Jacek Kryszkowski: A Fugitive from the Culture. Part 1 – Zrzuta

The most perverse act

Jacek Kryszkowski, ca. 1980.

Photo from J.K.'s archive

An account of an expedition to Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz’s (aka. Witkacy’s) grave in 1985 was published by Jacek Kryszkowski in his magazine, Hola Hoop, that same year. Kryszkowski, accompanied by his wife Elżbieta Kacprzak and a friend, Mikołaj “Miken” Malinowski (and Malinowski’s wife is also mentioned between the lines), supposedly reached Witkacy’s grave in Jeziory, Ukraine, dug up a bone, then ground it up and brought it back to Poland. 1985 was the hundredth anniversary of Witkacy’s birth: UNESCO declared it the year of Witkacy, a national initiative was planned to bring Witkacy’s ashes back to Poland, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs commenced a dialogue with the authorities of the Soviet Union. This was the background for Kryszkowski’s trip (“I wish, on behalf of the participants in the expedition, to apologize to Mr Dolatkowski’s Witkacy Committee for the fact that their efforts to bring back the corpse no longer make any sense. I propose suspending the activity.”1). He attached small plastic bags containing some ashes to each of the approximately one hundred copies of his magazine and then sent them to friends and Witkacy scholars. In Kryszkowski’s archive there is a letter dated 17th March 1987 in which photos of the village of Jeziory are requested by Włodzimierz Ziemlański (“I have a photo of Witkacy’s grave”) – a witness to Witkacy’s burial who had marked the nameless grave which enabled a tombstone to be erected. Kryszkowski’s account is supplemented with three photographs from the cemetery showing the group posing next to Witkacy’s grave and guarded by “a local female member of the Pioneer [Girl Scout] movement on duty at the cemetery” as well as Kryszkowski digging up the grave with a spade and also, in another photo, looking at an unearthed bone held in his hand. On the cover of the magazine there is a photo of the grave. Inside there is a handmade map of the area around Jeziory.

In 1994 the account was reprinted in Magazyn Sztuki [Art Magazine] (Issue No. 2-3). It was then that the expedition became the subject of interest to researchers and artists. Waldemar Żyszkiewicz in Dwie ekshumacje i pogrzeb [Two Exhumations and a Funeral] (1999) writes about “appalling” pictures, “shocking” descriptions of events and “graphic details”.2 Jerzy Truszkowski, in a book called Artyści radykalni [Radical Artists] (2004), calls Kryszkowski’s expedition “the most daring artistic act in Polish art”.3 Likewise, Ewa Domańska in her article Transhumanacja, czyli przepędzanie zwłok Witkacego [Transhumanations or the Driving of Witkacy’s Corpse] (2010) writes about “Jacek Kryszkowski’s radical action”.4 The event finds its place in the art market as an element of exhibitions (e.g. Poszliśmy do Croatan [We went to Croatan] at the Modern Art Centre in Torun, 2009) and art history (Przewodnik po sztuce [A Guide to Art] by Zbigniew Libera, endorsed by the Muzeum Sztuki [Museum of Art] in Lodz and the National Audiovisual Institute). The expedition becomes an artistic, historical and scholarly fact, and the account and documentation presented by Kryszkowski serve as a source for its reconstruction. This is despite the doubts voiced with regard to the authenticity of the ashes repatriated by him. “How many and what sort of bones did Kryszkowski excavate?”, asked Domańska and remarked, “Even though Kryszkowski dug within the surround of the grave marked as Witkacy’s, it is known from other sources that the old cemetery in Jeziory was neglected and some excavations had been carried out there in connection with roadworks and various remains were relocated without any markings. Therefore, Kryszkowski could have come across some other person’s remains”.5

I carried out my investigation guided by the words of Elżbieta Kacprzak under the account of the expedition: “I would like to say here that there are a lot of fake bags with the remains going around. Various people very often deceive…, often those considered to be good friends… deceive others, are double-faced, and this is the so-called double morality”.6 The investigation determines the structure of the text. It contains a portrait of Jacek Kryszkowski as an artist, created based on photographs, recordings and hundreds of pages of his writings, both published and those from his private archives. This is the first ever attempt at a comprehensive description of his output. An output which, apart from his student years, is inextricably linked with the artistic movement called Kultura Zrzuty (Pitch-in Culture) in Lodz, and is completely confined to the 1980s. In 1990 Kryszkowski finally retired from the world of art. He died in 2006.

I want to show here the complex potential of the “abandonment of culture” as designed and practised by Kryszkowski. This will, in turn, allow me to throw new light on the central event in his output, i.e. The trip to Russia to fetch Witkacy. The event which, to paraphrase Truszkowski, with a correction in the spirit of Kryszkowski, I will already now allow myself to call the most perverse act in Polish art.

Bryszek’s most detested word – “art”

The year 1985 might be one of the end dates for the existence of the Lodz-based Kultura Zrzuty, and certainly for its heroic period. The circle was formed in late 1981 (the initiating event is considered to be Spotkanie Młodych [The Meeting of the Young] at the S Gallery in Torun, co-organized by Kryszkowski) and was centred around the “institutions” that it established, such as Strych [Attic], Tango and en plein air sessions in Teofilow, falling squarely within the so-called “third circulation” of art in the 1980s (functioning outside the official state-controlled market or that supported by the Church). In November 1985, in Zielona Góra, the First New Art Biennale took place attended by a lot of people associated with the former underground including some from Kultura Zrzuty. Jacek Jóźwiak (who coined the term “Kultura Zrzuty”) put on a performance during which he symbolically burnt Tango’s collection. The biennale was the first of the large collective events that took place in the latter part of the decade marking the emergence of the former underground; this process on the one hand was linked to exhaustion caused by martial law, and on the other hand, resulted from further corrosion of the system. The art market was emerging tentatively, and the person who ruled the roost was Andrzej Bonarski, an art dealer and organizer of numerous exhibitions (including the far-famed Co słychać? [How Are Things?] from 1987). Some perceived a chance here, others a threat. The latter included Kryszkowski.

In 1985 Józef Robakowski published his first essay on Kultura Zrzuty, Pitch-in Culture, in the Munich-based magazine Neue Kunst in Europa.7 He applied this name to the entirity of independent artistic life of the 1980s in Poland, perceiving in it an extension of art and independent institutions of the previous decade, including his own activity. The essay raised objections within the sphere itself, the strongest being from Kryszkowski.8 He protested against Kultura Zrzuty being added to the tradition of the neo-avant-garde by a “visiting participant”, “professor Józef Robakowski”; not because he wanted to defend its originality but because he wanted to believe in the impossibility of including it in any categories available to culture or art. As he wrote, Kultura Zrzuty was made up of a number of phenomena that “were with wide-ranging conventionality and contrariness called … the culture of ‘Zrzuta’ (after all have nothing to do with culture)”.9 Robakowski’s gesture of attempting to place the movement within the history of art was for him usurpation and the beginning of the end.

Jacek Kryszkowski's MA thesis, 1980.
Photo from J.K.'s archive

Beginning in 1985, Kryszkowski was increasingly opposed to those in Kultura Zrzuty. He established a magazine of his own. He played games and spread subversion. If the group Łódź Kaliska (with Marek Janiak and Adam Rzepecki at the forefront) were to be considered the most important and most influential body within the spheres of Kultura Zrzuty, then Jacek Kryszkowski was its strongest critical pole. Kryszkowski did not participate in creating the book that summed up the output of Kultura Zrzuty. It was published in 1989 and remains the only book of its kind. In the introduction, the editor of the book, Marek Janiak, writes:

Finally, I will explain why Jacek Bryszkowski, who is an important figure for Kultura Zrzuty, is only represented here rather modestly (albeit tastefully). Well, Jacek emphatically, unequivocally and, on top of that, publicly requested that his legacy not be included in this publication, I am sorry. The reason was that the word “art”, detested by Bryszek, occurs too frequently in it.10

Art pollutes the environment

Kryszkowski’s aversion to art is significant bearing in mind that he was one of the very few professionals in the environment of Kultura Zrzuty: in 1980 he graduated from the Faculty of Painting at the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts, at the studio of Stefan Gierowski. In a private archive there is a letter dated 30th May 1979, signed by Władysław Loranc, Under-Secretary of State at the Ministry of Culture and Art: “To Jacek Kryszkowski, the best student at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw in the academic year 1978/79, wishing you continued success in academic and social work”. However, Kryszkowski had already by that time assumed the position of an opponent.

