Sunday, November 2, 2008

Open Art Project

"Two Men and a Wardrobe" is the most recent project by Pawel Althamer, whose works, from the very beginning of his artistic career, oscillate with different amplitude between the poles of figurative sculpture and collective activities introducing other people into the creative process. By inviting random people from the street, inhabitants of a Warsaw block of flats, prisoners from a German penal institution or difficult youth the artist poses questions about the position and status of the author, which is a characteristic phenomenon in the art of the last decade. However, the means by which Althamer explores the notion of participation seems to be closely related to the social potential that his works carry. Instead of granting them complete freedom, the artist creates a specific framework, a proposition, in which those invited define their identity.

This practice is closely related to the figure of Grzegorz Kowalski, professor at the sculpture department of the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts from which Althamer graduated. The original course ran by Kowalski meant to create non-verbal means of communication within the class, where the students react to the activities of others by changing or commenting upon the given situation, shaped Althamer's attitude towards the creative process. 

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