I confess to an obsession with Polish Performance Art. It is so intense. It is so – Polish!
I began with a hypothesis that Polish performance art’s development was strongly influenced by Tadeusz Kantor and Jerzy Grotowski and while they are both major contributors to Polish culture, my hypothesis did not really stand up after my meeting and speaking with Polish artists as well as researching and collecting texts, videos and other documentations.
The intensity of Polish performance is more clearly the result of artists’ responses to cultural and political pressures in their explosive history(ies) and experiences of Second World War, Communist Regime of Soviet Union, Solidarność, and Martial Law, etc. Amy Bryzgel says in her 2013 book “Performing The East: Performance Art in Russia, Latvia and Poland Since 1980”, that performance in the East was “… a necessity of existence..” and “While artists in the West strove to create art that could not be bought or sold on the market, in the East the creation of a work of art without an object that could make it traceable back to the owner, had a different appeal.”
Performance artists in the ‘70’s and ‘80’s were censored, jailed, silenced, lost their jobs and had to go underground. These artists created intense art works in form and content. Their legacy is embodied by young performance artists today who create art in response to rapidly changing socio-political environments in Poland, our global village and the digital world.
Verb Frau TV Season 4: Poland, An Introduction is a collection of documentation from my research before and after my trip to Kraków. It contains selections of rare archival footage, ephemera, and photos I acquired with gratitude from Western Front Archives (Vancouver), Cricoteka Museum (Kraków), Éditions Interventions (Québec City), Galeria Labirynt (Lublin), Faculty of Intermedia Akademy of Fine Arts (Kraków), the collections of the Artists, and, of course, the worldwide web that we call the internet…
Please Note: My introduction is longer than each episode of Season 4 which is a conversation with artists Antoni Szoska, Peter Borkowicz, Roman Dziadkiewicz, and Artur Tabjer. The lack of gender diversity was not intentional but only due to lack of time and availabilities. I am very keen to return to Poland to talk to more artists and address this imbalance while perhaps exploring the complex place of the Pope and the Catholic Church in performance in Poland.
Verb Frau TV is a series by Margaret Dragu
Assistant Editor: Aretha Munro
Music Credit: Iron is Laughter by Twin Musicom, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license
VIVO is located in the homelands of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) peoples in a warehouse space at 2625 Kaslo Street south of East Broadway at the end of E 10th. Transit line 9 stops at Kaslo Street on Broadway. From the bus stop, the path is paved, curbless, and on a slight decline. The closest skytrain station is Renfrew Station, which is three blocks south-east of VIVO and has an elevator. From there, the path is paved, curbless, and on a slight incline. There is parking available at VIVO, including wheelchair access parking. There is a bike rack at the entrance. The front entrance leads indoors to a set of 7 stairs to the lobby.
A wheelchair ramp is located at the west side of the main entrance. The ramp has two runs: the first run is 20 feet long, and the second run is 26 feet. The ramp is 60 inches wide. The slope is 1:12. The ramp itself is concrete and has handrails on both sides. There is an outward swinging door (34 inch width) at the top of the ramp leading to a vestibule. A second outward swinging door (33 inch width) opens into the exhibition space. Buzzers and intercoms are located at both doors to notify staff during regular office hours or events to unlock the doors. Once unlocked, visitors can use automatic operators to open the doors.
There are two all-gender washrooms. One has a stall and is not wheelchair accessible. The other is a single room with a urinal and is wheelchair accessible: the door is 33 inches wide and inward swinging, without automation. The toilet has 11 inch clearance on the left side and a handrail.
To reach the bathrooms from the studio, exit through the double doors and proceed straight through the lobby and down the hall . Turn left, and the two bathrooms will be on your right side. The closest one has a stall and is not wheelchair accessible. The far bathroom is accessible.
Margaret Dragu aka Verb Woman, aka Lady Justice, is a renowned interdisciplinary performance artist living and working in Vancouver. She returns to NSL&G to present material from her ongoing How To Be Old How To Guide series, taking on thoughts and issues to do with aging, culture and society. 3 videos will be screened: Get Devices, Get Rolling and Get Group-y.