Faithful devotees of letters, Mariusz Libel and Krzysztof Sidorek have decided to focus their retrospective exhibition on phonetic transcription. Whether 20 years ago or today, the works of Twożywo address the same questions: How faithful are we to our ideas and how strong are our backbones.
Galeria Bielska BWA is the second venue of the exhibition "Prze\T/rwanie" (survive/remain) previously presented in Wrocław’s 66P – Subiektywna Instytucja Kultury (66P – Subjective Institution of Culture).
The first-in-a-decade exhibition of works by the legendary group features street art stickers and stencils designed by the artists together with Robert Czajka and Anna Pochmara in the Pinocchio group (until 1998); replicas of murals, past and present, from many Polish cities (Warsaw, Płock, Kraków); original silkscreen and stencil prints; animations; books, and, above all, letters of the alphabet; letters to be arranged into messages, letters to be read, viewed, passed by word of mouth, exchanged.
Karolina Vyšata, curator of the exhibition:
Twożywo poses a number of uncomfortable questions which have troubled us for the last 20 years. These are formulated as affirmative or adjudicative sentences, processed quotations, prophecies, morals and even adages: “Stagnation”, “Creation is love”, “Antichrist as an artist”, “Emanations of weakness”, “Purity is?”, “Work and play”, “Vive la révolution”. The artists constantly ask the same questions about how faithful we are to our ideas and how strong are our backbones. (...) Following the thought of Vilém Flusser, the artists steadfastly and invariably uphold the statement that the act of human communication is at the same time an act of freedom; Twożywo addresses the viewer directly: Will we survive or will we break it?
The origins of the group go back to 1994, when Robert Czajka, Mariusz Libel and Krzysztof Sidorek formed Pinocchio. In 1998, Libel and Sidorek founded Twożywo, which continued and developed the work of Pinocchio. They would place stickers on buses, small stencils on gates, and later also created murals and billboards all over the country and abroad. Some of them still remain unforgettable to this day – the billboard “When there will finally be a war”, hung opposite the Koszyki Hall in Warsaw on the eve of the 11 September 2001 disaster in New York, has gone down in history.
The group was awarded the prestigious Polityka Magazine Passport" in the category of visual arts “for art combining words with images in an innovative way, for boldly going where art has not gone before.” Twożywo is considered “one of the most interesting phenomena in Polish art during the political transformation and emerging capitalism in the ‘90s.” Their work has been presented at numerous solo and group exhibitions.
The hacking of reality, real and virtual, took place as a duo until the group disbanded in 2011, during the exhibition “WYbór obRAZ + Nihil Negativum” held in Łódź. From then on, Mariusz Libel continued working singlehandedly, creating typographic and pictorial commentaries on contemporary times. Twożywo’s website, which is a rich archive of the group’s projects, is still active today. 2020 saw the publication of the group's powerful monograph entitled “Plundering the Ruins of Reality”. The book, published on the initiative of art collector Osman Djajadisastra, is a typographic puzzle. The publication became an impulse for the symbolic return of Twożywo after a decade since its closure.
In 2008, During the exhibition “Illusion as a Source of Suffering” the Twożywo group created a mural entitled “To tłum” (It's a Crowd) on the front wall of the Bielska Galeria BWA facing ulica 3 Maja.
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Twożywo – Mariusz Libel and Krzysztof Sidorek.
The Twożywo group was founded in 1994, initially operating under the name Pinocchio. In its most recent line-up (Mariusz Libel, Krzysztof Sidorek), the group existed from 1998 to 2011.
The methods and media they used were aimed at passers-by, Internet users – random people moving around materially or virtually in communication and information systems. They created murals, billboards, posters, stickers, net art projects, animations, columns and illustrations in the press. In 2006 In 2006, the Twożywo group was awarded the “Paszport Polityki” prize in the category of visual arts “for art combining words with images in an innovative way, for boldly entering with their works where art has not reached before.”
The group’s work has been presented many times at solo exhibitions (incl. “Wallpaper”, Austrian Cultural Forum in Warsaw, 2003; “1c01n”, Cork vision centre@st peter's, in Ireland, 2005; “W samym centrum uwagi”, Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle in Warsaw, 2006; “WYbór-obRAZ”, Atlas Sztuki in Łódź, 2011) and group exhibitions (“Look at me. Novart.pl” in Kraków, 2002; “Natarcie netartu”, Zachęta - National Gallery of Art in Warsaw, 2003; “Art in the city. AMS outdoor gallery 1998-2002”, 2003; “Eis-enstein-hot as the people”, Xawery Dunikowski Museum of Sculpture in Królikarnia, Warsaw, 2004; “Beyond the Red Horizon”, Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle in Warsaw, 2004; “Ear Stories”, Zachęta National Gallery of Art in Warsaw, 2011). Their works can be found in many private and public collections in Poland and abroad (including the Collection of 20th and 21st century art at the Museum of Art in Łódź, Arsenał Gallery in Białystok, and the ING Polish Art Foundation).
Ten years after the group was deactivated, Mariusz Libel and Krzysztof Sidorek jointly arranged and composed a selection of their works in the space of Wrocław's 66P. Subjective Institution of Culture a selection of their works, creating an exhibition entitled “prze\T/rwanie” (20.11.2021–29.01.2022).
The impulse for its realisation was the album “Plundering the Ruins of Reality” from 2020 which offers a summary of the group’s activity.
Galeria Bielska BWA, ground floor hall
Curated by Karolina Vyšata
25 February – 03 April 2022