Bogusław Bachorczyk, Agnieszka Berezowska, Ireneusz Bęc, Ewa Ciepielewska, Wojciech Ćwiertniewicz, Magdalena Kościsz, Bogumił Książek, Władysław Markowski, Tomasz Vetulani
20.03.2021 - 12.06.2021
On the 30th of April 1999, we launched the Olympia Gallery. The first exhibition bore a simple title: Janusz Knorowski, malarstwo [Janusz Knorowski. Painting]. The artist from Warsaw installed his paintings in a tiny room on Koletek street in Krakow. In no time, the gallery interior was full to the brim with visitors. Barely imaginable at present, since the pandemic era has had us de-familiarised with human presence. The crowd was enormous enough for the perception of art to have become impossible; we, therefore, had to refer to the question of relational aesthetics. In no way was the activity forced, as my father – invited to the launch opening – travelled hundreds of kilometres to supply me with the so-called literatki [100ml vodka glassed originating from Galicia, an Austro-Hungarian crown land, later to become part of the Second Polish Commonwealth after WWI], which we filled with wine, as well as with home-made szarlotka [not an apple Charlotte, but a Polish apple cake], which was justly and evenly distributed between participants in the meeting.
10 years later, in the Kazimierz district of Krakow, the next seat of the Olympia Gallery, we kicked off a jubilee anniversary, as required by tradition. Ours was a humble celebration, referring back to the history of Christianity, namely, we (all those gathered there) shared bread (the traditionally Krakovian poppy-seed pretzels) and wine (red wine). Some – distancing from the dominant trend – introduced a Pagan element and shed several drops of alcohol on a white, embroidered tablecloth, forming a part of Rafał Piekarz’s installation – inspired by Leni Riefenstahl documentary of 1936 – Olympia/ Fest der Schönheit/ Fest der Völker. The artist embroidered the material in his own hand. The humble anniversary ritual had resulted from a poor condition of the art market in Poland.
Taught by experience, we made a decision not to round subsequent —-versaries. Hence, in consequence of the above-described circumstances, it came upon us, at our new venue (the living room, or salon), to honour our sixteenth. For the occasion, the gallery technical curator, or Janusz Różański, assumed the identity of Violetta Villas, the vocalist, and fried waffles on an electrical appliance, whereas I, as the main publican of the house, whipped cream in a classic fashion, assisted in the strenuous labour by my neighbour, Katarzyna Wolan, the publican’s helper. The salon, which still, astoundingly, serves as our gallery, is spacious enough that even the enormous number of visitors was not – is not and will not be – able to overcast art, therefore our practice of relational aesthetics was less haphazard and more thought-through.
Throughout all those years, we were no strangers to relationality. After all, an exhibition of four sketch artists: Ignacy Czwartos, Dmitrij Szewionkow-Kismiełow, Marcin Świetlicki, and Andrzej Zaręba, or Rozmowa na koniec świata [A Conversation for the End of the World], organised in a gastronomical hub of the Kazimierz district (Nowy square, or Estery 16 street, more exactly), had by all means, if not par excellence, a social dimension. I, personally, encouraged our guests to drink alcoholic beverages with special labels created by the artists (drinks respectively named: Czwartka, Kismiełówka, Marcini Bianco, and Zarębiak). It was no lone drinking – and not lone was it not because of our crowded company, but it was not lone, since drunk with a select artist. Each session was, that I have to admit, for a fee. Świetlicki was the most favoured. Also, his drawings were stolen from a portfolio.
A year later – to finalise Monika Kozień-Świca, Marta Miskowiec and Natalia Zarzecka’s remarkable project, Domowa Atmosfera (Home Atmosphere) – we made available still the place of our current dwelling. In 2004, our home was a venue for a several-hour-long artistic action, consisting in artists’ intervention into the given space of a private apartment. Art and life permeated one other daily.
I shall add other events to the collection. I remember that Robert Motelski’s bread toasts, served on the day of an opening at noon of a Saturday, tasted of everything, and a communal potato chips preparation on the occasion of an exhibition at the Olympia Gallery, as part of the KRAKERS Cracow Gallery Week, presenting artists from the near-by Skład Solny exhibition venue, was painstaking, since whisking mayonnaise is an art, fortunately mastered – thanks to his mother’s teachings – by Krzysztof Marchlak.
In 2020, the world was forced into acceleration and implementation, without any further ado, of a procedure for a dematerialisation of bodies. The process has been unfolding for a year now, and is plain sailing. The Olympia Gallery anti-jubilee anniversary festivities will take place shortly – during this opening – including visitors’ absence, but with a rote presence of our artists. Since we exclude nothing and nobody, we have not made up our minds to neglect relationality-simulating digital instruments. They will accompany us that evening as media for transmission of positive energy, which will surely emanate from human and non-human beings performing in the encounter.
Since we would like to remain in dialogue with institutions, an appendix, Kot w sztuce [Cat in Art] has been added to the main exhibition.
You are kindly invited to contact us on set dates after previous notification.
On behalf of the Olympia Gallery Team,
Nasza Wystawa. Mokre obrazy. 21. Artyści Galerii Olympia / Our Exhibition. Wet Paintings. 21. Olympia Gallery Artists
19 March 2021 – ∞|
Kraków, Limanowskiego 24/4b
Exhibition is open on Fridays, 15.00 – 19.00, and Saturdays, 11.00 – 15.00.
Artists: Bogusław Bachorczyk, Agnieszka Berezowska, Ireneusz Bęc, Ewa Ciepielewska, Wojciech Ćwiertniewicz, Magdalena Kościsz, Bogumił Książek, Władysław Markowski, Tomasz Vetulani
Curator: Olimpia Maciejewska, in collaboration with: Bogumił Książek
Technical curator: Janusz Różański