No 1 (65) 2006
January - March

The Artist’s Space

The art by Zygmunt Piotrowski has been rooted in the contest of artistic proposals he was faced with during his studies and after the graduation (1973). “I had been in the crafts school” – the artist says.

Anna Maria Leśniewska

Art critic, member of the Association of International Critics of Art (AICA).

Anna Maria Leśniewska

Though he does not consider himself a performer, this way of expression is close to him. He has named his actions the “Groundwork – source work”. This definition formulates a thinking pattern and its scope in the manner resembling the working method of theoretical physicists. In his search for the origins, Piotrowski has been exploring first sound alphabets, records of the language based on consonants sound – the foundation of the Jewish – Christian tradition. In the discipline of perceiving the invisible realities, he is able to trace “the etching of a breath”. The artist invokes timeless works, such as the Old Testament, where simultaneously the script was discovered and the script rules were set to express meanings and contents. Can a method of recording sounds – that makes one’s mind lost in contemplation – be an act of a human? He has posed a question and proved it experimentally: a physiological consequence of the contemplation practice - according to the “ruah” sound key – causes liberating skull resonators from vibrations disturbing minds analytical skills, as a result the sound echo reflections abilities are liberated - as the tools of recognizing the essence of time and space”. Initiating the “Groundwork” program, the artist has entered the area reserved for scientific research. Unsuccessfully, he has been looking for these who investigate analogical problems: “ When I was looking for a physicist dealing with sub-harmonic sounds issues, I failed, when I switched to mathematics and looked for a mathematician involved in the theory of primary numbers, again, I failed”. The courage to explore virgin areas remains open to artists. The “East West Study Project” was one of the experimental endeavors by Piotrowski, a juxtaposition of the Western and Eastern civilizations. Comparing two methods of achieving final initiation, the artist related to the conditions of meditation and contemplation. The exploration of one’s mind, search for the self within the self – linked to the meditation experience – he treated as typical of the Eastern civilization. On the other hand, being open to the outer, passive experiencing the world that leads to cognition, he linked to the contemplation closer in its nature to the Western civilization. “The desire for freedom, the feeling of growing threat from multimedia networks making obedient crowds of slaves dragged to a slaughter, a lack of consent for the totalitarian system and the civilization of death; all these have led me to a humble experience of my own body – he has written in the text entitled “The Gift of Grace. Contemplation of Space” (1966). The work on his own body, making oneself and others aware of it, has been an important element of his actions: “ I keep being delighted in space…..I am listening to the invisible… I do know and feel with all my self powers that this reality does exist, and I do exist physically immersed in its depth, contradicting the belief of a blind mind, contradicting the evidence of the senses disturbed with an image of the visible. I am entering the space with all my being, a gasp of breath opening me from inside. Noiselessly, with the trickle of air breathed in and out, I am trying to give out the sound as silent as possible, so silent as though it were melting into my body – and through me - into the depth of space” (Ground Work World Wide. Alternative Education, 2001). The artist aims at complete integration with the surrounding sphere. He expands the space with his very presence, he remains related to it, he accepts it within himself, simultaneously there is a feedback from the space on him. The essence of dissolving into the space to be defined, is best explained by the notion of “keep upperstanding”. (Changing-Rule-Game, 1988). The artist has analysed the relations between three ways of record, symbolically marked: Jerusalem, Baghdad, Rome. He attempts to define the core of “hyper-consciousness” in art. Exploring first sound alphabets, in particular proto Sinaic inscriptions from 1500 B.C., he pays attention to the pictogram that is the only one to resemble a human figure, whose shape originates in the sense of joy expressed with sound and gesture. The artist has taken over a sign form that he symbolically named the Sinaic icon, and then the icon of the Cross with raised hands and palms at the face level. This very pictogram has been a source of performance that took place facing exactly the location of the altar erected in the Piłsudski Square in Warsaw, at the occasion of the Papal visit. From September 19th through October 16th 2005, between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., for two hours daily, the artist was remaining in the contemplative posture, saying a prayer common to the heritage of Judaism, Islam and Christianity “ performed by noiseless blowing a windpipe, as though pronouncing the h consonant”. According to Piotrowski, the essence of the art impact involves lasting, only the events that happen over time can truly exist in space; then the utter experience is the expression of the creative process. “The Icon of the Cross”, Zygmunt Piotrowski / Pio Troski, Piłsudski Square, the Zachęta Gallery, Warsaw, September – October 2005.