Photographer Kuba Dabrowski graduated with a degree in sociology from the Jagiellonian University, and a degree in photography from the ITF in Opava (Czech Republic). He works as a photo-editor and photographer for “Przekroj” weekly. His freelance work has been in “Viva,” “Machina,” “Exklusive” and “Die Zeit.”
His best friend Karol remarks: “He’s sincere, both in his life and in what he does, and on every level. He’s professional, even mega-professional, one of the most professional people I know, in the full sense of the word. And I can also say that he’s consistent.That consistency always crops up somewhere. He’s a good person. Kuba is an optimist, even when things are bad he says ?don’t worry, everything will be ok.'”
Karol Radziszewski is a painter, performer and journalist. Some of his noted works include installations, events, photographs and video art. He graduated from the Painting Department of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, and is the initiator and co-creator of the Szu Szu Flying Gallery, and the founder, publisher and editor-in-chief of “DIK Fagazine” ? the first gay magazine in Poland.
Kuba described Karol as consistent: “They say he isn’t, but he is. He’s coherent in what he does. He’s very intelligent. On the other hand, he has big doubts that he sometimes gets hung up on…”
The two are great friends.
Both were born in 1980 and lived in Bialystok. Although they both have much in common, they are notably individual and unique.
Karol didn’t play with cars, but he drew many pictures of limousines and Rolls-Royces with princesses emerging from within them. Kuba had cars and toy soldiers ? except that they weren’t soldiers, they were always the entourage touring with the car.
Karol was into classical music, and used to attend the Philharmonic, while Kuba was listening to hip-hop. Karol was a square; Kuba was more of a cool kid.
Kuba and Karol met in high school where they both worked for the school newspaper “Rysa” [“Scratch”]. Karol Radziszewski was the founder, and Kuba did the photography.
The newspaper was about what was happening at school, music, culture, and skateboards. It was the first time they began working together.
After high school they parted ways.
Karol went to Krakow, Kuba to Warsaw. During this transition, the two kept in contact with each other.
When Kuba moved to the capital, Karol began doing “DIK Fagazine” ? which is when they renewed their collaboration.
At this time, Kuba and Karol, while compiling work from adolescent times discovered that it foreshadowed things to come, namely what they’re doing now as professional artists.
Karol has photos, drawings and works from the past that mimics things that have existed earlier. And with Kuba, you can see a straight line that runs through to his present-day photography.
They made those pieces without the awareness they have now. It turned out that what they are doing now comes from things that they had been doing, unconsciously, way back then.
“We don’t want to pretend that we’ve been doing these things for a very long time. We want to show that those naive things have a direct translation into what we’re doing now. And comparing the two causes them to interplay. They show how two people with very similar circumstances can go in slightly different directions,” says Karol Radiszewski.
On the display we can see approximately 20 pieces documenting the artists’ past.
There are Kuba Dabrowski’s photos depicting a school disco, boys with skateboards; gray, depressing blocks of flats, a fight on a playground, and many other pieces.
Karol presented a series of drawings made in an activity book, such as dress designs for Barbie rendered in detail (made between the ages of 9 and 11, including evening fashion, daytime fashions, and piles of paper with drawings of dresses), but also a drawing of a half of a dog or a mouse wearing a girl’s outfit.
The artists’ pieces seem very personal and intimate, but on the other hand, they evoke a universal story of people born in the 80’s. The exhibit helps to recall memories of our own childhood, but it can also be considered as a small documentation of what the late 80’s and mid 90’s in Poland were like.
“Pals” plays with convention on many levels.
The show raises the question of what an exhibition is/might be and what the artwork is. Is it as Kurt Schwitters said, “whatever the artist will expectorate is art”?
What status have the pieces shown on the exposition if they were made by artists, but in childhood? What is a piece of art? Is it an art exhibit if works are too difficult to define?
Kuba Dabrowski, Karol Radziszewski, Pals (Feb. 8-March 8)
GALERIA ZPAF i S-KA
ul. sw. Tomasza 24