Daffy Duck. In the 1970s, the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum purchased seven watercolours signed “Dina 1944” and their authenticity was confirmed by her during her visit to the museum in 1973.
born in 1952 in Lindenberg, lives and works in Munich and in Allgäu
In the years 1971–1978 he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. He makes installations, interferes with public space, and also does graphic art, film, games, shows for puppet theatre and performance. He very often becomes a main actor of his activities, raising questions of childhood, fatherland and other autobiographical motifs.
The fictitious worlds of my new maps are no longer constructed against the backdrop of real maps. They are freshly created images made of fragments which, while deriving from a storehouse of cartography, nonetheless s in their synthesis carcely continue to convey recognizable traces of an objectively measured and recorded reality. They theme entrance ideas, sentiments and sites of my private biography, in an antagonistic tension with the external world. They construct imaginary spaces: spaces which have been withdrawn from reality and become situated in the realm of phantasmagoria. The maps to which I have given labels of “psychographs of post-modernism”, accordingly constitute the backbone of this in-situ volume.
Nikifor Krynicki (real name Epifaniusz Drowniak)
born in 1895 in Krynica, died in 1968 in Folusz, lived and worked in Krynica
Nikifor Krynicki, born Epifaniusz Drowniak, a Polish painter of Lemko origin, considered one of the most remarkable painters of “naive” art in the history of painting. He was particularly attached to the town of Krynica and the region of Lemkivshchyna where he lived and worked. He was an illiterate self-taught painter, and his contact with the world was made difficult because of his partial deafness and a speech impediment. All his life he painted and begged, and gained recognition only when he was old. Nikifor is the creator of almost 40 thousand works, including watercolours, sometimes combined with gouache, tempera and oil works, and drawings with coloured pencils. He made his works on sheets and covers of notebooks, headed stationery, cardboard, chocolate and cigarette packets, wrapping paper, and Bristol board. He painted emotional cycles displaying primarily churches and the local landscape. The biggest collection of Nikifor’s paintings and drawings can be found at the Nowy Sącz District Museum.
born in 1978 in Wolbrom, lives and works in Wolbrom
Initially Tomasz Kulka occupied himself with painting which he then gave up for ceramics. The defining sign of his work are realistic miniature sculptures. Kulka is interested in what is outside of the general perception of reality: “lower orders”, youth subcultures or the devastation of the urban tissue which becomes a reflection on broader problems. With his works Tomasz Kulka enters the field which is in fact driven out by modern art – he treats violence as a tool of aesthetics. In his works one may notice that what becomes denied by society, considered not belonging to it, may be used to describe it just as much as the generally accepted phenomena. Violence, abuse and hate as aesthetics do not always serve exclusively critical actions, but also, or perhaps above all they serve as a search with the space of art itself. Kulka is evidently attracted to what is beyond the sphere of visibility in culture, the problem of decomposition of the urban tissue and its devastation by youth subcultures, the drunks and the homeless; the devastation which becomes at the same time an expression of serious social problems, such as racism, hate, intolerance towards otherness or anti-Semitism.
Maryan S. Maryan (real name Pinchas Burstein)
born in 1927 in Nowy Sącz, died in 1977 in New York
During the war the artist was in several ghettos and labour camps, Auschwitz among them. He was the sole survivor from his whole family. After the war he studied painting in the Bezael Art Institute in Jerusalem and in the École des Beaux Arts in Paris (in Fernand Léger’s studio). He cultivated painting and graphic art, creating compositions screaming with colour, peopled with grotesque figures, “taken out” from the Comédie humaine. The stage of his ”theatre” was filled with caricature-like symbols of power – soldiers, judges, clergymen, and also people from the fringe of society – jugglers, prostitutes, toreadors. Classified into the New Figuration art movement, he soon gained renown. He received the critics’ prize at the Biennale in Paris and his international reputation was consolidated by co-operation with the Cobra group from 1959. From 1962 he lived and worked in New York, under the name Maryan S. Maryan.