And so, on 18th March 1978, he organized an exhibition titled Muzeum Kiczu [Museum of Kitsch] at the Academy of Fine Arts building. A leaflet signed by Kryszkowski and Anna Kosecka reads:

Kitsch is joy and happiness. So many people have succumbed to its effect. Art can only be envious of this attendance even though it boasts that it desires to enrich us inwardly. That is a lofty goal but allow yourselves to indulge in some fun, do not hide your simple needs, allow this tempestuous and maniacal part of your nature to let off steam.11

The institutional criticism hidden in these words became the driving force for a number of performances by Kryszkowski in the late 1970s and early 1980s. A good example is a performance called Zaproszenie do rozmowy [An Invitation to a Conversation] at the Galeria Krytyków [Critics’ Gallery] in the first half of 1981. In the catalogue of the performance Kryszkowski answers a question raised in the introduction and states, “There occurs anticipation of such behaviors of mine that would make me accomplished as an artist”.12 However, he had no intention of meeting those expectations. Monika Sykulska wrote in Literatura:

The management [of Galeria Krytyków] would certainly consent to any exhibits, not necessarily traditional ones; however, empty walls and a catalogue stating that the artist was waiting, during the opening hours of the gallery, for all visitors in the nearby Galeria Repassage, no, this assumption did not fit within any practicable canons. In these circumstances, the “exhibition” was closed down.13

Generał [General], 1981

(documentation of action in a form of “book” – left side, ca. 1982).

Photo from J.K.'s archive

The institutional criticism was intended to serve the purpose of finding a space where a meeting could take place outside the prevailing false patterns of behaviors. During a performance in March 1980, at the Stodoła gallery, by Kryszkowski and a friend of his, Janusz Banach, who died tragically in 1982, Banach allegedly said, “You came here to see something interesting, and I am supposed to satisfy this need of yours… I am not going to tell you anything of interest. But I think that you, each one of you can suggest something interesting to us and try to solve the situation that has arisen. The floor is yours…”.14 During a meeting designed in such a way there is a change of rules prevailing in the traditional gallery-style reception; it is more about participation than about contemplation; it is not about producing works of art but about art as an event in which the recipient turns from a consumer into a participant.

It is from that period that Kryszkowski’s most journalistic actions come. “Some excerpts from his degree work from 1980 (combinations with the Moscow Olympics logo) were censored by the academy authorities”,15 wrote Wojciech Włodarczyk in 1984. As he explained years later,16 the breaches in the Olympic rings were read as an allusion to the boycott of the Moscow Olympics by some countries in the West. Towards the end of 1981 Kryszkowski appeared in military attire in a series of events entitled Generał [The General] (inter alia, in the film Generał by Janusz Bałdyga and in the art exhibition Konstrukcja w procesie [Construction in Process] in Lodz). In the “book” with photographs from that series he would write, “I was a general until there was a fucking follower to be found in the country”.17 A bit earlier, Kryszkowski performed the happening Robie se flagę [I Make Myself a Flag] in which he knitted a red-and-whiteflag in various locations around Warsaw, for example at the Copernicus Monument, in a street, in a snack bar, on a bus, at a noticeboard with Solidarity announcements, or at a gallery. The reading of these statements is facilitated by the signboard under which Kryszkowski placed them: “Personal point of observation and shaping creative fauna”. The idea here was to conquer the tension between the private and the public, the individual and the collective; and to take sides with privacy (his other motto was “Only where I am”18). “It was a situation (the Solidarity period) when we were prepared to keep a distance from the situation in culture, art and also those events. … We didn’t have much trust in Solidarity or the authorities”,19 said Kryszkowski in 1985. It is significant that in the cycle Generał he dressed up some of his friends, among them Ewa Partum and Jerzy Świdziński, in military attire. And the performance with the Olympic symbols featured photographs of his closest artist friends, Janusz Banach, Janusz Bałdyga, Jerzy Onuch and Łukasz Szajna, placed close to those symbols. When incorporating the photographic documentation of the flag happening into the “book”, Kryszkowski wrote, “The combination of white and red never seems final. I decided to commence a new construction of it. To this documentation I attach a sketch that may be useful in order to carry out similar work”.20

Generał [General], 1981

(documentation of action in a form of “book” – right side, ca. 1982).

Photo from J.K.'s archive

“[Kryszkowski’s] programme boiled down to such statements: more important than art are meetings; we should do whatever is possible and depends on us; we should turn to the common man and not to the public”,21 wrote Włodarczyk in 1984. At the very beginning of his artistic career, Kryszkowski appears to be a follower of the performative movement in art, an heir to performance art on the one hand and, on the other, to conceptual art, well-versed in the latest trends in the art market. He was actively involved in the activities of Warsaw’s avant-garde galleries (Dziekanka, Stodoła, Repassage) as a critical participant. In his later activity one can see traces of those first initiations and deliberations; it became, however, much more radical.

“Art, friend, pollutes our environment. Let’s do away with it”22 – thus in 1983 did Kryszkowski formulate one of his flagship slogans, admitting, “for a couple of years, indiscriminately, ‘I dealt in art’”.23 Kryszkowski buried that period in late 1981 and early 1982 by producing a child-sized coffin with the inscription:

Here rests in God
the late
22 Jun 1955 + 13 Dec 1981
Peace to his soul

Robię se flagę [I Make Myself a Flag],

ca. 1981. Photo from J.K.'s archive

“I personally spent three nights inside… for persistently filming the cityscapes of Gorzów under martial law… and for walking down the streets with a coffin, without any alibi that would convince the constables”,24 remembered Kryszkowski. This was the first of a series of his games with death. The finale was Pałowanie ‘82 [Truncheoning ‘82] performed on 16th June 1982 at the private gallery Czyszczenie Dywanów [Carpet Cleaning] in Lodz, run by Adam Paczkowski and Radosław Sowiak. In an extract preserved in the film Państwo wojny [The War State] (a collective work edited by Józef Robakowski, 1982), you can see a half-naked Kryszkowski circling a coffin with an axe. According to a note from that time, published in 1984 by the Gallery, Kryszkowski, together with the participants in the happening, went into town with the said truncheons and reached the Lodz-Środmieście police station undisturbed and turned back there. The point is that the note, signed by Małgorzata Paczkowska, is styled after a schoolgirl’s clumsy disclosures and ends with the statement: “To be honest, Jacek Kryszkowski’s performance did not bring anything new into my life… Unless, perhaps, my subsequent marriage to Adam Paczkowski, the rogue of avant-garde art, might be considered as a change of any sort”.25 The mocking nature of this note, which must have been prepared by Kryszkowski, reflects the direction in which he was heading as a participant in Kultura Zrzuty. From this perspective, the performance around the coffin can be read as a ritual of transition: the Kryszkowski who until 13th December 1981 “indiscriminately dealt in art” dies; born is the Kryszkowski who, as “a hooligan in art”, announces without further ado that he has appeared at the “carpeters’” for money and now that it is over, he is selling them that tiny coffin.26

A hooligan in art

“Artists shock with whatever they can… They sweep with brooms, draw with water on windowpanes, drive nails into things, yell, recite jokes, hang numerous bits of crap on walls, disguise themselves and provoke” while “the audience bravely pretends to enjoy it”. A report from an event called Nurt intelektualny w sztuce polskiej [The Intellectual Current in Polish Art] (Labirynt Gallery in Lublin, 1984), which gathered the cream of the Polish neo-avant-garde and criticism of the 1970s, is supplemented by Kryszkowski with a list of his own interventions. “At the video screenings, I unscrewed some fuses. One of the artists got hysterical”. A screening of one film “incited [me] to stamp my feet rhythmically, which was instantly picked up by the whole audience. […] But one of the organizers lost his temper, flew into a rage and went for me”. “A windowpane broken by us […] provided one female artist with yet further evidence that our coquettish collaboration with ‘the audience in creating the work of art’ was a continuation of the well-known game of illusions from the ‘50s”.27

Hooliganism was typical for all those in Kultura Zrzuty, and Kryszkowski practised it in an exceedingly diligent manner. Why did he take on art?

