Krystian “Truth” Czaplicki was invited by Łaźnia CCA in Gdańsk to present a public artwork as part of the series of temporary projects of the Outdoor Gallery of the City of Gdańsk. The artist, who comes from the artistic circles of Wrocław and currently cooperates with BWA Warsaw, approached his Gdańsk intervention with a sense of humour and sensitivity regarding the urban tissue.
Czaplicki’s installation enchants the viewer at first sight. Its strength lies in its simplicity: the form resembles a fishing rod or landing net. The simple steel pipe with a circle at the end, immersed in water thanks to a load, gives the impression that the fisherman is assisted by even more sophisticated fishing gear. The work directly refers to the location picked by the artist. The waters of Opływ Motławy near the Wyskok Redoubt bastion in the Lower Town are a favourite spot of the local fishermen, inviting to take walks or relax next to the reeds and listen to their rustle in the wind.
Czaplicki’s unobtrusive installation, which may even seem excessively minimalist, proved to be an excellent intervention. Both the form of the fishing rod as a nod to the local inhabitants and the thought-out minimalism with regard to the nature of the district prove to Truth’s artistic maturity. Why is this minimalism a positive sign in Czaplicki’s art? A district such as the Lower Town, which is being so meticulously redeveloped, renovated and gentrified, gradually ceases to offer shelter to its inhabitants. Czaplicki’s art was not directed at the history of all the beautiful pre-war tenement houses, raked by the Red Army, nor was it a dialogue with 90s architecture. Czaplicki opted for a simple solution: establishing contact with the inhabitants; his installation is a step towards the “common people”. And it is a very positive thing that – curious about the result – they tried to touch the work.
The installation was unveiled on 19 July, followed by concerts by Asia i Koty and Sonia Pisze Piosenki. Summer, people relaxing to the music and a holiday atmosphere –Truth Czaplicki’s sculpture indeed was in good company; it fulfilled its role of a commentary, a screw, a 3D intervention in the public space.
Czaplicki’s sculptures and miniature interventions can be found in Wrocław’s Krzyki district. The artist is very fond of “cooperating” with this area in the scope of visual arts. He regularly works with BWA Warszawa. All of his installations, often showing his sense of humour, unobtrusively blend in with the given space. Although some critics have pigeonholed him as a street artist, Czaplicki himself tends to prefer references to objet trouvé [1.] in the spirit of Marcel Duchamp, the father of this concept.
Czaplicki’s sculptures bring to mind ephemeral interventions of British artist Martin Creed; they alter or comment the nature of a given space in a subtle manner. In the Polish context, Czaplicki’s sculptures may relate to Andrzej Matuszewski’s 21 Objects exhibition presented at odNOWA gallery in Poznań [2.] in 1968. That display was composed of everyday objects which were painted red by the artist and thus deprived of their original function.
Truth Czaplicki’s art brings him closer to the forefather of the Polish objet trouvé. I have a reason to mention the 1960s exhibition from Poznań. Krystian Truth Czaplicki’s actions seem to refer to the Polish objet trouvé traditions. He is also gradually moving from open urban spaces to the white cube. Bringing subversive art to the gallery space is another strategy used by the Wrocław artist.
This turn towards the gallery as a space for interventions “taken out” from the urban structure is an omnipresent trend. Suffice it to mention the activities of Mariusz Waras and his M.CITY [3.] project – initially expanding onto buildings in the whole world, the monumental sculptures could also be seen at the Alternativa [4.] exhibition in Gdańsk.
Krystian Truth Czaplicki seems to succumb to this trend of striking a dialogue with the official gallery policy. This is by no means negative. His “illegally” constructed art, rooted in the raw Polish landscape, already sits comfortably in the white cube, leaving no-one indifferent.
The question that arises is to what extent, what spatial form the artist is striving to achieve. This is a rhetorical question. Since the natural chaos of Polish architecture and the urban landscape mutilated by totalitarianism was fertile ground for Truth’s small, witty interventions, how long can he last in the role of a subtle observer and commentator of “found” situations in the public space?
In my short text, I take this question at face value; I strongly believe that Krystian Truth Czaplicki will be able to deal with just about any spatial situation, as his interventions so far [5.] have proved his perceptiveness as an artist.
Text: Agata Nowosielska
2. Piotr Piotrowski, Znaczenia Modernizmu, st.151, Dom Wydawniczy Rebis, Poznań 2011