Summary

T12624 is an artwork comprising an ostrich egg. It has been blown, which means that the contents of the egg have been removed through a small pinhole. The egg is a found object, which was included by Krasinski as a sculptural work alongside his mirror installation Untitled 2001(T12558), when it was first installed in 2001 at the Klosterfelde Gallery, Berlin. The egg was exhibited on a plinth, lying on its side, and several other untitled sculptural objects, including T12559, T12560 and T12567, were also exhibited on plinths of varying sizes. The ostrich egg was placed in a spatial relationship with these other sculptural objects, and with the mirror installation around it. In Krasinki’s 2000 exhibition L’Autre Moitié de l’Europe at the Jeu de Paume in Paris, a number of large blown eggs were exhibited on individual plinths of equal size, alongside an installation of photographs. Krasinski’s use of the egg as a sculptural object can therefore be seen as appropriating its visual and sculptural qualities as part of his own vocabulary of sculptural forms.

Krasinski began to use eggs and egg-shapes in his work at the end of the 1980s and in the early 1990s, featuring them in installations at the Foksal Gallery in 1990 and 1994 (Breitwieser, p.78). Writing about Krasinski’s four-part Intervention featuring a photograph of an egg in a cup, the critic Pavel Polit comments on the fact that the strip of blue Scotch tape that had become Krasinski’s signature does not enter the surface of that particular photograph: ‘it is as if the egg resisted the strip’s intervention, possibly establishing itself as an alternative means of intervention.’ (Breitwieser, p.78). Indeed, the famous blue strip, which Krasinski stuck everywhere, from his daughter’s body to the facades of Parisian galleries on the Rive Gauche, never intrudes upon the perfect surface of the eggs he has appropriated as sculptural objects. The pure, white surface of the egg therefore becomes a point of resistance to the infinite extension of the blue line; its natural form contrasts starkly with the geometric shapes in, for example, Krasinski’s Intervention 1994 (Kiessler, p.17).

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.)

Further reading:
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.

Elizaveta Butakova
March 2010

Supported by the London Centre for Arts and Cultural Exchange in collaboration with the Courtauld Institute of Art.