Pozbędziemy się dzieł sztuki światowej i rodzimej [We Will Get Rid of Works of World and Domestic Art], 1985. Photo from Halo Haloo

In connection with the Lublin event he formulated the term “Dziamski’s paradigm” (after the name of an art critic, Grzegorz Dziamski): it is about “a ritual applied not only in art and one which serves the purpose of selection: promoting stars and leaders, preventing awkward people from attending events and kicking them out of them, punishing those who are impenetrable or all too independent, and the practice of keeping people silent and abusing them”.28 According to Kryszkowski the main beneficiary of the art market as conceived above was Tadeusz Kantor, whom he called the “dwarf of global achievements”.29 This attitude reveals an ambivalence typical of the members of Kultura Zrzuty: was the contempt for social acceptance really genuine? Or was it perhaps all about classical Freudian patricide as a way to take one’s father’s position? It should, however, be noted that Kryszkowski, unlike some of his friends, actually did give up the race. And when he said in 1984, “paint savagely because the market abhors a vacuum, and the youngsters must be prompted with methods of how to rebel”,30 he proved himself to be correct - if not in reading the young painters’ intentions, then at least in evaluating the art market which, in the West and soon afterwards in Poland, made paintings by savages its core commodity.

Therefore, it was natural that the main object of Kryszkowski’s antipathy became the artistic object. The pinnacle expression of this antipathy was the happening that he organized together with Adam Rzepecki31 in 1985, called Pozbędziemy się dzieł sztuki światowej i rodzimej [We Will Get Rid of Works of World and Domestic Art] (Mała Gallery in Warsaw) during which they sold artistic objects by bidding… downwards. Kryszkowski got rid of “all of the works of art in his possession (created by himself as well as many other Polish and foreign artists) for absurdly low prices; and the rest, the unsold pieces, he threw them, he claims, into the Vistula”.32 As he admitted himself, some of the works were counterfeits, deliberately fabricated: “The prices that were reached by the works that we made copying Warhol, Winiarski or a group of Japanese artists, strengthened our conviction that it was right for us to discard such socially valued skills”.33

The strategy of subversion in the field of art did not only include hooliganism or dematerialisation, as it is specifically understood, but also fakes. In the first issue of his magazine Halo Haloo, Kryszkowski included a diploma awarded to Kantor by the communist’s Patriotic Movement for National Rebirth (PRON), offered “in gratitude for his patriotic attitude and active participation in work for the preparation and carrying out of the election campaign for the National Councils of the Capital City and of the Warsaw Province” (dated June 1984). Adam Rzepecki recalls:

PRON diploma for Tadeusz Kantor.

Pages from Halo Haloo, 1985

When at a certain point Kantor was about to appear at Foksal – and it was apparent that he did not protest against what was going on under martial law – Jacek Kryszkowski offered him a PRON diploma. He had somehow got hold of some original diplomas that PRON awarded celebrated activists. He entered the name of Tadeusz Kantor, handed it to him; then he threw leaflets around and to cap it all he shot at him with a cap gun to scare him.34

Kryszkowski mentions the incident in an enigmatic way and only in passing, speaking of the “pleasure” prepared for Kantor at the Foksal Gallery.35 According to Rzepecki, this attack on Kantor is a historical fact. As such it is also recognized in the art community.36 A slightly different light is cast on the matter in the cycle Masters by Zbigniew Libera (who belonged to the Kultura Zrzuty circle and knew Kryszkowski personally). In the part devoted to Andrzej Partum, Libera placed a photograph commemorating the incident (inspired by Partum’s attitude) when “in the vicinity of the Stodoła student club, Jacek K. committed an act of hooliganism and vandalism using a cap gun against T. Kantor, the chief avant-garde artist of the PRL [Polish People’s Republic]”. Libera styled the photograph like a press release from Gazeta Wyborcza dated 4th March 2002. In a comment he remarked: “Some of the pictures were taken especially for this project”.37 The photo does not show Kryszkowski’s face; and is Kantor really Kantor? The cycle Masters does not conceal its hoax nature… Concerning the private genealogy produced in it by Libera, Piotr Piotrowski wrote that the idea was not only to revisit the history of art but also to “consciously enter the specific historical context”.38 The presence of Kryszkowski in the cycle allows him to be made an element of the “anarchical” anti-tradition as reappraised by Libera. And the act of faking that Kryszkowski performed in 1984 by producing a PRON diploma for Kantor foreshadows a gesture of artistic repetition in Libera’s Masters two decades later.

In Kryszkowski’s archives there are preserved three falsified invitations to artistic events. Kryszkowski used original printed materials to launch an attack on some renowned institutions: the Foksal Gallery, the Studio Art Centre, as well as Józef Robakowski’s private and independent Galeria Wymiany [Exchange Gallery]. Writing as Stefan Morawski he announces the “closing of the Foksal Gallery”, pretending to be Urszula Czartoryska (“a worker at a warehouse in Więckowskiego St.”) he announces “a suspension of the activities” of the “Centre for the Fall of S. I. Witkiewicz and others”, and as Robakowski he invites people to attend a lecture by Janusz Zagrodzki, who…

Fake invitation. J.K.'s archive

…will tell us about the repatriation of the remains of Witkacy. Admittedly, the perpetrators of that event, i.e. E.K., MIKEN and KRYSZKOWSKI, will not be there as they do not have much liking for the system that services art, but Mr Zagrodzki, MA, will try to use the opportunity to talk more extensively about their unidentified practice of operating outside culture.

“C’mon, you haven’t got Kryszek figured out yet. He bends a story in whatever way he needs”, states Elżbieta Kacprzak in 1987, to which Kryszkowski replies without a pause, “Yeah, but which history? Let me ask ‘cause there are so many of them that it’s hard to pick just one”.39

Zrzuta’s situations

With keys provided by the porter, Kryszkowski opened the “Theoretical Assembly” at the Dziekanka gallery. […] The match began. […] Kachna Piss and Juliusz were in goal, but soon they went to get some booze and took the keys to the Dziekanka with them. As they testified (and they were away the whole day and night), they ended up at a wedding reception in Nowy Dwor Mazowiecki. The match continued; it was visited by Sikorski [Tomasz, then the boss of the Dziekanka – MK]. He ended matters once and for all in his own favour. After Sikorski’s intervention we left the Dziekanka, quite willingly and without any unparliamentary words. […] The match continued in front of the Dziekanka. Daria was no longer there, she had been scared off by Sikor. Banach was gone too. We left a notice saying that we were going to the Zamkowa for a pint; they had no beer at the Zamkowa but in Zamkowy Square there were some police. Snopkiewicz, Rzepecki and Kryszkowski were playing football outside the Wedding Palace registry office and deflating car tires.40

Urodziny w Łaźni Miejskiej [Birthday Party at the Municipal Bathhouse], 1982 (documentation of action in a form of “book” – left side, ca. 1982).

