Date: 18 August – 19 November 2023
Opening: 18.08.2023, 6pm
Venue: Günter Grass Gallery in Gdańsk, Szeroka 37
Artists: Krzysztof Leon Dziemaszkiewicz, Anna Królikiewicz, Michał Łagowski, Włodzimierz Łajming, Honorata Martin, Emilia Rodziewicz, Adam Witkowski
Curator: Piotr Stasiowski
Visual identification: Maciej Bychowski
The Gdańsk City Gallery is pleased to present a collective exhibition entitled Goodbye, Till Tomorrow (Do widzenia, do jutra). It is inspired by Janusz Morgenstern’s 1960 film by the same name, now a classic and a must‑watch for every movie aficionado, especially those interested in the history of post-war Gdańsk. However, this was not always the case. Shortly after the film was released in Poland, it was panned by many critics for its allegedly naive vision of youth and emotions experienced by the protagonists. Later, in retrospect, critics began to appreciate the film’s prophetic vision of the emerging New Wave. A careful viewer will spot additional gems, such as the hands theatre performance in the opening credits. The real actors (literally) behind the curtain were members of the CO TO theatre founded by students of Sopot’s State Higher School of Fine Arts, now renamed the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdańsk. One of its actors was the late professor Włodzimierz Łajming, who taught at the Academy for many years. Interestingly enough, Łajming portrayed himself in the film, playing a student co-creating the theatre.
Today’s viewers of the film will have a rare opportunity to see the landmarks of the post-war Gdańsk before its rebuilding: the ruins of St. Mary’s Church (with a stray dog roaming around), the empty squares of the Main City (now tightly packed with tenement houses), the tram in the Długi Targ street, and the poster pillar by the Neptune’s fountain. The gloomy frames are a backdrop to the love story of two young people that conveys the climate of the Thaw and the faith in restoring human relations after the horrors of the Second World War and Stalinism, while deliberately shrugging off any reference to the politics or economy of the time.
In the context of the exhibition, which borrows its title from Morgenstern’s film, we focus not so much on the selected artistic circle from the TriCity but rather on the affective nature of the works representing various techniques, formats and styles. We want to look at affect in the same way as the filmmakers did: as something cathartic and refocusing our attention to fundamental human relationships, which are all the more important the more difficult our times turn out to be. The recent few years have been challenging for us all: the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, the war in Ukraine, the economic crisis, violations of basic human rights have been and are a trying test. In the time of solidarity and humanistic gestures, we become painfully aware of the strength and importance of mutual personal relations across economic, national or political divisions.
It is no coincidence that we planned to open this exhibition at the end of summer 2023 as we want it to be viewed in the sleepy atmosphere of late August. It is a time when, submerged in holiday laziness, we tend to recollect people and events from our past. We remember our summer travels and travel companions. The key to understanding the exhibition lies in direct interpersonal relations, the naturalness and simplicity of which testifies to our individual uniqueness. The choice of the artists is also deliberate as they represent the most interesting personalities of the TriCity region. Collecting their works in one room may seem a bold project since each artist is a strong and distinct personality with a unique sensitivity and tenor. Each story is moving and poignant. Artists of various generations and modes of expressions undertake to answer the question how everyday behaviours and emotions, such as friendship, love, but also despair of parting, sadness, fear or loneliness, are manifested in their work. Like Morgenstern’s film, the exhibition is a witness to our affects and relationships in a specific time and place. The strength of the film is revealed years later: in the images of Gdańsk from the early 1960s, in the interactions between people who were young and who experienced their youthful emotions at that time. The strength of the Goodbye, Till Tomorrow exhibition will be a contemporary look at ourselves through the lens of our present feelings.