Saved from the Holocaust, just like Primo Levi, he could not free himself from the memories and the accompanying sense of guilt, about which Samuel Bak, another painter who survived and the artist’s acquaintance wrote: I was afraid that involuntarily I might find myself in the ambiguous situation of a person who uses his tragic experiences to make a career. I could not free myself from a paralyzing sense of guilt. I had to get rid of the so-called survivor syndrome and to muster my courage. Sometimes I think that this struggle resembled the fight of Jacob with the Angel.[ S. Bak, Słowami malowane. Wspomnienie z Wilna (Painted with Words. Memories from Vilna), Pogranicze, Sejny 2006.]
Maryan was a knight of the French Orde des Arts et des Letters. He had his solo exhibitions all around the world, ie. Galerie de France in Paris (1962), Van Abbe Museum in Eindhoven (1966), Guggenheim Museum in New York, and he took part in group exhibitions, ie: Carnegie International at Canegies Museums in Pittsburgh (1961, 1964), Pop Art, New Realism, etc at Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels (1966) or The Human Concern – Personal Torment at Whitney Museum of American Art in New York (1969). His works found their way to the most prestigious collections of museums, among them Chicago, Pittsburgh, the Hague, Paris, Vienna, New York, Washington, Berlin and Tel Aviv.
born in 1923 in Cracow, died in 2011 in Cracow, lived and worked in Cracow
Considered to have been one of the most important Polish painters of the second half of the 20th century and one of the most outstanding contemporary writers of icons. He started his studies during the German occupation, in 1940, at the Staatliche Kunstgewerbeschule Krakau (The Cracow School of Handcraft). After the war he moved to the Cracow Academy of Fine Arts. He was assistant to Tadeusz Kantor and belonged to the artistic milieu centred around him. As a young artist he was strongly influenced by the rites of the Uniate Orthodox Church in which he participated under the influence of his father – a Lemko by origin. Although his work at its early stage responded formally to the postulates of modernity, prevailing at the time, the spiritual message of his works was linked to the theology of the Eastern church. Also the visual side, and with time the technology of his painting were inspired by the world of icons, even when he painted compositions which were secular in character, such as portraits or still lifes. In this vein he created monumental wall decorations in churches in Lourdes, the Holy Ghost church in Tychy or the Reformers’ church in Cracow. He also designed a small Greek-Catholic church in Biały Bór. His deliberations on religion and art were published in Wokół ikony (Around the Icon) (1985) and in Mój Chrystus (My Christ) (1993). Nowosielski’s works have been shown at numerous exhibitions in Poland and abroad. Recently Krystyna Czerni has written his exhaustive biography (Nietoperz w świątyni) (A Bat in a Temple).
born in 1949 in Zabrze, lives and works in Warsaw
Krystyna Piotrowska exhibited her works in Poland, Sweden, France and Germany. She received many awards at the International Biennale of Graphic Art, among others in Frechen, Ljubljana and Sapporo. Since 2005 she has been the curator of the annual collective exhibition Ulica Próżna (Próżna Street) in Warsaw. She uses photography, video, painting and graphic art techniques, also creates spatial installations. The artist takes up motifs concerning memory, passing away and Jewish culture; she often uses the symbolism of hair and elements of wardrobes.
The video Jakub Muller – Mimo lata co minęły (Jakub Muller – Despite the years which have passed) is a record of a conversation with Jakub Muller, a conversation about life, love, fear, emigrations, religion, Poles and Jews, which took place in November 2009 in Malmö. Jakub Muller was born in Nowy Sącz, one of the few Jews saved from the Holocaust, after 1968 he emigrated to Sweden. From 1990, as soon as the possibility to return appeared, he spent the summer months in Nowy Sącz, taking care of the Jewish cemetery. He was a guide of the Jewish past in Nowy Sącz. He died in Malmö in December 2010.
Meadow – on the 22nd of August 1942, when the Jewish inhabitants of Nowy Sącz were gathered on the meadow on the banks of the Dunajec. Between the railway bridge and the Helena one 15 000 Jews gethered that beautifull sunny Sunday, grouped by families, according to the street names and the house numbers. Before caming back to ghetto, they spent some time on the meadow. Afterwards, in three subsequent transports, they were sent to the death camp in Bełżec. Summer, the sun, the river, greenness, the sound of voices, conversations, prayers, screams, crying. Silence.