Photo from J.K.'s archive

A record drawn up years later of an event organized by Kryszkowski in June 1982 called Urodziny w Łaźni Miejskiej [Birthday Party at the Municipal Bathhouse] (Dziekanka, Warsaw) includes, beside the football match, inter alia “Kryszkowski’s climb up the lightning conductor to some actresses’ flat […] an encounter with the police in said flat, called by helpful neighbors”, and “an artistic incident which involved painting a green moustache on the photo in A. Rzepecki’s identity document, which was first realized by the owner when he handed the document to a police officer”. More importantly, however, “the works brought to the exhibition lay forgotten in the luggage storeroom because the artists were so busy with themselves. The works returned unpacked”.41 “The point was for us to rely exclusively on ourselves, on that “zrzuta” [pitching-in], to be able to undertake actions whose outcome would be, as it were, unpredictable, with no support from works of art”,42 said Kryszkowski in 1985.

Kryszkowski contrasted the situation culture found itself in with that of Zrzuta. He contrasted: “an artist expressing themself through production and collection, as well as their commitment to the spectator” with “a co-creator of ZRZUTA with indeterminate motivations and satisfactions”.43 He contrasted artistic production with “the practice of expressing oneself personally, immediately, in cooperation with or in the co-presence of others”.44 He contrasted a product (artefact) with “the absolute value of the people themselves, saved from the coercion of producing and expressing themselves in tangible results”.45 In Kryszkowski’s descriptions, the same situations and places recur and thus specify, as it were, the topography of the situation of Zrzuta: in first place, a pub (as a venue for an event since it was a competitive alternative to an outdoor art event or an exhibition), in second place, football (as ‘“the merest reason” to commit ourselves to each other’46). As he was to put it succinctly in the context of Urodziny w Łaźni Miejskiej, that “most likeable achievement of eighties art”: “booze and football became the achievements of this art”.47 Although Zrzuta was perceived in the art community primarily as a whip-round for that very alcohol, let us not be deceived by this.

Urodziny w Łaźni Miejskiej [Birthday Party at the Municipal Bathhouse], 1982 (documentation of action in a form of “book” – right side, ca. 1982).

Photo from J.K.'s archive

As a starting point, although Kryszkowski dealt mainly with art, it was for him but one of the manifestations of culture alongside “science, tourism, mechanisation, do-it-yourself, ceremony, profits, accomplishments”.48 Canvas for painting is just one of the products of culture, alongside “reaction, emotion, behaviors”.49 The role of an artist and the role of a spectator are just some of the roles provided for by culture – alongside the role of “teacher, driver, bartender,” “an assistant professor, an announcer, a hero or a consumer”.50 If the hundreds of typewritten pages, either dispersed or included in the author’s own publications (Dla E.K. i najbliższych znajomych. Listy [For E.K. and my Closest Acquaintances: Letters], O Teofilowie (i nie tylko) [About Teofilow (and not only)], as well as three issues of a magazine, each with a different title: Halo Haloo, Hola Hoop and Hali-Gali) – if this “legacy” of Kryszkowski’s from the ‘80s were to be summed up in one sentence, then it would be fitting to say that its essence is a criticism of culture written and spread over several hundred pages.

Let its nature be shown by some slogans. “We reject culture, friend, and thus art or parrot breeding. Thereby, we find ourselves compelled to reject not just a tailor or a hippie but the whole phenomenon that MAN is. Fuck man”.51 “We are turning our backs on the struggle for a load of shit – for human culture”.52 The point is to “stop being a human and not feel obliged to pursue the binding game that is the big race. That is – to no longer toil over cultivating culture”.53 “MAN – this word does not sound proud (I prefer cicadas in thickets)”.54 It is necessary to “reject humanity”,55 and “the obligation to be a HUMAN”.56 Humanity is not the essence – but a construct, a “profession”.57 A set of characteristics, behaviors and habits acquired in the process of socialization. Man is the “simultaneous perpetrator and subject of culture”58 – both producing norms and being subject to them. Culture is “a number of mechanisms and structures manipulating […] individuals, even whole communities, regardless of their will, without their consciousness being involved”.59 According to Kryszkowski, the process of subjugating commences in childhood: it is a time of “hammering” schoolchildren in order to “mould them into desired copies of individuals” at school, shown as a “perfidious device stimulating the breeding of dimwits, conformists and geniuses”.60 The outcome of this process is order guaranteed by “fulfilling culture-specific functions and behaviors”, “guarded by functionaries-cum-specialists”, i.e. doctors, artists and policemen.61

Kryszkowski is, in his observations in the spirit of Michel Foucault, consistent; he can be rousing, too. Although in another place he states bitterly and soberly that those who do not want to reduce themselves to “normality” and are placed outside culture, “delineate the limits of normality by means of themselves” and in this way fulfil the “hygienic function”62 which is indispensable in culture – at the same time in his texts he takes the side of all sorts of “margins”;63 he calls “the conflict between good and evil” a complex of a culture that “wants to subject, at any price, human behaviors to ideals” (“here is the task of humanism!”64); finally, he exhorts: “we should discredit the system… go beyond common honesty, discredit this love game… thus, go beyond morality, normality…”.65

Cover of Halo Haloo,

one of Jacek Kryszkowski's publications

There is a hint of counterculture here – but be careful. The thing is not only that Kryszkowski is very critical of its fruits, but his cynicism and sobriety protected him from mawkishness. This participant in Zrzuta is a rag, hooligan, motley fool, freewheeler and drifter; his tools are a cap gun, a pigment shotgun, a tape-recorder to drown out performances, dart guns, water pistols, and roller skates;66 his goal is a situation of “a loose, fucking unrestrained conversation with people”.67 As can be seen, there is no countercultural army-style drilling in Kryszkowski: Super-Ego Kryszkowski has no intention of replacing the pressure of the ideals prevailing in culture with the countercultural ideals of the Super-Ego; instead, in contacts with others he takes the side of “the enormous load of satisfaction and simple pleasure”68 – in accordance with the policies and practice of those in Kultura Zrzuty (which also meant a whip-round for vodka). Consistently, among the various terms used for those in Zrzuta that can be found in the several hundred pages written by Kryszkowski, there is not one occurrence of the word “community”. He finally goes for the term “herd” as something between “an anonymous position in a group” and “the solitary position of a soloist”.69 Even though Kryszkowski (deliberately) does not define this construct, he remarks: “by no means am I thinking of a specific group nor of an idea of a movement debased by a community”.70 In theory, there were no prerequisites for participating in Zrzuta – it was supposed to be, in his words, fully “open practice”71 (in theory, if consideration is given to the opinion that by his interventions Kryszkowski “forced others”72 to give up culture).

Culture with Kryszkowski is like a performance that separates man from that which is actual, real, authentic. However, he contrasts the “image” created by means of “false processing” with the reality,73 even though he phantasizes about laypeople, folk culture, primordial culture, and childhood as originally unadulterated places, even though he says: “we wanted to see people loosened up” – then, in the same instant he stresses that it is, after all, all about people that are “unidentified, or hell knows what sort” and remarks: “to me, the concept of authenticity stinks here of cultural bigotry […] I’d rather talk about differences”.74 Thus, he holds out no hope of reaching any source-level, essential, pre-cultural truth about man (instead, he reaches for elementary postmodernist vocabulary). “After all, the point is to kill all human characteristics in yourself, and also not give a shit about any daydream of returning to nature”,75 he asserts. This is how we come to the fundamental thing.

Although Kryszkowski’s descriptions do contain some situations concerning Zrzuta, Zrzuta remains to him – designedly and in capitals – UNIDENTIFIED.76 He talks about “ephemeral Zrzuta”, about actions that “have so far benefited no one in any way”, about the “cultural insipidity of the Strych”.77 About the “total uselessness” of the phenomena linked with Zrzuta, which do not play a part in “either development or multiplication. They do not make history or represent any tradition”, they are “beyond form”,78 “untranslatable into forms”.79 Zrzuta is made up of events “that can hardly be provided with a meaningful justification”,80 “unclear and uncertain”, “incomprehensible reasons”.81 It is defined by “enigmatic and intangible values of being with one another”, “human behaviors that have lost all meaning in the name of progress in organizing, controlling and producing”.82 It is defined by the activity that culture “will not be capable of identifying […] whether by placing it in science, art or by classifying it as a deviation”.83 A herd is a kind of “flimsy material” which is characterized by “dispersed disinterestedness”,84 “culturally unidentified freedom”…85 If culture is an area of language and definition, then giving up culture means shifting to positions outside of language, the symbolic order, the Logos.

