Jan Swidzinski: Residency

The following text is taken from Front Magazine, vol. VIII, no. 3, p. 8, January/February 1997:

Performance Wednesday, February 12 at 8pm.

The steady acceleration of changes in contemporary civilization add to the ambiguity of concepts and values. We live in a world of signs losing relation to what they are to signify. Objects and situations require meaning to us only we perceive them in a defining context. The established division of the world into art and non-artistic reality is beginning to vanish. Everything may become art; what is decisive is the context, the artistic situation: exhibition, a museum, information published in a journal or book…

I am not showing ready-made objects, Or things, or even ideas. I’m not interested in it. What is on display is my attitudes, situations, my own reactions. If I touch on social issues, which I sometimes do, it is not as a result of a priori assumptions but the fact that I live in a definite context which is always in a sense social context. As I demonstrate my attitudes and reveal my reactions, I am sometimes, but not always, in trouble.

Jan Swidzinski is a distinguished Polish artist and founder of the theory of “Contextual Art”. A great storyteller as well as a great scholar, he has maintained his intellectual and artistic integrity throughout the turbulent and difficult post-war period. Developing a philosophy of art that is both tough and optimistic. His thought has much to offer.

We are honoured to have Jan Swidzinski visit the Western Front.