Łódź Kaliska

Łódź Kaliska was established in 1979 as an artistic group under a cloud of scandal. Łódź Kaliska’s members, the same since its foundation, include Marek Janiak, Andrzej Kwietniewski, Adam Rzepecki, Andrzej Świetlik, and Andrzej Wielogórski.

This neo-avant-garde formation aimed to study the photo-media-aspect of seeing and registering, originating from the tradition of conceptualism, chiefly through photography, experimental film and performance art. Since 1980 the group changed their artistic programme to something more Dadaistic happenings and a message of Surrealist anarchism.

Łódź Kaliska playfully attacked and ridiculed the Polish neo-avant-garde and presenting the absurdities of living in People’s Poland (under socialism). From 1982 to 1988 the Łódź Kaliska group was part of the Kultura Zrzuty (Whip-In Culture) movement. In the best avantgardist tradition, Kwietniewski and Janiak wrote a great many manifestos, among them, was Janiak’s manifesto on “Embarrassing Art” which became crucial for the polish art after of the 90’s.

The group published also an independent artzine “Tango” in which they attacked and ridiculed the communist structures of the “war state” as well as the paintings of the “new primitives” and patriotic “church-affiliated art”. Their participation in the exhibition “Polish Inter-Media Photography of the 1980s” (BWA, Poznań 1988) ended in the scandal but also an artistic success; the works on display included erotic re-enacted photographs and the film „Freiheit? Nein Danke!”.

In the early 1980s, Łódź Kaliska attacked superficial Polish religiousness and the Polish notion of patriotism. Later these topics were treated in a more playful and ludic way, like many other themes undertaken as a study of exploring the history of culture in terms of a comical “warehouse of forms”, from which one can draw freely because the division between the world of the sacred and the profane has been blurred or even forgotten.

Big Boys GamesAnniversary Exhibition, Calisian Boat, Small is Big