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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » November 3, 2014
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Pioneering Performance Art
November 3, 2014   
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Work by Zbigniew Warpechowski, a pioneer of performance art in Poland, is on show in a retrospective exhibition entitled It at the Zachęta National Gallery of Art in Warsaw.

Born in 1938, Warpechowski is a versatile artist who pursues performance art, poetry, painting and sculpture. The exhibition is divided into five sections arranged in five different rooms to showcase the many aspects of his work.

In the first room, visitors can see Warpechowski’s early work, which has been described as visual poetry. As a young artist, Warpechowski was inspired by Oriental philosophy and explored the concept of “nothing.”

Items in the next room include examples of Warpechowski’s work as a performance artist. Warpechowski habitually used his own body as the subject matter, studying it as a means of expression and testing its reactions to aggressive behavior and torture. Included in the exhibition are texts Warpechowski wrote for his performances, props and costumes he used and sketches he drew while preparing for projects.

The third room in the gallery houses a reconstruction of Warpechowski’s now legendary installation entitled Talerzowanie (Plating). In the last two rooms, visitors can see a number of paintings by the artist and archival material.
Dominik Kuryłek, the curator of the exhibition, says that Warpechowski’s 1967 project entitled Poetic Improvisation was Poland’s first instance of performance art. “When you look at work by Warpechowski, you are looking at the history of performance art in Poland,” said Kuryłek, adding that this type of art is ephemeral and relies heavily on improvisation set in a given moment in time. “Film footage and photographs documenting the artist’s work let us experience performance art through time,” Kuryłek added.

Until Nov. 11
Zachęta National Gallery of Art; 3 Małachowskiego St.,
Open Tue.-Sun. noon-8 p.m.; www.zacheta.art.pl
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