Krzysztof ‘Leon’ Dziemaszkiewicz. From 1982 to 1986, he studied at the Faculty of Manufacturing Economics of Gdańsk University. While in university, he was actively involved in the cultural life of Sopot, collaborating with such organisations as the Łajba club, famous for hosting alternative music concerts, the University Theatre Centre, as well as organising artistic events in the streets of the city. In 1986, he participated in the premiere performance of Tranzytoryjna Formacja Totart, titled Miasto – Masa – Masarnia, in which he played the male half of the Couple Suffering from Hysteria. He later collaborated with the Art Lovers’ Club at the Mental Health Clinic, the Kwadratowa University Club at the Gdańsk University of Technology, and the Żak Coastal Students’ Club. In the late 80s and early 90s, he was a dancer and choreographer’s assistant at Teatr Ekspresji. Together with his troupe he performed in various plays staged across Poland and abroad, including Scotland, the US, Italy and Turkey. After 1995, he continued to collaborate with Teatr Ekspresji as an unofficial member. He worked with the S.F.I.N.K.S club from its inception in 1991, helping organise a number of art-related events. Leon was also responsible for the choreographies of the fashion shows organised at the club, as well as other performances and art initiatives. He collaborated with the Sopot Forum for Science, Culture and Art Integration until 2010, before the group moved out of the venue at 1 Mamuszki Street in Sopot. The venue is now home to the Sfinks 700 club, with which Leon regularly collaborates. In 1995, he founded Patrz mi na usta, his own theatre based in Gdańsk, and has collaborated with various other creators, himself working as the director, dancer and choreographer. The theatre’s plays combine dance, performance art, music and visual arts, often drawing upon queer aesthetics. In 1997, Leon moved his project to Berlin, where he is now based. Here, he has collaborated with Teatr Moving M3, whose members include many international creatives from various fields. Leon has contributed as a choreographer, performance artist and director. From 2004 to 2012, he completed a series of performance art projects in collaboration with the Polish-German actress Mariola Brillowska. After 2013, Dziemaszkiewicz remained faithful to his underground roots, taking part in many ephemeral, alternative events and initiatives in Germany and Poland. Since 2016, he has been experimenting with taping, which involves creating objects and paintings using adhesive tape and recycled items. At the start of this year, he organised a large exhibition at Galeria El in Elbląg, titled I love to make you happy.
Anna Królikiewicz. She graduated with a degree in painting from the Faculty of Painting of the Gdańsk Academy of Fine Arts in 1993, followed by a doctorate in 2000. After earning her habilitacja postdoctoral degree in 2010, she became head of the Fourth Drawing Workshop. She was awarded the title of professor by the President of the Republic of Poland in 2018. From 2001 to 2003, she participated in several workshops at the Art and Graphic Design faculties of Bilkent University in Ankara, and since 2013, she has taught the course The Shape of Flavour at the School of Form in Poznań. While her work is centred around monumental drawings and installation art, she is also an occasional writer (and has her own column in the USTA magazine, where she writes about the relationship between fine art and food). She is the author of many solo exhibitions, and has participated in dozens of events in Poland and abroad, including New York, Istanbul, Ankara, Kiel and Brussels, and her works have been displayed at international festivals of contemporary art, but also in an abandoned butcher’s shop in Sopot, a Carthusian refectory, a forest in the Oliwa district of Gdańsk, an empty flat in Kraków’s Salwator neighbourhood and in Warsaw’s Zachęta gallery. From 2018 to 2019, she worked on the scenery for a play based on a novel by Alexandre Dumas: Die Bartholomäusnacht, staged at Theater Freiburg in Germany. Królikiewicz is the co-author, scholarly editor and co-publisher of the monograph Interlanguage, which systematises the use of food in contemporary art, food art and relational art from the perspective of painting, anthropology and art history. Her latest projects come from 2022, commissioned by the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw. The exhibition What’s Cooking? Jewish Culinary Culture metaphorises various aspects of Jewish cuisine. She was nominated as a Culture Person of The Year in 2019 and 2020 (Pomorskie Sztormy 2019 and 2020 contests), and was a finalist in the Splendor Gedanensis 2020 contest. In 2019, she was granted the Gloria Artis award for her contributions to Polish culture.