Three-dimensional outdoor mockup

in Teofilow, Hali-Gali

From this perspective, it becomes clear why Kryszkowski so fiercely reacted to the attempts to define Kultura Zrzuty – in this way he defended himself from dragging Zrzuta into culture. As a matter of fact, his idea with Zrzuta was not to “flirt with transgressive art”.86 He perceived the 1981 foundation meeting in Torun as a means of getting out of the artistic career into which they had “stepped like into shit,” towards something that “was incomprehensibly right”.87 For him, “STRYCH was just an attic, a place offering a section of roof, a loo, water and nothing more. Strych did not offer any particular functions and did not expect any special roles or cultural skills from anybody”.88 From his perspective, the “intimate herd” that the company was forming, pursued “activities impossible to IDENTIFY” by “means of culture”.89 Therefore, Kryszkowski contested the very name Kultura Zrzuty and proposed to dilute its essence by giving equal status to the slogans: Zrzuta, Strych, “just a moment, someone pinched my damn briefcase”, and Torun Folk.90 Therefore, he appreciated the gesture of Andrzej “Makary” Wielogórski, who did not want to deliver an essay for an issue of Tango where theoretical deliberations were gathered, prefering to keep silent.91 Paradoxically, it was Kryszkowski who created, with an unparalleled zeal, a string of essays devoted to Zrzuta. He was aware of thet paradox writing: “I also express my definite ABANDONMENT of culture… (which is clear to see) by using its means”. He considered it a necessary compromise so as to make his abandonment visible.92 At the same time he structured Zrzuta as something irrational, eluding any description, narration, categories, words – culture, emphasizing repeatedly that Zrzuta was a practice, not lending itself to description. Hence, he often interrupted his writing just when he was about to proceed with presenting the practical side of the movement.93

For this reason he also responded so vigorously when he noticed, in the late ‘80s, that his friends were not going to participate in his construction, and abandon culture.94 After all, as he wrote, even though “it is often ‘accidental’ individuals that get themselves dragged into it”, as a matter of fact “Zrzuta is normally performed among friends”.95 In an essay from 1987 he noted a remark by Zofia Łuczko: “If you disturb these people at events, then they are fed up with you. They all disrespect you! You silly… I can give you a whole list of those who don’t give a shit about you. And you obstinately send these essays of yours to their homes. What the fuck do you do it for?”96

An extremely good system for those mentioned above, artists and youngsters

The parameters of Zrzuta within its core remain unchanged in Kryszkowski’s writings; there are, however, margins which open up different opportunities for its use; and the position of being unidentified shines forth various political meanings. “The aim is to search for solutions, judgements outside… well, I will say it in a terrible manner, outside the paradigm of culture. Outside the system supporting the state. After all, being an ornithologist, fascist or artist are all tasks that are imposed by the organisation of the state system”,97 says Kryszkowski at a certain point. In another place he talks about an individual who abandons culture and, in order to become “elusive to its preventive measures or those ‘controlling every margin’”, neither “responds to the system of punishments and rewards”, such as “fame, extraordinariness, acceptance, police, tax office, public opinion or isolation” nor “provokes this system to work against [the individual – translator’s note]”. “They simply do not exist!”.98 Over the last three decades, Kryszkowski’s intuitions have not lost their electrifying power but, on the contrary, they have become even more topical.

„Ad” in Hali-Gali, 1986

A lot of images from Kryszkowski’s writings, e.g. that from 1982 when for a game of football “the whole of Warsaw, along with the public transport vehicles, soon proves to be a most appropriate pitch, thus creating an area for a pleasant stay”99 – resemble drifting as a method of privatizing, reconfiguring and appropriating areas of the city by means of “structuring situations”.100 “I still have before my eyes those wanderings of ours around the city”, recalled Zofia Łuczko in 1987. “Whenever we met… suddenly, there was a match with some youngsters, suddenly there was a situation, oh heck, some naked guys scaring some broads… or something else. It’s a cepeliada [folk art festival]. We take some pants out of Kryszek’s bag, a guitar, some matches… and sell them… some broad is singing, oh heck, it is authentic”.101 The relationship with the situationists’ practices in not only based on the “ludic and utopian dimension of drifting” but also on the “analytical and critical dimension”102 – if consideration is given to the context of consumerism which is present in Kryszkowski’s criticism of culture. He commences Hali-Gali with the remark, “the entire magazine, in accordance with the requirements of culture, is dedicated to the needs of the greatest, best and most ambitious authors and artists in our culture, working in such companies as Rowney, Burda, Dior, Marlboro, Mercedes, Pan Am, Fuji, Sony, Talens, etc.”103 Accordingly, he cuts out these and many other brands’ adverts from color magazines and catalogs, and inserts them between the pages of the magazine. With savage painting leading to a successful career in the West, he decides: Zrzuta was “abandoned and wasted” there because “it was not effective and did not contribute to accumulating various achievements and possessions”.104 From the perspective of the West, a participant in Zrzuta assumes the “obscure and embarrassing” position of a “rag” because they are outside the “limiting and instructional fiction of the pattern of a rich, fit man who can do all things”, “a man originating from an advert for powdered milk or an election poster”.105

For Kryszkowski, the key to escaping from (consumer) culture is unproductiveness, hooliganism, laziness and chance. Zrzuta is a kind of negative performance consisting in practicing failure understood, after Judith Halberstam, as a form of escape “from the punishing norms that discipline behavior and manage human development with the goal of delivering us from unruly childhoods to achieve orderly and predictable adulthoods”.106 In the light of Halberstam’s “weak theory”, Kryszkowski – in praise of “failure, loss and unbecoming”, unproductiveness and light-heartedness, with a rejection of career and mastery, an appreciation of weakness, disgrace, that which is naïve and void of meaning – appears to be a “radical utopian”, searching for “different ways of being in the world and being in relation to one another than those already prescribed for the liberal and consumer subject”.107 In the magazine that he founded, the thing that Kryszkowski especially appreciated was that on account of the behaviors being promoted “no political or creative career will be made from it”.108

Cover of Hali Gali

One should, however, be careful with these comparisons. After all, the adverts used in Hali-Gali come from German and French language magazines and catalogues. In communist Poland in the 80s, the compulsion to produce and consume was experienced in other areas not related to the market. Other meanings were produced. This is well depicted in Marcin Król’s confession in the book Podróż romantyczna [A Romantic Journey]:

While I am writing these remarks in May 1982 […] I have a feeling of inappropriateness, indecency: people are in prison, others are doing something, they are talking, gathering together, walking, taunting, demonstrating, singing, waiting, condemning, calling, appealing, not sleeping, not eating, buzzing around the city, crying out, speculating, and I am at home, looking out of the window, occasionally concerned for myself, for others; but primarily, I am writing.109

If that image were to be compared with another one from the same year, that of the tipsy artists of Kultura Zrzuty chasing a ball in the streets of Warsaw, with stopping off at pubs such as Bazyliszek, Telimena, Zamkowa or Na Trakcie, it would clearly be seen that the escape form culture was an escape from the romantic paradigm and the collective affect prevailing in it, and the situation Zrzuta found itself in had a strong political flavor (and so it was perceived by its members). From this point of view, Kultura Zrzuty was perceived as “a sacrifice on the altar of emptiness”110 as Ryszard Woźniak from Gruppa put it. It is here that the paths of all the participants in Kultura Zrzuty come together, and for whom, an identity-forming work of art was published on the cover of the first issue of Tango (1983). The work was Adam Rzepecki’s work Matka Boska Częstochowska z domalowanymi wąsami [Our Lady of Czestochowa with a Moustache Painted on]. As for Kryszkowski, the desire to be “unidentified” was never placed explicitly in the context of the national and Catholic culture (which is surprising considering his first journalistic essays). At the same time, he retained the scepticism characteristic of the “third way” formation, saying in 1985: “We saw that Solidarity used the same methods that we knew before its formation. […] If it offers its exhibition spaces not only in connection with the Church […] then it also utilizes it for its own purposes, of an equally propagandistic nature, it demands something in return, in a sense it addicts”.111 There is more to it: Kryszkowski himself co-created the anti-national profile of Kultura Zrzuty, for instance as the co-author of the Manifest (o sztukę polską lat osiemdziesiątych) [Manifesto (for Polish Art in the Eighties)]. The manifesto, formed in a postmodernist, non-hierarchical, magma-like sequence, provides this answer (among others) to the initial question of what art in the 80s was like:


