Warsaw premiere of the publication of EL Gallery in Elbląg. Meeting with Jarek Denisiuk, editor of the book.

“Art Workman’s Notebook” was one of the most interesting publications of the second wave of Polish avant-garde in the 70s. The Free/Slow University of Warsaw aims at following the paths of auto-didacticism, self-organisation and cooperation indicated back then. Hence our immediate decision to bring the newly published “Notebook” to Warsaw. The premiere will feature Jarek Denisiuk, editor of the current, critical edition, who will talk about the context of its establishment and the activity of Gerard Kwiatkowski, founder of EL Gallery and editor of the “Notebook”.

What was ‘Art Workman’? “Art Workman’s Notebook” was published irregularly, between the 4th Biennale of Spatial Forms ‘Dreamers’ Congress’ and the 5th Biennale of Spatial Forms ‘Kinolaboratorium’, between 1972 and 1973. The last, 5th issue was also the catalogue of the 5th Biennale of Spatial Forms.

"Art Workman’s Notebook" edited by the founder of the EL Gallery – Gerard Kwiatkowski was an exceptional undertaking. It was created as a genuine bottom-up initiative, a work of a group of enthusiasts, deprived of any official support at the time. It was printed on a copier, on bad quality paper, retaining an informal, utterly innovative character of a zine. Its concept was to create a platform for lively exchange of artistic ideas and presentation of creative approaches. “Art Workman’s Notebook” played a consolidating role for the conceptual art movement in Poland.

It featured programmes of addresses by such renowned artists and critics as Jerzy Ludwiński, Jerzy Rosołowicz, Zofia Kulik, Andrzej Kostołowski as well as original realisations of linguistic art by, among others, Janusz Haka, Paweł Duda, Romuald Kutera and Poezja Aktywna (Active Poetry) by Ewa Partum or Zasady Sztuki Monodycznej (Principles of Monodic Art) by Andrzej Partum. It was not only a collection of commentaries, opinions and essays pertaining to the undertakings of Polish contemporary art of the 70s. It also became a result of artistic creation in its own right.

At present, “Art Workman’s Notebook” is utterly unavailable, with single copies in the hands of private collectors. Even on the occasion of the famous exhibition ‘Europa, Europa’ in Germany in the 90s, the organisers didn’t manage to gather all issues of the “Notebook” and its display enjoyed large interest on the part of the guests.

Jarosław Denisiuk


[transl. Łukasz Mojsak]