Michał Łagowski. Visual artist, teacher and author of texts. In 2013, he graduated from the Painting Faculty of the Gdańsk Academy of Fine Arts, where he studied at the Intermedia Workshop under Grzegorz Klaman. That same year, he presented his work Transparenty at the Co widać. Polska sztuka dzisiaj exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw. From 2013 to 2014, he participated in the Kurator Libera initiative organised by BWA Wrocław. In 2014, Łagowski presented his works at the Into the Country group exhibition in Ankara, Turkey. A year later, he participated in the Je brûle Paris group exhibition, curated by Stanisław Ruksza at the Cité internationale des arts in Paris. Łagowski also participated in the Test ducha exhibition, organised as part of the 6th Pomada festival at the Ujazdów Castle Centre of Contemporary Art in Warsaw. In 2016, he participated in the group exhibition To czego jeszcze nie ma, a można sobie wyobrazić, że będzie at GGM2. That same year, he co-organised the group exhibition Paganus at GGM1. Łagowski’s art revolves around rural life, its hardships and at times brutal nature, combined with themes relating to the body, gender, feminism and queerness. In his art, the countryside is not longer presented as an idealised, idyllic place with a close relationship with nature. As an insider, he strives to present its true face, which may be difficult to accept at times. Nevertheless, he does so with a certain dose of empathy and even nostalgia, which are a result of growing up and living there himself. For several years now, he has worked as a teacher to neurodivergent students. This has given him a sense of greater agency and being genuinely needed compared to contemporary art, which led him to withdrawing from the scene for a time. After a several years-long hiatus, he decided to return to exhibiting his works, participating in such events as the Gdańsk Art Biennale, where he won the Award of the Rector of the Academy of Fine Arts.
Włodzimierz Łajming. Painter and drawer. He graduated in 1960, defending a thesis written under Professor Juliusz Studnicki at the National University of Visual Arts in Gdańsk. Łajming co-founded the Co to student theatre troupe, and was a member of the To tu troupe. From 1962, he was a research fellow at the university, which later became the University of Fine Arts in Gdańsk. In 1974, he attended lectures at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen. From 1975 to 1984, he was vice-dean and dean of the Faculty of Painting, Sculpture and Graphic Arts. In 1988, he was awarded the title of professor, and became head of the Chair of Painting and Drawing, a position he held until 1991. He continued to supervise students until 2004. From the mid-1960s, his paintings were geometric depictions of still life, featuring sublime colour choices and restrained, well thought-out compositions. In the 70s, his oil paintings became more textural and painterly, making use of frantic colours combined with progressively reduced compositional structures. His paintings at the time depicted such objects as chairs, architecture elements, painting frames and elliptical mirrors, as well as interiors free from human presence. From the early 80s, his output was increasingly centred around landscapes, inspired by the mountain in Chmielno, depicted using cold, muted colours. His many individual exhibitions include those displayed at the AP in Copenhagen (1965), ZR in Copenhagen (1974) BWA in Białystok (1975), BWA in Słupsk (1977), Gransche in Worms (1979), Im Winter in Bremen (1980), National Art Gallery in Sopot (2000), National Museum in Gdańsk (a retrospective, 2007), and the Gallery of the Institute of Fine Arts in Bochum (2010). Łajming’s works have also been presented at major group exhibitions, including the Polish Exhibition of Young Painters in Sopot (1965), 5th and 7th Festival of Polish Contemporary Painting in Szczecin (1972, 1976), Polish Contemporary Painting Exhibition in Helsinki (1972) and the Zachęta National Gallery in Warsaw (1976). His works have also been displayed at exhibitions in Singen, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Lubeck, Frankenthal, Mannheim, Heidelberg (West Germany), Paris, Alesund (Norway), Berlin (East Germany), Edinburgh, Bergen (Netherlands) and Karlskrona (Sweden). Łajming’s paintings and drawings are part of various collections, both public and private. He has been granted such awards as an Officer’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta (2001).
