Cezary Bodzianowski
Over the past few decades, the international art world has increasingly become a neoliberal globalized system. Worldwide operating galleries and ever more and bigger art fairs are playing an increasingly more dominant role in the process of commercialization. Seen in this context, the works of Cezary Bodzianowski are even more exceptional as the Polish artist’s “dematerialized works” (Lucy R. Lippard) and intervention-like performances are denied any likeness at all with commodities. His refusal to cooperate with the economic functions of a gallery was written into history with a performance at a well-known gallery in Lublin in 1997: this, indeed, not-for-sale exhibition consisted of convincing the workers of the gallery to lock themselves in, turn off their computers and telephones, and quit working during gallery hours completely. Indeed, strategies such as occupying buildings and strikes are employed by the artist to undermine the “regular” profit-generating system of a gallery. But for Bodzianowski, his artistic work is not just about the refusal to produce commodities: he goes yet a further step in investigating the conventions of their presentation and perception. Thus, most of his performances take place in the public space and not in institutional rooms such as museums or Kunstvereins. Moreover, these performances are never announced, often resulting in the fact that no one experiences the artist’s works at all. What remains are only photographs, like snapshots, mostly taken by the wife of the artist. A good example can be witness in the video takes from four situations the artist staged in Paris in 2004. Titled, “4x Paris,” he arranged a few quotidian actions with passersby, for example, in which he asks about the time, so that he can mark it down on the watch drawn on his wrist. Or he asked tourists to photograph him in front of the Eiffel Tower — with a toy camera. As these situations are both laconic and dada-esque absurd at the same time, he succeeds in annulling the ordinary out of the everyday routine. Just do it!