Grzegorz Sztwiertna


Grzegorz Sztwiertnia


Artist - soul doctor, educator, guide, instructor. There is some irony in Sztwiertnia's literal understanding of this challenge. Instead of creating "art", he devises therapies, carries out research and makes designs, employing theoretical description and practical demonstration. Contemporary art explores the concept of the body to the full. Sztwiertnia's complement is the problem of the soul (the spirit?). He does it in a tongue in cheek manner however. He steers clear of the body factor perceived naturalistically, he embraces imagination, intellectual play, ambiguity.
Surrounded with his works - machinery, tables, corporal and mechanical specimens - he is like a mad lab assistant, engrossed in activities which are senseless from the rational and useless from the practical point of view. All that in the state of alertness and readiness to receive a trusting patient.

The artist combines the objects and images with leaflets, explanations, instructions, and treatises written in a modern scientific jargon or in an old-fashioned manner. It compels the viewer to become actively engaged in the interpretation. The knowledge of specialist medical, psychiatric and psychological terminology makes it possible to reveal successive layers of meaning connected with the works, which at first appear as objects just as interesting as incomprehensible.
The artist shows interest in hidden semantic relationships, shifts of meaning, a complex creation in the mental sphere. Within that area objects, institutions, facts and processes are brought to life and made materially verifiable. Being artistic imitation of reality, they also become its mirrors.

Jerzy Hanusek (extracts)

The project Eurythmicon by Grzegorz Sztwiertnia is composed of several elements and was inspired by Rudolf Steiner's innovative concept of the art of eurhythmics. Eurhythmics is based on considerations and analyses of the nature of human speech, the art of the living word and gesture, and the theatrical expression of "soul" experiences. In his work, Sztwiertnia tries to apply Goethe's Farbenlehre theory, used by Steiner in his investigations, during his work with a mentally handicapped boy who, while playing with a ribbon, vociferates pure, loud sounds. Sztwiernia's analysis of this behaviour led him to create a "natural spectacle" according to the principles of eurhythmics, in the shape of a film. Additionally, the artist arranged the exhibition space to create, as he termed it, an ephemeral visual installation. The film projection is supplemented by colourful ribbons hanging throughout the exhibition hall.

Based on science, Sztwiernia creates his new work within the world of art, translating scientific bases into his own rules and principles, and thus implicating the proper reading of it. The artist's experiments are concentrated around the body - its diseases, illnesses and lameness, as well as its functioning and mental states. In this case, the repetition of seemingly nonsensical movements by the boy, overlaps with the first stage of Steiner's theory. Gesture and mimic skills embody the experiences of the soul. Expression of movements, performed unconsciously by the boy, and provoked by the artist by means of the ribbons, allows us to read the state of his soul through the meaning associated with colours. In this case, Sztwiernia's hypothetical action enables the cognition of the spiritual world through catharsis, a kind of healing spectacle.

Justyna Niewiara


© 2002