Pregnant male, musician: Michał Karpiuk, Warsaw, 27/02/2019, video recording: Meg Janus.
THE BODY IS HOLY
The body is holy to me and there is no form of humiliation that would take this holiness away from it. Even when tortured, mutilated, or sick, it always glows with the same light.
Body art is a prayer.
Self Marriage Pleasure series, Home art, digital photography, 2018.
Identity is related to the body. I love being a man and I can’t imagine anyone telling me what that means. It’s enough to remark that masculine gentleness and sensitivity and the strength resulting from these features are often culturally tabooed. I oppose it in my work, paying due attention to underrepresented aspects of masculinity. This is how many of my works were created, including a series with the meaningful title Fragile, a very intimate Home art project (available here: www.militohomeart.eu) as well as performances – e. g. Couvade and Pregnant male. These works always revolve around the broadly understood body art.
Fragile (perineum), imprints of male genitalia in soaked toilet paper, variable dimensions, 2016.
Fragile is an intermedia series – objects, collages, videos. The keynote is delicacy. The man in his works appears only through the enigmatic traces of his presence – in prints, remains, or seen fragmentarily in a close-up on video. The works often use his sexual organs as a metonymy for masculinity, but the evoked sensuality has a much broader dimension than merely erotic.
Fragile (hair), male pubic hair, hairspray, plexiglass, 6 x 3 x 12 cm, 2016.
Pregnant Male, the still from video-set design, video collage, 2019.
In performance art pieces Couvade and Pregnant Man, I took on topics such as fatherhood, caring, self-esteem and self-care, passion, creative power, responsibility, or even the “femininity” of a man, which is everything that men often don’t allow themselves, and what they have in their “shadow”. These works are choreographed performances.
Kuwada, the organ room in UMFC, Warsaw, 2018, May 12, video-record Michał Szaranowicz.
Clod: Triptych, acrylic on cardboard, 150 x 70 cm (whole), 2016.
MATERIALNA PODSTAWA BYTU
The materiality of being is fascinating; perceived in the spirit of the unity of all sciences (consilience) is beautiful, amazing and awing. My first works, which I started to create with art studies in mind, touched on this subject. I am talking mainly about the Clod series. Clod is actually a unit of measure in a world of uncountables. A lump of matter can be practically anything: me, you, a plant, a stone – animate and inanimate matter, which from the point of view of physics are homogeneous in their structure. All mental processes also have a physical basis, even spiritual experiences. That is why I am monistic in this matter and do not distinguish between levels of physics and metaphysics. This is the reason why in my works I almost always use the language of sacred art. Sometimes these are very literal references, and sometimes only transformations and allusions.
Clog: Brain, collage, a wooden frame after devotional articles, 22 x 28 cm, 2016.
I’m dancing with a stone in Mover. It was my first naked performance. It changed me on a very profound level. The Fryderyk Chopin University of Music, performance, May 13, 2017. Video – Meg Janus
THE PERIPHERALS OF BODY
The whole body, filled with mystery, is sacred to me – with everything that a decent citizen wants to forget: holy with its physiognomy, digestive machinery, with all susceptibility to disease and destruction. In my opinion, it is impossible to defile the body, to humiliate it, to lower its value. Even all smeared with feces and with the head cut off, it is still sacred. It the same as with dignity – It is inalienable. I could write a lot about it, however it’s far better to recommend Metafizyka mięsa (The Metaphysics of Meat) – an amazing chapter in Jolanta Brach-Czaina’s book Szczeliny istnienia (Cracks of Existence). I couldn’t have illustrated it better.
During the performance Thank you, the audience volunteers, uninformed previously about their role in the show, were asked to wash and dress. It was a really beautiful and powerful experience that I will never forget. Warsaw, January 17, 2018, video – Konrad Zduniak, photos – Zbigniew Kuszczyk.
The COVID 19 World: What is it, daddy? – crayons, oil pastels, a magazine page, 32 X 22 cm, 2020.