Honorata Martin. She graduated from the Faculty of Painting and Intermedia of the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdańsk in 2009. In 2007, she spent a semester studying at Marmara University in Istanbul. Since 2013, she has been employed by the Gdańsk university as an assistant. A painter, performance artist and social activist. She placed 3rd in the Geppert Contest (2011), and was a laureate in the Polacy z werwą and Pomorski sztorm (2015) competitions. In 2016, she was nominated for the Paszporty Polityki award. An author of solo exhibitions, she has also participated in more than fifty joint art initiatives, including joint exhibitions, festivals and special performances. Her output as a performance artist is often centred around pushing one’s own limits, externalising emotions via radical gestures and direct interactions with the audience, who are not treated simply as viewers, but participants in a dialogue. Martin’s paintings, on the other hand, while drawing upon her empathy, also contain a certain amount of humour and ironic self-deprecation. She garnered fame across the country with her 2013 project Wyjście w Polskę, during which she spent two months walking from Gdańsk to Dzierżoniów, stopping at random people’s houses and engaging in conversations with them. The project was part of the Kurator Libera initiative organised by the BWA Wrocław, and the documentation of her journey served as the base for an solo exhibition displayed at the Raster gallery in Warsaw. Martin’s latest large artistic project is the solo exhibition Bóg małpa, which in addition to various objects and documents also contains her paintings; the exhibition was presented at three galleries – BWA in Wrocław, BWA in Zielona Góra and Gdańska Galeria Miejska. In recent years, in addition to teaching at the Academy of Fine Arts, she has been heavily involved in the activities of the Arbuz foundation, which works with migrants with the help of music and art, organising music and film workshops taught by artists using equipment transported from venue to venue by bus. The project premiered in Calabria, where members of Arbuz worked with migrants from Syria. The foundation currently helps immigrants from the east and other regions living in Poland.
Emilia Rodziewicz. Graduate of the Faculty of Sculpture and Intermedia of the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdańsk. She completed her studies in 2023. In her own words: ‘In my free time, I am a social activist and argue with people online, which influences my creative output, which mainly revolves around net art and short video forms. My creative work focuses on the participatory potential of Internet art, image deconstruction, politics, memes, dynamic montages and drawing inspiration from the press. I also find illustrating relaxing, particularly when focused on carnality – that is how I recover from putting things together and irritating boys in suits. In my short artistic career, I have done a couple exhibitions and open calls, presenting my works on stereotypical modern girls, a video about my endometriosis, a video performance in which I LARP as Mao the Rising Sun, as well as ones in which I play every traitor to Poland in my family, and from time to time I also present my watercolour paintings of naked people.’
Adam Witkowski. Graduate of Włodzimierz Łajming’s painting programme at the Gdańsk Academy of Fine Arts, where he is currently employed as a professor. From 2015 to 2021, he taught at the Academy of Arts in Szczecin. In 2011, he defended his doctoral dissertation at the Academy of Arts in Szczecin, followed by the habilitacja postdoctoral degree at the University of Fine Arts in Poznań in 2020. He makes use of various types of art, music and sound. Witkowski often collaborates with Anna Witkowska, Maciej Salomon and Mikołaj Trzaska. He has been a member and co-founder of several music groups, including Samorządowcy, Gówno, Nagrobki, Wolność, Woda and Langfurtka. Since the early 2000s, he has been a very active contributor to the Polish and international art scenes. Since 2002, he has curated his own project Znajomi znad morza, and is the author and co-author of such projects as Radio Copernicus (2005–2006), Lektury obowiązkowe with Robert Rumas and Daniel Muzyczuk (2008), Radio stadion with Jacek Skolimowski (2008) and, from 2013, To nie ta melodia. Witkowski has participated in many individual and group exhibitions, festivals and specials. The most notable of these include adamwitkowski_obrazy at the Bydgoszcz Art Exhibition Office (2022), Spalam się at the National Art Gallery in Sopot (2019), Second Moon Syndrome at the Kronika Centre of Contemporary Art in Bytom (2017), Kolejny rok w urnie at Trafostacja Sztuki in Szczecin (2017), Chwila trwa, a collaboration with Anna Witkowska displayed at the Polish Institute in Berlin (2014), Tunnels with Anna Witkowska, presented at Platana Gallery in Budapest (2014), Wieczór Fauna, presented at the Łaźnia Centre of Contemporary Art in Gdańsk, Into the trees, a collaboration with Anna Witkowska presented at Ve.Sch in Vienna (2013) and many more.