Performance: December 6, 2008
Participants: Ewa Rybska & Wladyslaw Kazmierczak
Duration: 45 minutes
A 12 000 square meter large bus garage is the site for Ewa Rybska’s and Wladyslaw Kazmierczak’s performance The Personal Definition. The indefinite hall appears in the light of sixty big bulbs hanging in a straight line along one of the shorter walls. Two large projection screens create a room within the space. On one, historic performance pieces are shown. On the other, Rybska is seen taking a piano lesson, an instrument she played as a child and now tries to learn to master again.
The artists perform in the middle of the audience, each with an act silently corresponding to the other’s. Rybska is placed in the middle of the scene with a piano, a school desk, a rocking-horse, a stove and various other materials. Kazmierczak is slowly moving along the wall of bulbs. Rybska interacts with the audience by offering coffee and carrying on short and intimate conversations while at the same time in sudden outbursts throwing glasses and cutlery around her. Her character is hovering between tenderness and aggression, while Kazmierczak is engrossed in the methodical way in which he switches off the bulbs. With his head he slowly and with great focus smashes them, one after another, until the site is dark. Finally, each of the artists releases a fire extinguisher and the audience, forced by the smoke, leaves.
To Ewa Rybska and Wladyslaw Kazmierczak (born in 1958 and 1951 in Poland, live and work in the UK), performance is ”an attitude towards the world and oneself, not towards art”. They regard the medium as a struggle to express ideas and opinions, and do not fear being politically explicit. Their work raises and sheds light on issues of ideology, from Stalinism to techno music. The presentation of their work is explosive with a childlike curiosity and humour in defence of a personal definition of freedom.