Andrzej Jórczak. Looking at Alpha UrsaeAndrzej Jórczak. Looking at Alpha Ursae 14.06 – 13.09.2014 Curator: Jagna Lewandowska
Space Design: Paulina Tyro-Niezgoda Exhibition is open after the thelephone arrangements: Marika Kuźmicz +48 502 055 130, Jagna Lewandowska +48 660 620 565 Andrzej Jórczak (born in 1944 in Warsaw, died in 1981 near Paris), artist, photographer, curator, astronomer by education. Studied at the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics of the University of Warsaw, where he received his MA in astronomy. In 1967, he started work as a teacher of physics at the High School no. 34 in Warsaw, and is remembered by his then students until the present day as an extremely charismatic teacher. That was also where he met Krzysztof Wojciechowski, who was a teacher at the same school and shared with him a passion for photography. Between 1969 and 1972, Jórczak was a member of the Warsaw Photographic Society. Since 1973, he was affiliated with the creative group Remont, active in the Remont Gallery at the Club of the Warsaw University of Technology. At the beginning of his creative path, he was heavily influenced by the views on art of Zbigniew Dłubak, who as a mentor and friend introduced him (alongside Henryk Gajewski and Krzysztof Wojciechowski) to the Association of Polish Art Photographers in 1975. At the same time, Jórczak developed a fascination for Jan Świdziński theory of contextual art, which was manifest in his photographic and philosophical investigations at the time. Opposing the flattening of photography, its aesthetisation, he undertook a range of experiments to explore the semantic properties of the medium. He also investigated the problems of contemporary physics and astronomy, combining in his activities the knowledge from the studies and his expertise in photography. Both paths proved useful in the epistemological speculations of the insightful artist.
In 1977, Jórczak became artistic director of Mała Galeria in Zamkowy Square in Warsaw, founded upon Dłubak’s initiative. The programme of Mała Galeria under Jórczak’s leadership stood out with its broadly understood and abundantly quoted “openness” and experimental approach. It was heavily influenced by his private interests revolving around conceptual and minimal art. The ”working” and „debating” character of the gallery’s activity was outlined by Jórczak in his paper “Program i formy działalności Małej Galerii PSP-ZPAF” (Programme and Forms of Activity of Mała Galeria PSP-ZPAF, 1979). In its initial period, the gallery exhibited works by Janusz Bąkowski, Jadwiga Przybylak, Zbigniew Dłubak, Jerzy Olek, Zdzisław Jurkiewicz, Józef Robakowski, Andrzej Lachowicz, Natalia LL, Jolanta Marcolla, Andrzej Różycki and Paweł Kwiek, among other artists. Frequent monographic shows were almost always accompanied by bilingual catalogues, which functioned independently from the exhibitions. The gallery also hosted numerous discussions, film screenings and happenings. Constantly on the lookout for new themes and formal solutions both in his own practice and in his theoretical and curatorial activity, in the course of time Andrzej Jórczak aptly diagnosed the revaluation and closing of avant-garde formats and the exhaustion of the idea of (post)conceptualism. His appeal to transgress the subsequent medial and environmental limitations was laid out in his groundbreaking text “Dlaczego nie” (“Why Not?”, 1981), published in the catalogue of Jan Dobkowski’s exhibition at Mała Galeria.
In 1981, due to health-related and material circumstances, Jórczak and his family decided on temporary emigration to France. Anticipating his return, Jórczak left guidelines for the gallery operations for several months ahead. Yet, after that time passed, he decided to stay abroad. Andrzej Jórczak died a tragic death in Luzarches near Paris in 1981. His friends remembered him as a focussed and serious person, who was peculiar in not fitting in with the surrounding circumstances, blessed with a “metaphysical sense” (Tomasz Tuszko), a lonesome “miraculous meteor” (Jerzy Busza).
The private archive rediscovered after many years helps to restore the artist’s creative route as well as cultural life centered around the gallery he ran. The photographs taken by Jórczak are still amazingly valid in spite of the passing time. Many of them; including the monumental photograph -installations and astronomical experiments will be presented at “Looking at Alpha Ursae” exhibition in Arton Foundation.
Soho Factory, Mińska 25 (Pawilon 16)