Nihad Nino Pušija
born in 1965 in Sarajewo, lives and works in Berlin
He is a photographer documenting the Roma living in Berlin. Pusija is of the opinion that events which took place in Berlin get recorded on the faces of its inhabitants. Photographs which he has taken try to capture the climate of two separate worlds enclosed in one metropolis.
For the last twenty years, I have consciously chosen to live and photograph in Berlin. There is no other metropolis in the world in which two divided halves are trying to grow back together. Nowhere else can you find both the division, and the merging, between the East Block and West Block. In this time and place of transition, I have the unique opportunity to move around as an artist, exploring Berlin's microcosms, such as its streets, food stands and even park benches, as change in progress. Through my eyes, as a foreigner, and with the tool of artistic photography, the faces of the inhabitants become projections of the events.
Photography is used as a medium to (re)gain one's identity and self-image. This is true for the subjects I capture, as well as for my own experience and role within this societal process of transition. It becomes increasingly important for me to find strategies and approaches to communicate my own experiences as part of the whole and make them heard.
Roma people in Germany and Europe and their unique personal stories are at the centre of attention in portrait photography series at the turn of this century. These photographs of individuals become defining docu¬mentaries for whole groups of people.
It is my artistic goal to seek out microcosms, here, where I live and work, capturing the small changes and holding on to the unassuming, so that the resulting series of photographs will defy the vague generalizations of my surroundings and daily life.
Nihad Nino Pušija
born in 1957 in Waliły in the Podlasie region, lives and works in Waliły
Considered to be one of the most important contemporary Polish painters. Author of numerous exhibitions and painting arrangements, first of all in urban space in many countries of the world, among them in the Polish Pavillion at the 49th Art Biennale in Venice. Tarasewicz’s painting installations allow the spectators to penetrate into the structure of the work of art, thus leading to the obliteration of the borderline between the medium and the viewer.
During the mysterious journey of the Slavs towards the lands between present day Trieste and Berlin, in the charismatic Carpathians a people settled who today is called the Lemkos.
…different winds of history blew between their mountains, but they remained permanently in their wooden houses.
…time wrote joy and sorrow with colourful threads of embroidery, and every day soaked their linen shirts with sweat.
…they got used to it, and their orthodox Christ in the iconostas, whose Lemko complaints nobody wanted to hear
…but it was this very glow of the Lemko iconostas that gave us Andrej Warchoł, Nikifor and Jerzy Nowosielski
…on different sides of the same charismatic Carpathians, under the same double sky, painting breathed in life giving freshness again.
…it is so much from such a small nation.
…and although the Lemko Christ has been taken away in pieces all over the world, their double sky has remained with us.
…the double sky of the Lemkos, before which we bow our heads with shame and remorse.
30th July 2012, Waliły
born in 1965 in Belgrade, lives and works in Belgrade
Studied painting at the Deprtment of Fine Arts at the Unversity of Belgrade, where he presently works as an assistant. He uses new media and video. He has shown his works in numerous exhibitions in Europe and in the world. He is particularly interested in the questions of surveillance and control, thus confronting the viewers with the uncomfortable truth and hidden motivations.
The work Gypsies and Dogs was in fact initiated by an action which took place in the streets of Belgrade during the summer of 2007. Beggar children and stray dogs, equipped with special micro cameras, recorded their daily life, that is, some of its symptomatic segments. However, the gaze that is offered here is not the gaze of a child or a dog, but the gaze of the device of a potential investigator or a witness, someone who eavesdrops and interprets the relations which occur here or the conditions in which someone’s life is going on. The work is staged as a two channel video installation entitled “Gypsies and Dogs”. This title does not function in terms of the content, but is conceived to create the expectation of a racist discourse within the audience which interprets the images on such grounds. Images, however, are conceptually and technically realized in a way that they do not provide an overflow of interpretation about the event which was recorded; actually, informational void is filled by the audience through its inscription of its own ideological content, depending on the position which any individual takes in relation to the racist political code or the code of what is politically correct, which is also the form of stigmatization of the other, and which in fact is provoked by such a title. The work was guided by the need to explore the possibility of interaction with the audience in a way that would enable it to place itself in a certain way within the process of the creation of the work and through this to complete the work or to keep it constantly open for some potential debate which temporarily forms it. This kind of procedure is characteristic of the most part of my works; however, it turned out that in fact it is a particular challenge to make a video document as the only artifact of the work; it should enable the work itself to function as a performance of the audience which is placed between the image and the text.
