– We have Gałczyński Square, Andrzejewskiego Street, but we do not have Tokarczyka Street, and we must have – says Wojciech Ciesielski, author of the comic book Sztuka. – He was perhaps the most important artist in the post-war history of Szczecin.
Immersion in the world of art
– Pictures from childhood? Browse a large number of art albums from classic to modern. Art historian and critic Wojciech Siselski says my father bought everything he could get. – I especially liked reproductions of Rembrandt paintings and African masks. And the second picture is that there were always a lot of guests in the house and they were artists, for example, Uncle Joseph Rupakowsky. The family and the artists, they will blend into the same environment that I grew up in.
“The first comic I remembered that I drew was about dwarves,” recalls Wojciech Siselsky. – I was five or six. My older brother wrote me speech bubbles because I didn’t know how to write yet.
In his childhood, comedy was a generation experience.
The latest comic book by Wojciech Ciesielski entitled “Sztuka. Szczecin Comics ”in the form of a comic book that tells the story of Szczecin-related artists and phenomena from the art circle.
– I wanted to share what for me is something that takes shape in art, and stimulates the imagination; Things I absorbed – says the author. – Each story is told differently, he adds.
From the story of Marian Tomaszowski, who founded the Szczecin art structures since 1945. Through the struggle, put the outdoors in Osieki and unite the air in Karlino. With his homage to Ryszard Tokarczyk, whom he calls the most important painter in the history of Szczecin. There is an interpretation of Danuta Dąbrowska’s reflexive lyricism and the rebellion of the anarchist Bruno Todd. And the “art” was closed by the creator of the colored totems, Jan Zivchik, who also wanted to take care of his memory.
The memory of Oseyeki and Carlino
Wojciech Ciesielski’s father, painter, and installation builder, Andrzej Ciesielski, was one of the co-organizers of the legendary plein-air competitions in Osieki, a small seaside village near Koszalin, where unconventional art projects, including events and works by performers under the name were created. The official meeting of international artists, scholars and art theorists (post-open air collection added to the collections of the Koszalin Museum).
The workshops began in Osieki in 1963 – says Wojciech Ciesielski. – It was an initiative of three people – Marian Bogoch from Warsaw, Ludmica Popiel and Jerzy Fedorovich, then still from Kozalin. A little on the wave of melting that prevailed then, and on the other hand, because of their need, they wanted to create a place where they could meet and create together.
– She was also influenced by the cultural policy of the state, which believed that since these are “restored territories”, we should focus on Polish culture. And since there was no Polish culture from the 16th to the 19th centuries, it was searched for in archeology and contemporary art – Sisselsky explains. – Anyway, it was the same in Szczecin – he adds. – Here was the Contemporary Painting Festival, another idea of building an identity based on contemporary art. Jadwiga Najdowa has built a collection in the Szczecin Museum, anchored in three pillars – local, nautical and contemporary art.
In the comics, he shows the conflict of situations that occurred in Osieki’s last outdoor session in 1981.
He had already seen outdoors “I Call You To Work” in Carlino (1987-89) live at the age of eight, hanging out among the artists. – Artists went into the destroyed granary, built very “strange” things, and a crowd of people came from the city who had never had the opportunity to meet such things. They stayed and participated in it. There was mutual curiosity and complete integration – recalls Wojciech Siselsky.
The future of fine arts
After studying at the Museum and residing in Paris, Wojciech Ciesielski worked for 12 years as curator in the Department of Contemporary Art at the National Gallery in Szczecin. The first frames in the comic “Sztuka” begin with a cruel scene from the meeting of archaeologists about cookies. Someone says “it’s time to set up an exhibition”, but the exhibition will not take place.
Has he stopped believing in such institutions? The museum as an institution is to protect, research, and talk about collectibles. Exhibits are the end result of this work – he explains. – However, some things cannot be explained by a lack of money – and he asserts: – I am also cynical in these frames, because I have thought about Marianne Tomaszowski’s exhibition for a long time, and I lack self-denial.
The first short story takes us to 1945 in Szczecin. In the comic book “Sztuka” there is a fictitious speech with a speech bubble, in which Marian Tomaszewski says to his friend “I think this exhibition will be a symbolic indicator of the future of art in Szczecin” (three days after it burned).
The seven parts of the comedy “Sztuka” by Wojciech Siselsky are like seven exhibitions.
During the day, I am happy to be with Zosia, and at night, when she was sleeping, Wojciech Ciesielski drew the comic book “Zosia. First Voyages” inspired by parenting. – In the wardrobe with clothes, my wife sorted everything well, and found a note next to the sleeping heads, “Handsless clowns.” It immediately caught my specific imagination. I imagined clowns running around without hands. The artist said that he turned into the script of the first episode.
The protagonist was a young astronaut who set out to explore new planets. On one of them, everyone is running. Every day the contestants try to improve their best on a personal level. Which “it seems to me that results are not everything” – says Zosia Robot. Wojciech Ciesielski: – If I want to tell her something, the easiest way to do it is in the language of comics.
4.5-year-old Zosia is now “traveling” to kindergarten.
Greetings from Szczecin
In a short story dedicated to Ryszard Tokarczyk, in “Sztuka”, Siselsky puts colored stripes on his drawings of the streets of Szczecin, which were used by the protagonist in the “Symptoms” series. – We have Gałczyński Square, Andrzejewskiego Street, but we do not have Tokarczyka Street, and we must have – he says. – He was perhaps the most important artist in the post-war history of Szczecin. He lived here much longer than Gałczyński or Andrzejewski. Colleges started. He was one of the few who formulated such a profound theory of his art. It would be uncommon if the street on which he would graze was adorned with his symptoms.
The comic book artist paints Szczecin, where the Sedina Monument is the legendary holy grail of Old Town and cathedral enthusiasts as “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.”
– Szczecin is a city with its unacknowledged, unnamed and completely indescribable identity, and since we cannot define it, it is better for us – says Wojciech Siselsky.
Next: – Szczecin has its own rhythm. People in less hurry. Even on the escalator, they don’t go like in other cities, but wait. They do not draw much attention to themselves, and do not bother each other – she notes. – When we exhibited the work of Peter Voss in the museum in Szczecin, showing a lit cross full of worms, there was no scandal in Szczecin that could be in other cities. Even the TV didn’t come on (laughs).
What does artist mean?
Another comic artist – Jan Szewczyk, who created the colored totems – is a shaman in “Sztuka”.
Who are the artists? Art has been something I’ve been naturally involved in since I was a kid. Some people focus on everyday life, others focus on more “high-traffic” things, but range makes us all alike in the end. I am a little troubled by the spirit of art, understood as something mythical, that flows upon us, because it is an ordinary daily hard work, which people do.