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- Author Karol Radziszewski
- Date of production 2010
- Dimensions height: 30 cm (7 psc.), width: 20 cm
- Author's designation none
- ID no. BS/966
- Availability in stock
- Acquired date 2011
- Object copyright Bunkier Sztuki Gallery of Contemporary Art
- Digital images copyright © all rights reserved, Bunkier Sztuki Gallery of Contemporary Art
- Digitalisation RPD MIC, Virtual Małopolska project
Karol Radziszewski’s work consists of six photographs and a drawing made on their basis. The cycle is considered a preparatory study for the mural, which was to be created in 2009 at the Mur Sztuki Gallery, located in the Museum of the Warsaw Uprising. However, the work did not come to fruition, because it was considered too erotic and detrimental to the feelings of the museum’s public.more
Karol Radziszewski’s work consists of six photographs and a drawing made on their basis. The cycle is considered a preparatory study for the mural, which was to be created in 2009 at the Mur Sztuki Gallery, located in the Museum of the Warsaw Uprising. However, the work did not come to fruition, because it was considered too erotic and detrimental to the feelings of the museum’s public. It proposed the portrayal of an insurgent, which is in conflict with the commonly established idea of his image. However, the history of rejecting Radziszewski’s project had not been disclosed until the public presentation of the Study for the Wounded Insurgent at the artist’s solo exhibition, which took place at the Bunkier Sztuki Gallery in 2011. At that time, an article was published in the Warsaw edition of Gazeta Wyborcza, in which the author suggested that the reason for the refusal on the part of the museum management was related to the fact that the author of the project is an out gay man. The sexual orientation of the artist is the simplest argument weighted in favour of perceiving his art as gay art, that is, one that aims at representing the interests of sexual minorities in a political sense. Radziszewski’s involvement in the issues of discrimination and the fight against homophobic stereotypes confirms the validity of such affinity. However, this does not exhaust the reasons why the artist’s mural has not been accomplished or the history associated with the preparatory study.
A researcher of visual culture, Magda Szcześniak PhD, believes that the reason for the abandonment of Radziszewski’s mural was not so much because of personal objections against his person, but was rather a result of the artist’s specific images, also recognizable in his other works. In her opinion, in his project: “Radziszewski makes a [...] double shift: the ubiquitous heroism of the portraits of young insurgents (visible both in other projects of Mur Sztuki Gallery and w Warszawie [in Warsaw] by Radziszewski himself) has been changed into a portrait of idle rest [...], and then he himself seems to point to a slightly different aspect of his art than that which would be appreciated by the Museum’s decision-makers. Radziszewski wanted to link to the viewers familiar with his previous works, but also to those who had never seen Pedały [Fags] [a different series of his works]; to those people who, surprised to see an insurgent licking his hand, would have to establish an ambiguous rapport with this half-naked male body.”
Szcześniak also notices that the series of photographs and drawings discussed here was created in 2010, after the mural project was rejected. The Study for the Wounded Insurgent proved to be just a clever tactical move — an independent artistic project with some connections to the complicated fortunes of the mural-to-be. In the aforementioned work, Radziszewski multiplies and exaggerates mainly the visual aspect, which could have been the reason for the rejection of his project. This is achieved by foregrounding one person from the whole group of insurgents, as in the original version of the mural. This impression has also been strengthened by the precision of the details, such as the boy’s eyes fixed directly on the viewer or the sensual rounding of his body. If it is true that, as the artist claims, he did not intend to provoke the museum authorities, he has managed to achieve the opposite effect. Having been provoked by the museum, he took the opportunity and created an image of an insurgent who does not meet the accepted standards.
Radziszewski’s image of the insurgent has a set of features which challenges the hegemonic stereotype of masculinity, often associated with nationalism. An American sociologist, Sharon R. Bird, notes that: “for men, nationalism symbolizes the image and ideological belief of ideal masculinity, which embodies their own national identity of strong, courageous, independent, and mature men, in comparison to others, who are weak, passive and primitive. Internal opponents are regarded as cowardly and feminine. In other words, different generations and groups of men – colonizers, imperialists and nationalists – repeatedly label «other» men as not true men.” Karol Radziszewski’s insurgents were not allowed to enter such a bastion of national values as the Warsaw Insurgency Museum. They were rejected not only due to erotic undertones or the homosexuality of the artist, but also as a result of challenging the boundaries of the canonical hero image. What is more, the insurgent in Radziszewski’s version would bear resemblance to the “effeminate” enemy or a caricature made by an enemy.