Bronisława „Papusza” Wajs
born in 1908 in Lublin, died in 1987 in Inowrocław
A poet of Roma origin. She was one of the few women in her community who could read and write, which often resulted in her countrymen’s resentment towards her. She made her debut in 1951 in the “Nowa Kultura”, from 1962 she was a member of the Polish Writers’ Union. Her poems have been translated into German, French, English and Italian.
artistic group founded in 1985 by Anne Peschken (born in 1966 roku in Montreal) and Mark Pisarsky (born in 1956 in Ruda Śląska), they live and work in Berlin and Myśliborz
In 2005 the Urban Art Group started a long-term project which consisted in the opening of the company Globalpix. The company does not have a permanent place in which it works, it does so with a new community each time. At the same time the Urban Art artists involve hemselves in art which is socially involved, taking up the questions of the originality of the work of art and its links with the reality of the late period of capitalism.
Asked to develop a new artwork relating to the former German minority in Galicia (Galiziendeutsche) we decided to go on a research trip that brought us to Ulm, from where the settlers had embarked in the late 18th century down the Danube; to Stuttgart, where we met a representative of the Relief Committee of Germans from Galicia (Hilfskomitee der Galiziendeutschen); to the newly built fake Old Galician Town (Galicyjskie Miasteczko) in Nowy Sącz and the Open-Air Museum where the architectural remains of the Germans are lovingly tended to; and finally to the Martin-Opitz Library in Herne, which only recently received the archive of the Galiziendeutsche.
220 cardboard boxes, still unpacked, are sitting in the basement in Herne, while the generation of people who still remember life in Galicia is dying out.
Allowed to rummage through the boxes we found old clichés and used printing plates. Some of them still had print smeared on them, others were craftily etched and retouched with fine grinders and almost all of them emitted a mysterious silver glow that seems to reach far back into the past. Blurred and laterally inverted, many of them are hardly decipherable, rough reproductions of low quality faded photos that had somehow survived the war and expulsion from Galicia.
The plates had been used to reproduce photos and village maps – meticulously depicting the village layout and each family living there prior to 1939 – for the “The Holy Bond” (“Das Heilige Band”), the still existing monthly publication of the Galiziendeutsche Relief Committee. This strangely pompous and archaic name, the aesthetics of the blurred printing plates and the zealousness with which a lost past and homeland are engraved and etched into memory are reflected upon in our work.
To us these images no longer represent a memory on stand-by that only waits for the occasion to be re-activated, but a sentimental form of coming to terms with the past.
Anne Peschken & Marek Pisarsky
born in 1928 in Pittsburgh, died in 1987 in New York, lived and worked in New York
The best known pop artist. He was born Andrew Warhola, a son of immigrants – Andrij Warhola and Ulija (Julia) Justynya Zavacka, originating from Lemko Greek Catholics living in the village of Miková, today in Northern Slovakia. The Warhola family carefully cultivated their native secular and religious customs in which young and sickly Andy actively participated. After his father’s death in 1942, Andy started working as a salesman in a department store where he came into contact with the intensity of mass culture and the world of consumerism. Showing artistic abilities from the earliest age, he started studying design at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. After graduating he moved to New York where he soon became known as a commercial artist and a decorator of exclusive magazines. Already at the age of 26 he showed his works at the collective exhibition The USA Newest Drawings at MoMA.
Andy Warhol is generally known from his gesture of appropriating ready models of packagings taken over from mass culture and moving them into the domain of art. From that culture he also took the principle of duplicating the same objects (Campbell Soup, Brillo Powder), through which he negated the rules of uniqueness and originality applied to works of art, which were de rigeur until then. In this approach to creative work one can find an echo of the rules in force in the Eastern church – of anonymity of the icon painters and the repetitiveness of motifs and formal devices used in them. The artist left hundreds of serigrafies (usually printed on canvas), showing portraits of celebrities, flower motifs, elements of packaging – always duplicated in long series, differentiated in colours and displayed in the form of wallpapers. He was also the author of several dozen films.