The manifesto is dated 7th June 1982 so it was created in the same month in which Kryszkowski, at the fringe of the Urodziny w Łaźni Miejskiej, announced “booze and football” as the most important achievements of art in the ‘80s. “Zrzuta is too cosmopolitan to revere Polishness or to represent it anywhere”,113 he wrote in 1985. It must be formulated in a sharp tone: the concept of Zrzuta authored by Kryszkowski was focused on the theory of the loss of meaning, an open herd, social constructivism, the contextual treatment of good and evil – and even if it does not explicitly bear an objection to national culture, it still remains in radical axiological opposition to it. “To impose your invention on as many dimwits as possible. And here we have the fundamental imperative of humanism defined […] This Christian imperative… for it is Christian. This is whoredom in humanism. This is the same as imposing your own will, transformed into a product, on others”,114 said Kryszkowski.

But there is still another way of looking at the matter. If you accept that the image of society as shown by Król and reproduced in the literature of that period was a falsified image – society presenting itself as it wanted to see itself – then the image of tipsy artists chasing a ball around Warsaw will be one of the many very much demythologizing images of this environment in which they showed (by their own example) the “survival average” under martial law. The image was created very consciously (though that does not mean without genuine pleasure): “We played football in Castle Square. Before us and behind us walked armed ZOMO patrols [Motorized Reserves of the Citizens’ Militia], as well as ORMO [Volunteer Reserve Militia], MO [Citizens’ Militia], WSW [Internal Military Service], SB [Security Service] and LWP [Polish People’s Army] patrols. Kryszkowski, together with Wanda and Kowalska, went to Nowolipki Street”.115

Cover of O Teofilowie [About Teofilow]

Finally, if one of the extremes of the myth of the ‘80s is that identified by Król - i.e. romantic, national and Catholic and full of praise for suffering - then Kultura Zrzuty’s activity with Kryszkowski works in favor of the other extreme - i.e. a specific anti-myth of independent culture crossed with the myth of youth. “The most beautiful period in my life”, Zofia Łuczko would later say of those years. “Holidays in culture”, Zbigniew Bińczyk would comment; both were from the Kultura Zrzuty environment.116 The best rendition of this myth can be found in a book by Andrzej Stasiuk, five years younger than Kryszkowski. Jak zostałem pisarzem [How I Became a Writer] was written in the 1990s, which were subjected to the predatory rhythm of liberal capitalism:

The mid-eighties were a land of wonder. Time simply did not exist somehow. Or, in any case, it took the form of rather short sections of time. It lasted from one event to the next, halted and had to start anew. It was probably heading for somewhere but we had the feeling that we would always have enough time and would catch up with it if we needed to. Everywhere was close. No one was in a hurry. You would call in on someone for a while and leave in the morning. Just try to do something like that today. […] Yes, it was an extremely good system for the above-mentioned, artists and youngsters. It will never be like that again.117

Therefore, although Kryszkowski can – and should – be seen as a forgotten link and a unique variant of many traditional links, it should be remembered that Kultura Zrzuty is intrinsically associated with the historical and inimitable mental, political and economic landscape of the ‘80s in Poland. Kryszkowski was aware of this, admitting that martial law promoted the formation of “a hole in culture”.118 And as early as 1986, when independent artists began to gradually enter the official art market, he wrote: “In this destructive practice, culture is more and more tightly filling any gaps within which you could, until just recently, move around freely and independently” and “the wish to meet freely whenever ‘your heart desires’ becomes a sizeable problem”.119 Strych had already ceased to exist by then; therefore, Kryszkowski proposed “one of the pubs in Warsaw” (Samson) as a substitute venue: a place for a “carefree relaxation”, releasing them from “positions of responsibility, organization, tasks and all that crap”.120 But time could not be stopped. Kryszkowski’s ultimate escape from culture can be seen as inseparably embedded within the cogs of the historical process, and Kryszkowski himself as a victim of the democratic transformations: no matter whether he withdrew himself from the new reality because he acclaimed defeat and despised taking part in the race, or because he was afraid to lose the race.

As Kryszkowski, on 13th December 1981, had welcomed the unique decade with his own coffin, so he bade farewell to the decade with a grave in 1990. In a presentation of Polish artists abroad, Bakunin w Dreźnie [Bakunin in Dresden], which summed up the ‘80s and announced another ten year period, Kryszkowski ended his participation in the art market by producing a true copy of Mikhail Bakunin’s tomb. Bakunin was - not only for Kultura Zrzuty but also for the alternative movement of the 80s more generally (including Stasiuk as a pacifist artist from the Wolność i Pokój [Freedom and Peace] movement) - one of the symbols of anarchist independence, defined and practised in many ways. The way in which Kryszkowski designed Bakunin’s tombstone is therefore significant: he placed it in the gallery door so that each person entering the gallery had to trample on Bakunin’s tombstone.121


Bakunin is the last in the long line of heroes whose lives and work Kryszkowski made a reference point for Zrzuta.122 The essays devoted to them are acts of special creation, blurring the boundaries between biographical fact and literary fiction, in accordance with Kryszkowski’s suggestion to “use characters for the history being produced”.123 It does not mean that they are heroes totally devoid of the predispositions expected by Kryszkowski. The anti-establishment attitude and enigmatic personality of the “king of Krakowskie Przedmieście” made Andrzej Partum the patron of the Kultura Zrzuty circle long before he was made one of the “masters” by Zbigniew Libera in his counter-history. “In this history of Polish art I am most interested in that which it did not want to notice, or mistreated, in the name of various selections”, stated Kryszkowski in 1985, placing Partum among the heroes of his own counter-history of art, blurring the boundaries between truth and fiction.124

Pałowanie ‘82 [Truncheoning ‘82]. The frame from the film Państwo wojny [The War State], a collective work edited by Józef Robakowski, 1982

Kryszkowski referred to Johannes Baader125 above all, it seems, to establish his own independence from Dadaism in the field of inspiration – the fundamental inspiration both for him and all those in Kultura Zrzuty and many independent formations of the ‘80s. Kryszkowski called Duchamp a “culture slut:”126 when considering the career of anti-art “at the contests and bankers’ parlours of New York”,127 one has to admit that this patricide was well within the field of culture criticism pursued by Kryszkowski. Duchamp, in his opinion, did not cross the boundary beyond which a work of art is redundant and the positions of the artist and art get annihilated. Therefore, Kryszkowski contrasted the “Duchampian tradition of the struggle for success in nature”128 with Zrzuta; and in the bosom of Dada he chose the most enigmatic person to be patron.

Finally, Witkacy. The most important character,129 or at least the one that appears most frequently in his writings. The essays, Rozmowa starca z przygłupem [An Old Man’s Conversation with a Nitwit], in which Kryszkowski is engaged in a dialogue with Witkacy (“over a glass” of course), and Prowokacja jubilata [The Birthday Man’s Provocation], may both serve as explanations of the theory behind Zrzuta. They also throw new light on the self-dubbed expedition for the remains of Witkacy. “You, stinky, want to drag me to your “tiny backyard””,130 Witkacy will say to Kryszkowski.

…to be continued.

