CONFLICT AND CONCORD. 'CZEREJA' IN THE ATELIER OF GRZEGORZ KOWALSKI (Konflikt i porozumienie. 'Czereja' w pracowni Grzegorza Kowalskiego)
In the 1990s, the atelier of Prof. Grzegorz Kowalski in the Department of Sculpture of the Warsaw Academy of Art educated artists which have long been counted among the leading Polish creators. Among them was Artur Zmijewski, who as a student began to publish 'Czereja'. In the years 1992-1998 six issues of the magazine appeared, initially as a Xeroxed fanzine and later as a full-fledged magazine in print. 'Czereja' was almost in its entirety devoted to 'Kowalnia' (the Foundry), the artistic output of its students and graduates and the artistic tasks they had been assigned. It is a trustworthy reflection of processes characteristic for 'Kowalnia', e.g. the process of abandoning of the traditional sculptural medium in favour of performance, photography and video, and a reflection of discussions conducted in the atelier. The magazine illustrated also Prof. Kowalski's teaching method, which he termed 'teaching through partnership'. This method, based on the experience of his own masters Oskar Hansen and Jerzy Jarnuszkiewicz, accentuated the students' individuality, their freedom in expressing their worldview and freedom in the choice of means of expression, and the 'primacy of human experience over the work'. Kowalski repeatedly stated that in his atelier the teachers were learning concurrently with the students and he stressed the 'two-way flow of artistic impulse'. 'Czereja', therefore, contains records of some exceptionally interesting polemics between Prof. Kowalski and Artur Zmijewski concerning e.g. the question of interpretation and overinterpretation. Kowalski stressed the communicative function of art and the clarity of artistic message, whereas Zmijewski emphasised the role of the recipient's subjective interpretation. A special place in the magazine is given to the account of the 'Personal and Common Space', Prof. Kowalski's assignment based on nonverbal communication conducted through artistic means. Similarly to numerous works by Prof. Kowalski's students, the 'Czereja' magazine was a matter of considerable controversy among the professorial staff of the Warsaw Academy of Art.
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