No 4 (100) 2014
October - December

Secret Charm of Sculpture

Krystian Truth Czaplicki has been invited by the Bath Contemporary Art Center in Gdańsk to appear in public space under the Exterior Gallery of the City of Gdańsk. The artist represents Wrocław artistic circle.

Agata Nowosielska

Art critic. She publishes texts on contemporary art.

Agata Nowosielska

LOWER CITY. The installation by Czaplicki enchants a viewer at the very first glance. The simplicity of this installation - the form of a fishing rod or a landing net - has been its strength. A simple steel pipe and a ring at its end, immersed in water with a load, offer an impression as though a fishing person was using a more advanced fishing equipment. The piece has directly referred to the location picked up by the artist. The Motława (Mottlau) river tide, close to the Reduta Wyskok bastion is a site on the map of the Lower City district, frequented by fishermen, and the place where one can take a stroll and relax listening to reeds swooshing in the wind.

The noninvasive installation by Czaplicki, seemingly minimalist, has been a well targeted realization. Both, the fish rod form, as a tribute to local inhabitants of the bastion neighborhood, and planned minimalism corresponding to the character of the district, indicate maturity of the artist. Why is minimalism considered a positive aspect of the oeuvre by Czaplicki? A district like the Lower City, scrupulously revitalized, renovated, gentrified, has been gradually ceasing to be a shelter for its original inhabitants. The piece by Czaplicki has referred neither to the history of all these beautiful prewar mansions, nor entered into a dialogue with the 90's architecture. Czaplicki has decided to offer a simple gesture - to get in touch with local people; the installation being an attempt to meet ordinary men halfway. It is good that they were curious enough to touch the piece. The vernissage and sculpture unveiling took place on July 19th, proceeding concerts by the bands - Asia and Cats (Asia i Koty) and Sonya Writes Songs (Sonia pisze piosenki). Summer, relaxed people listening to the music, and the holiday mood - all these have confirmed that the sculpture by Krystian Truth Czaplicki has been mounted in the right surroundings, functioned well as a comment, an interlude, a three dimensional intervention into the public space.

In Fact Life Is Not Funny1). Sculptures and miniature interventions by Czaplicki have been present in the Krzyki district in Wrocław. The artist has favored the "cooperation" with this district in terms of visual art. Frequently approached with a sense of humor, all the installations by the artist in a noninvasive manner enter a specific site. Labeled by some as a street art follower, Czaplicki himself prefers a reference to the concept of the objet trouvé2) according to Marcel Duchamp , the founder of the very notion. Sculptures by Czaplicki bring to one's mind ephemeral performances by Martin Creed, a British man, introducing subtly changes or providing a comment on a given site. Considering Polish scene, the sculptures by Czaplicki can be referred to the 21 Objects exhibition by Andrzej Matuszewski, held in 1968 at the odNOWA gallery in Poznań3). The former covered everyday objects that the artist painted red, thus stripping them off their original functions. Not without a reason I have mentioned here the Poznań exhibition from the 60's. The actions by this artist have referred slightly to the objet trouvé tradition pursued in Poland. Further, he has been gradually moving from urban space to the white cube. To tame a subversive art in the gallery space has been yet another strategy adopted by the Wrocław artist.

The turn towards a gallery - to present interventions "borrowed" from the urban structure - has been a universally observed trend. Czaplicki seems to be giving in to a dialogue with gallery official policies. I do not mean this pejorative. His art developed "at large", growing into the Polish landscape, has been already tamed in the white cube, and nobody will pass it indifferently.

The question remains what is the space form the artist is aiming at? A rhetoric question. Since the natural chaos of the Polish architecture, damaged by the totalitarian landscape of a given city, welcomed bright interventions by Truth, one can wonder how long he will persevere as a subtle observer and commentator of the "existing" situations in public space?

I do believe that Krystian Truth Czaplicki will cope well with any site specific situation, since his so far offered pieces have proved that he has got an artistic insight.


1) Krystian Truth Czaplicki, the title of one of the works taken from the artist's web log;

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3) Piotr Piotrowski, Meanings of Modernism, p. 151, the Rebis Publishing House, Poznań 2011