May 12—31, 2022 at Entropia Gallery, Wroclaw, Poland
Exhibition opening / performance: May 12, 2022 at 6 p.m.
Meeting with the artist: May 13, 2022 at 5 p.m.
Special events at the Night of Museums: May 14, 2022 4–10 p.m.
Welcome to the exhibition, activities and meeting with the artist. Tomasz Szrama / born 1970 /, a graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Wrocław / 1998 /, practices mainly performance art. He has been living in Helsinki for over 20 years and travels a lot in connection with his artistic activities. Characteristic features of his actions are interaction with the audience and improvisation. Such a strategy embeds them into the tradition of understanding performance art as a process in which the essence is the very moment of creation and the presence at the place of the event.
“The starting point is the attached photo from a performance in a public place in the center of the poor and badly reputed suburb of Helsinki called Kontula. I know this place well because I lived there in the first years of my emigration. I once read that the UN report on life satisfaction shows that the Finns are the happiest of all nations. It is hard to believe when watching the passers-by of the shopping center in Kontula. In 2018, as part of the Kontula Electronic festival, I made a performance there entitled Postcard from the Happiest Country in the World. The action was quite complicated. Among other things, together with the audience, we created a cross between birch and yucca palm, from which bananas and cucumbers were hanging, and finally we sent a message closed in a bottle, throwing it into the reverse vending machine. Looking through the photographic documentation, I noticed that it doesn't reflect the nature of the presentation, but one of the photos could have the same title.
I mainly deal with action art. The condition of a performance is my presence in the process of creation. That's why I travel quite a lot. Usually, after returning from the festival, I choose one photo from the performance I just made and post it on social media along with public thanks to the organizers. Since it is impossible to capture the action stretched over a certain time in one picture, I try to choose a technically correct photo, which is, above all, intriguing, provoking to ask questions and which captures the context of a given place. In this sense, these posts play a role similar to postcards. We won't learn much from what it depicts. I would like to show a selection of such postcards in Entropia.
During my actions, I don't have time to think about its documentation. In Entropia I would like to intentionally make a live performance where this relation would not only be revealed but also exposed."
On the "Night of Museums", the artist will be present in the gallery ready for action as always, and the viewers will have the opportunity to become co-creators of the events. Of course, it is impossible to predict the course of improvised actions, accidents or coincidences. Also this time the artist will not have a ready script, but rather loose ideas that will take their final shape during the action in the gallery space and in the context of the "Night of Museums". Tomasz believes that risk is fundamental to maintaining the authenticity of performance art. The gallery also took the risk of inviting an artist who cannot promise anything but the always present possibility of failure.