Part two of the article – The Expedition – will be featured in the next issue of Widok.

1J.K., Podróż do Rosji po Witkacego [The Trip to Russia to Fetch Witkacy], in: Hola Hoop, 1985. In the footnotes, I will be using the initials J.K. for Jacek Kryszkowski; I will not be providing page numbers concerning J.K.’s writings that are quoted (most of the publications are only a few pages, which are not numbered, except some longer texts of several dozen pages). The spelling of the quotes is the same as in the originals.

2Waldemar Żyszkiewicz, Dwie ekshumacje i pogrzeb [Two Exhumations and a Funeral], in: Tysol, 1999, no. 7, on-line: http://waldemar-zyszkiewicz.pl/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=208&Itemid=35, accessed 12th December 2016.

3Jerzy Truszkowski, Artyści radykalni [Radical Artists], (Bielsko Biała: Galeria Bielska, 2004), 120.

4Ewa Domańska, Transhumanacja, czyli przepędzanie zwłok Witkacego [Transhumanations or the Driving of Witkacy’s Corpse], in: Didaskalia, 2010, no. 96, 47.

5Ibid., 48.

6J.K., Podróż do Rosji po Witkacego.

7Józef Robakowski, Pitch-in Culture, in: Neue Kunst in Europa, 1985, no. 6.

8Cf. J.K., Kultura Zrzuty. Bądźmy wyrozumiali i cierpliwi [Kultura Zrzuty. Let Us Be Lenient and Patient], http://www.kulturazrzuty.pl/tworcy-kryszkowski.php, accessed 12th December 2016.

9J.K., Redaktorskie [The Editor’s], in: Tango, 1985, no. 7 (18). In the numbering of the Tango magazines, I first give its number as it appeared in the series followed by the number given on the cover in brackets (the numbering was random).

10Marek Janiak, Redaktorskie [The Editor’s], in: Kultura Zrzuty 1981–1987, (Warsaw: Akademia Ruchu, 1989), 6. Spelling as in the original.

11Muzeum Kiczu [Museum of Kitsch], (Warsaw: Akademia Sztuk Pięknych, 1978), leaflet.

12J.K., Zaproszenie do rozmowy [An Invitation to a Conversation], (Warsaw: Galeria Krytyków, 1981), printed material.

13Monika Sykulska, Wystawa, której nie było [The Exhibition that Was Not], in: Literatura, 30th April 1981.

14J.K., performance score, manuscript.

15Wojciech Włodarczyk, Warszawa – sztuka młodych [Warsaw – Art by the Young], in: Co słychać? Sztuka najnowsza [What's Up? The Latest Art], ed. by Maryla Sitkowska, (Warsaw: Wydawnictwo Andrzej Bonarski, 1989), 182 (first printed, Stan wojenny a sztuka młodych [Martial Law and Art by the Young], (Warsaw: Materiały Koła Naukowego Instytutu Historii Sztuki UW, 1986).

16Author’s conversation with Wojciech Włodarczyk, 20th June 2016; recording in the author’s collection.

17J.K., a book in the series, ‘Osobisty punkt obserwacji i kształtowania fauny twórczej’ [Personal point of observation and shaping creative fauna], ca. 1982.

18Or, “Everywhere where I am”.

19J.K. interviewed by Bożenna Stokłosa, interview for Ankieta Stowarzyszenia Historyków Sztuki „Artyści plastycy ’84–86” [Survey of the Association of Art Historians, ‘Visual Artists 84–86’] in June 1985; typescript in the Library of the Institute of Art History at Warsaw University (gifted by Aleksandra Ściegienna), 51.

20J.K., a book...

21Wojciech Włodarczyk, Warszawa – sztuka młodych, 187.

22J.K., Coś przeszkadza [Something Is Disturbing], in: Tango, 1983, no 2 (2).

23J.K., Farmazon na 40 lecie starań intelektualnych [Some Hogwash for the 40th Anniversary of the Intellectual Efforts], in: Tango, 1985, no 7 (18). Concerning Kryszkowski’s studies, cf. Wojciech Włodarczyk, Akademia Sztuk Pięknych w Warszawie w latach 1994-2004 [Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw 1994-2004], (Warsaw: Wydawnictwa Szkolne i Pedagogiczne, Akademia Sztuk Pięknych w Warszawie, 2005). Cf. also: Propozycje studentów, czyli jak „zburzyć” Akademię [Students’ Propositions, or How to ‘Demolish’ the Academy], in: Sztuka, 1981, no. 3.

24J.K., O Teofilowie (i nie tylko) [About Teofilów (and More)], 1987, 36.

25J.K., Pałowanie ’82 [Truncheoning ‘82], in: Czyszczenie Dywanów [Carpet Cleaning], ed. by Adam Paczkowski, Radosław Sowiak, (Łódź: Zakaz Zawracania, 1984).

26“…when two friends from the Czyszczenie appeared in my life, I decided to leave that coffin at their place; anyway, they looked like guys who had money”. The small coffin was included in the list of resources of the Czyszczenie Dywanów gallery (cf. ibid.). At present, it is in a collection at the Galeria Wymiany [Exchange Gallery] run by Józef Robakowski.

27All quotations in the paragraph: J.K., Donos… [An Informer’s Tip…], in: Tango, 1985, no. 7 (18).


29J.K., Farmazon na 40-lecie…


31Adam Rzepecki with his conscious and ironic approach to art (inter alia the author of the slogan ‘How hard it is to be absent in art’) was to Kryszkowski an important partner in dialogue.

32Jolanta Ciesielska, Anioł w piekle (Rzecz o „Strychu”) [An Angel in Hell.( On the Strych)], in: Co słychać?..., 208.

33J.K., Aukcja u Marka Grygla [Auction at Marek Grygiel’s], in: Halo Haloo, 1985.

34Kultura/Zrzuta/Rzepecki!, conversation between Dawid Radziszewski, Dominik Kuryłek, Adam Rzepecki, Grzegorz Zygier, in: Obieg.pl, 23’th December 2013, http://archiwum-obieg.u-jazdowski.pl/felieton/30848, accessed 20th November 2016.

35J.K., …Ale oto otrzymałem list […But Then I Received a Letter], in: Hali-Gali, 1986.

36Cf. e.g. Łukasz Ronduda, Sztuka polska lat 70. Awangarda [Polish Art of the ‘70s: The Avant-garde], (Jelenia Góra: Polski Western, Warsaw: CSW Zamek Ujazdowski, 2009), 270.

37Zbigniew Libera. Prace z lat 1982-2008 [Zbigniew Libera. Works 1982-2008], ed. by Dorota Monkiewicz, (Warsaw: Zachęta Narodowa Galeria Sztuki, 2009), 188.

38Piotr Piotrowski, Zbigniew Libera: anarchia i krytyka [Zbigniew Libera: Anarchy and Criticism], in: ibid., 16.

39J.K., O Teofilowie…, 42.

40J.K., Urodziny w Łaźni Miejskiej [Birthday Party at the Municipal Bathhouse], in: Halo Haloo, 1985. Extracts were printed a year earlier in: Tango, 1984, no. 4 (7) and 5 (8).

41Website of Kultura Zrzuty: http://www.kulturazrzuty.pl/wydarzenia_1982.php, accessed 12th December 2016.

42J.K. interviewed by Bożenna Stokłosa, 2.


44J.K., Najdłuższe zaproszenie do knajpy [The Longest Invitation to a Pub], in: Hali-Gali, 1986.


46J.K., [Autobiography], ca. 1985, manuscript (title comes from the author of this article).

47J.K., a book...

48J.K., Redaktorskie [The Editor’s], in: Halo Haloo, 1985.

49J.K., Prowokacja Jubilata [The Birthday Man’s Provocation], in: Hali-Gali, 1986.

50Respectively from J.K.: Jak produkować wielkich tego świata [How to Produce the Great Ones of this World], unpublished typescript, ca. 1987, p. 6; and Zrzuta w Stodole [Zrzuta at the Stotoła Club], in: Halo Haloo, 1985.

