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Don't be ashamed of becoming Columbus. Art full of discoveries

'I was brought up in such a tradition that requires students to be Columbus although we all know that America was discovered long ago,' says dr Marek Sienkiewicz from the Faculty of Painting and Sculpture of the Academy of Art and Design in Wrocław. 'These lands are being really discovered anew because everybody interprets them in a different. There's always space for new discoveries and it's worth doing it for yourself and your observations.


Sienkiewicz shares his experience during the Lower Silesian Science Festival, during which he is a co-ordinator delegated from his faculty. 'I admit that I sometimes feel guilty because I don't know if my audience learns something new. Luckily, we can't demand answers from art. But when participants start asking questions, then I realise my workshop goes well.'


He vividly remembers one of his workshops because of searching for new yet already discovered lands. 'It was a long time ago since I was preparing documentation with the Polaroid,' he recalls. More people than we expected came to the workshop. We decided to combine painting and drawing techniques with various and supplementary materials. The leitmotif was ”zamek” with all its meanings. [zamek in Polish can mean a castle and a zip.]


What participants discovered was that they could create the third dimension with paper or a carton. Thanks to that, we can construct far more interesting and spacious works. 'The fold of the paper creates its constructivity and artistic endeavours develop combinatorial skills,' smiles the artist.


The lecturer admits that he is a sculptor by education but when asked about his specialisation in art, he answers: 'There's something in between. Drawings, installations, sculptures – these forms of art have something in common. The moment you start discovering them and looking at the outcome, you can't define it straightaway.' In his view it is interesting.


The artist also values performance for being “a tyre of art”. This means performance ensures friction with the reality. 'It forces us to meet the reality' – he said. However, he doesn't want to delve into it. He thinks if somebody explains what performance is, then this is no performance anymore. 'It is undefinable.'


The sculptor commenced his adventure with art when he was a little boy. 'I would draw the virtual worlds. At times I even used the third dimension, adding to the drawing a nail or key, which played the role of buildings or people,' he says.


It was then when Sienkiewicz realised what economics is. A friend of his parents' suggested paying 10 zlotys for Sienkiwicz's collage. 'Sadly, this transaction wasn't finalised although I had nothing against it,' he laughs.


It was in high school when he sold his first poster-newspaper. 'Despite it was peanuts what I got for it, but I was satisfied. The poster was called “Wolna trybuna” [Free Tribune]. People were scribbling there their thoughts. Probably it wasn't only me who remembered that situation very well. I met my friend who bought it after 20 years and it was the first thing he mentioned.


Doctor Marek Sienkiewcz is a lecturer at the Faculty of Painting and Sculpture of the Academy of Art and Design in Wrocław. He worked, among other things, in the studio run by prof. Leon Podsiadło, who was his mentor in terms of artistic activity. He was a laureate of Grand Prix “Prague Quadriennal of  Theatre Design and Architecture” (Polish edition). He has been a co-ordinator of the Lower Silesian Science delegated from his Faculty for many years.

Marta Bigda

trans. AN

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