In his works, Karol Radziszewski seeks room for otherness and wonders what this notion actually means. Apart from depicting national heroes, the artist also questions artistic clichés and fixed standards. Radziszewski’s series of paintings, “Ali”, from 2016, shown at BWA Warsaw, also tackles a similar theme. The artist depicted August Agbola O’Brown, a black insurgent of the Warsaw Uprising, who fits badly in the patriotic-nationalist imaginarium as well.
Elaborated by Vera Zalutskaya (Bunkier Sztuki Gallery of Contemporary Art),
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Poland License.
Karol Radziszewski (born in 1980) is a multimedia artist and painter, the creator of installations, photographs, and videos, the author of interdisciplinary projects, and a curator. His paintings draw on popular culture, camp aesthetics, and Polish folk art. The artist often combines painting with photography and audiovisual art, creating multimedia installations. He makes unique graphic murals, which are based on repeated ornamental patterns. His projects are contextual in nature, combining public and private spheres. Radziszewski’s works employ elements of social issues and queer theory. He often refers to his own experience and raises problems connected with homosexuality, social exclusion and stigma, Catholicism, family, and AIDS. He graduated from the Faculty of Painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. He was the winner of the main award of the 3rd edition of the Samsung Art Master competition (2006), of the Deutsche Bank Spojrzenia Foundation Award (2007), and of Polityka’s Passport Award (2009) in the field of visual arts. He is a three-time scholarship holder of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage (2002, 2006, 2009). He is the author of solo exhibitions: Pedały [Fags] (private flat, Warsaw, 2005), Zawsze chciałem [I’ve always wanted] (CSW at Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw, 2007), Oh! (Galeria Arsenał, Białystok, 2008), Siusiu w torcik [A pee into the cake] (Zachęta, Warsaw, 2009), Backstage (Bunkier Sztuki Gallery of Contemporary Art, Kraków, 2011), America Is Not Ready for This (Muzeum Współczesne, Wrocław, 2012), LOVE (Galeria Raster, Warsaw, 2012), Queer Archives Institute (Videobrasil, Sao Paolo, Brazil, 2016), Ali (BWA, Warsaw, 2016). He participated in numerous group exhibitions such as: Nova Polska 70–80 (Maison Folie de Moulins, Lille, France, 2004), New York Photo Festival (DUMBO, New York, USA, 2009), Learning from Warsaw (Museum Barengasse, Zurich, Switzerland, 2013), We Rather Look Back to Futures Past (Mumbai Art Room, Mumbai, India, 2014), Kanibalizm? O zawłaszczeniach w sztuce [Cannibalism? On appropriation in art] (Zachęta, Warsaw, 2015), Common Affairs (Deutsche Bank KunstHalle, Berlin, Germany, 2016). He is the initiator and co-founder of the Szu Flying Gallery; he is the founder, publisher and editor-in-chief of DIK Fagazine. He lives and works in Warsaw.
 Agnieszka Kowalska, Mural z młodymi, nagimi torsami nie spodobał się muzeum, “Gazeta Wyborcza”, 16.02.2011, online: warszawa.wyborcza.pl/warszawa/1,34889,9113567,Mural_z_mlodymi__nagimi_torsami_nie_spodobal_sie_muzeum.html [access: 30.07.2017].
 Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Can the Subaltern Speak?, [w:] Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture, red. C. Nelson, L. Grossberg, Macmillan Education: Basingstoke, 1988, p. 271–313.
 Magda Szcześniak, Paranoiczne interpretacje, porozumiewawcze mrugnięcia – refleksje wokół niezrealizowanego muralu i Studium do Rannego Powstańca Karola Radziszewskiego, online: academia.edu/4477212/Paranoiczne_interpretacje_porozumiewawcze_mrugni%C4%99cia_-_refleksje_wok%C3%B3%C5%82_niezrealizowanego_muralu_i_Studium_do_rannego_powsta%C5%84ca_Karola_Radziszewskiego [access: 30.07.17].
 Agnieszka Kowalska, dz. cyt.
 Sharon R. Bird, Welcome to the Men’s Club: Homosociality and the Maintenance of Hegemonic Masculinity, Gender and Society, Vol. 10, 1996, p. 120–132.