51J.K., Miast redaktorskiego [Instead of the Editorial], in: Hali-Gali, 1986.

52J.K., O Teofilowie…, 23.

53J.K., Jak produkować…, 17.

54J.K., Miast redaktorskiego…

55J.K., O Teofilowie…, 48.

56J.K., Zmarły – Anastazy (B. Wiśniewski), chirurg z Płytnicy [The Deceased – Anastazy (B. Wiśniewski), Surgeon from Płytnica], in: Hali-Gali, 1986.

57In: Miast redaktorskiego; Jak produkować…, 17, Dla E.K. i najbliższych znajomych. Listy [For E.K. and My Closest Acquaintances: Letters], circa 1987, 3.

58J.K., Jak produkować…, 1.

59J.K., Dla E.K…, 30.

60J.K., Szczeniackie Hali-Gali [Puerile Hali-Gali], in: Hali-Gali, 1986.

61J.K., Redaktorskie [The Editor’s], in: Halo Haloo, 1985.

62J.K., Dla E.K…, 15.

63J.K., Szczeniackie Hali-Gali...

64J.K., Dla E.K…, 13.

65J.K., O Teofilowie…, 50.

66J.K., Zrzuta w Stodole…

67J.K., Coś przeszkadza…

68J.K., Nie miała baba kłopotu… Farmazon z cyklu „Sztuka zanieczyszcza środowisko” [The Broad Didn’t Have Any Trouble… Some Hogwash from the Series ‘Art Pollutes the Environment’], in: Halo Haloo, 1985.

69J.K., Jak produkować…, 6.

70Ibid., 5.

71Ibid., 6.

72Cf. bio on the website of Kultura Zrzuty: http://www.kulturazrzuty.pl/tworcy-kryszkowski.php, accessed 12th December 2016.

73J.K., Dla E.K…, 46.

74J.K., O Teofilowie…, 39, 28.

75J.K., Dla E.K…, 32.

76Cf. Jak produkować… and Dla E.K…

77Respectively from: J.K., Sztuka zanieczyszcza środowisko [Art Pollutes the Environment], in: Tango, 1985, no 7 (18); J.K., Najdłuższe zaproszenie…

78All quotations from: J.K., Redaktorskie [The Editor’s], in: Tango, 1985, no. 7 (18).

79J.K., Jak produkować…, 7.

80J.K., Redaktorskie [The Editor’s], in: Halo Haloo, 1985.

81Respectively from: J.K.: Redaktorskie [The Editor’s], in: Halo Haloo, 1985, Sztuka zanieczyszcza…

82J.K., Nie miała baba kłopotu…

83J.K., Dla E.K…, 16.

84J.K.: Partum, in: Partum z wypożyczalni ludzi (historia bycia twórcy) [Partum From a Human Rental Service (the Story of Being a Creator)], (Warszawa: Wydawnictwo Dom Słowa Polskiego, 1991), 9 (page numbers concern the typescript reprinted in the book – the publication as a whole is not paginated; text from ca. 1987).

85After: Partum…, 9; Jak produkować…, 6

86J.K., Farmazon na 40 lecie…

87J.K., Sztuka zanieczyszcza…

88J.K., Najdłuższe zaproszenie…

89J.K., Jak produkować…, 5.

90J.K., Sztuka zanieczyszcza…


92J.K., Dla E.K…, 2.

93In: Dla E.K… and the texts dedicated to Witkacy, Partum, Baader (quoted below).

94This concerned particularly Marek Janiak, Kryszkowski’s main adversary. When recalling their escapes from pubs during the event at the Dziekanka in 1982, J.K. said: “Janiak desires to stand out by asserting that he escaped with an artist’s awareness. I for one only escaped with pleasure”; J.K., Sztuka zanieczyszcza…

95J.K., Redaktorskie [The Editor’s], in: Halo Haloo, 1985.

96J.K., O Teofilowie…, 46.

97Ibid., 22. Mikołaj Malinowski brings up the topic of Ulrike Meinhof’s terrorism in this conversation but Kryszkowski fails to take it up.

98J.K., Dla E.K…, 16.

99J.K., Sztuka zanieczyszcza…

100Anna Zeidler-Janiszewska, Dryfujący flâneur, czyli o sytuacjonistycznej transformacji doświadczenia miejskiej przestrzeni [The Drifting Flâneur, or the Situationist Transformation of the Experience of Urban Space], in: Przestrzeń, filozofia i architektura [Space, Philosophy and Architecture], ed. by Ewa Rewers, Studia Kulturoznawcze, vol. 12 (Poznan: Wyd. Fundacji Humaniora, 1999).

101J.K., O Teofilowie…, 23.

102Anna Zeidler-Janiszewska, Dryfujący flâneur…

103J.K., Miast redaktorskiego...

104J.K., Spotkanie z Dzikimi [The Meeting with Wild Painters], in: Halo Haloo, 1985.


106Judith Halberstam, The Queer Art of Failure, (Durham: Duke University Press, 2011), 3. Halberstam, among the patterns of practicing failure, lists inter alia the actions of the situationists.

107Ibid., 7, 2.

108J.K., Redaktorskie [The Editor’s], in: Halo Haloo, 1985.

109Marcin Król, Podróż romantyczna [A Romantic Journey], (Paris: Libella, 1986), 29.

110Ryszard Woźniak, Nędzarze czy nędznicy [The Paupers or the Miserable Ones], in: Halo Haloo, 1985.

111J.K. interviewed by Bożenna Stokłosa, 52.

112Marek Janiak, Jacek Kryszkowski, Andrzej Kwietniewski, Tomasz Snopkiewicz, Manifest (o sztukę lat osiemdziesiątych w Polsce) [Manifesto (for Polish Art in the Eighties)], in: Kroniki Strychu, 1982, no 4.

113J.K., Zrzuta w Stodole… J.K. also occasionally deliberated on the Polish geopolitical position being responsible for the allegedly special place occupied in Poland by “the sociable side of the human soul”, typical for Zrzuta (J.K., Spotkanie z Dzikimi).

114J.K., O Teofilowie…, 26, 27.

115J.K., Urodziny w Łaźni Miejskiej…

116Jolanta Ciesielska, Kultura Zrzuty, w: Kultura Zrzuty 1981–1987…, 14.

117Andrzej Stasiuk, Jak zostałem pisarzem [How I Became a Writer], (Wołowiec: Czarne, 2011), 105-106.

118J.K., Ja proszę panów… jadę do panów [Sirs… I Am Coming to See You], in: Tango, 1986, no. 9 (44).

119J.K., Najdłuższe zaproszenie…


121See the movie by Zbigniew Libera, Bakunin z Dreźnie [Bakunin in Dresden], 1990.

122J.K., Bakunin w Dreźnie [Bakunin in Dresden], in: Bakunin w Dreźnie, catalog, (Warsaw: CSW Zamek Ujazdowski, 1991). First printed in the German version of the catalog in 1990.

123J.K., Elżbieta Kacprzak, Baader, in: Tango, 1985, no 7 (18).

124J.K. interviewed by Bożenna Stokłosa, 27. Apart from Partum, J.K. lists here Wacław Antczak and Anastazy Wiśniewski, the second “patron” of Kultura Zrzuty, whose writings were included by J.K. in his magazines and to whom he devoted the essay Zmarły – Anastazy (B. Wiśniewski)...

125Nowhere does J.K. indicate an interesting coincidence: Baader was born on 22nd June, the same day as J.K., and died in the same year J.K. was born.

126J.K., Dla E.K…, 34.


128J.K., Spotkanie z Dzikimi

129The list of Zrzuta’s “patrons” also includes Jaroslav Hašek and Kasper Hauser, to whom J.K. devoted extensive writings in Dla E.K…

130J.K., Rozmowa starca z przygłupem [An Old Man’s Conversation with a Nitwit], in: Hola Hoop, 1985.