On loan to: Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
Exhibition: Edward Krasinski
T12566 is a hollow wooden cylinder, which is cut at an angle from the top to form an elliptical opening. The cylinder is suspended vertically from two nylon threads attached to the elliptical opening, so that it appears to hang in the air. A corresponding cardboard tube of the same diameter, painted black, sits below the cylinder, on the floor or on a plinth. The cylinder is painted white at the top, shading into grey and black towards the bottom and on the inside. A piece of red dowel is positioned in the elliptical opening of the cylinder, so that it appears to run down the centre, and an identical piece of red dowel is attached to the cardboard tube on the floor. An intermittent line, which corresponds to the dowel, is painted on the outside of the cylinder, fading gradually to white, before suddenly returning to red at the bottom.
The elongated shape and sharp, elliptical opening of T12566 suggests that it is related to several spear-shaped objects – entitled Spears – produced by Krasinski in the mid-1960s, as an exploration of space and of capturing movement. Around 1963, the photographer Eustachy Kossakowski (1925–2001) visited Krasinski at his summer house in Zalesie, near Warsaw, where Kossakowski took photographs of Krasinski’s Spears ‘in action’: the long shafts of wood were suspended horizontally in several pieces using wire, so that they appeared to be floating in mid-air (reproduced in Polit, p.99–110). Krasinski used the same technique during the summer academy III Plener Koszalinski in summer 1965 in Osieki, on the north coast of Poland. His Dzida Wielka 1964 (in English, Grand Spear, reproduced in Breitwieser, p.323) was suspended in mid-air, and, like T12566, painted in gradations of colour, from red to black with units of pink and grey. These markings create the impression of movement, and create a tension between the two-dimensional linear depiction of space (in T12566, the markings representing the red dowel) and three-dimensional sculpture. As critic Pawel Polit comments:
Krasinki’s objects constitute a special phenomenon, which concerns the way in which they behave in space. Changeable concentrations of energy are created in particular places, in particular zones, locating themselves beyond [the] substantial reality of those structures, for example at the points of rupture, detachment, continuity, proximity.’
(Quoted in Breitwieser, p.62.)
Born in Łuck in the Ukraine, Krasinski studied Applied Arts and Fine Arts in Krakow, and began his career in the 1960s as a surrealist painter. In the early 1970s, he moved into Henryk Stazewski’s studio where they lived together, and remained there after Stazewski’s death in 1988. In 1966, Krasinski was one of the founders of the Foksal Gallery in Warsaw, which acted as a focal point for experimental conceptual artists. He participated in the first happening in Warsaw in 1965, initiated by the artist and theatre director Tadeusz Cantor (1915–90), and later played the role of conductor in Cantor’s Panoramic Sea Happening 1967 at Łazy, near Osieki. He began using blue tape in his actions, installations and photo-based works from 1968, often working with the photographer Eustachy Kossakowski (1925–2001). In 1970, he applied tape to the walls of the Musée d’art Moderne de la Ville de Paris and the windows of Rive Gauche galleries. He met Daniel Buren (born 1938) on that occasion, and the two artists remained friends. There is a strong conceptual likeness between the two artists’ work, as both use unchanging and potentially infinite stripes to challenge the definition of art and ways of looking at art (see Buren’s work T12316, One of the Possibilities 1973). Krasinski described the ambivalent and challenging meaning of his use of the blue tape, which became his signature mark: ‘Blue Scotch Tape, 19mm wide, length unknown. I place it horizontally at a height of 130cm everywhere and on everything. I encompass everything with it and go everywhere. This is art, or is it? Yet one thing is certain: blue Scotch Tape, 19mm wide, length unknown.’ (Quoted in Kiessler and Mytkowska, p.83.)
Lena Kiessler and Joanna Mytkowska (eds.), Edward Krasinski: Interwencja, Warsaw 2001.
Sabine Breitwieser (ed.), Edward Krasinski: Les Mises en Scène, Vienna 2006.
Paweł Polit (ed.), Edward Krasinski: Elementarz/ABC, Krakow 2008.
Supported by the London Centre for Arts and Cultural Exchange in collaboration with the Courtauld Institute of Art.