Barbara Gryka (born in 1992 in Puławy, Poland) has graduated from the Faculty of New Media Art of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. In her practice she uses performative activities, video and photography. She is interested in social reality. Since 2020, she has cooperated with Filip Kijowski as the Tajskie Kwiatuszki duo. She lives in Lublin, Końskowola and Warsaw.
My works are intended to encourage people to act together, unite and be with each other. I work with the local context, looking for characteristic elements in a given place. I am interested in issues of identity and memory.
However, I do not look for them in politics and public affairs – stories, monuments, great narratives – but in smaller things, closer at hand. For me, identity consists of small things: what I see through the window, what I eat and who my neighbour is.
This project refers to the work and life of Józef Gielniak, a graphic artist who lived in 1932–1972. He was an artist working in forced isolation, because he chronically suffered from tuberculosis. He spent his life in a sanatorium in Bukowiec. In one of his extensive series entitled Sanatorium, he created works depicting the building in which he lived. As time progressed, the depictions of this place became ever more unreal. The nature surrounding the sanatorium seemed to be taking control of it, growing around it in an unnatural way and demonstrating its power. The artist rarely received guests, who were afraid of his illness, but he remained artistically active and kept creating new works.
Today I am also accompanied by fear. However, the situation in which we have ended up concerns all people, not just individuals. I am afraid of meeting people as much as they may be afraid of meeting me. Fear keeps me from leaving my house; when I am forced to do so, I try to stand as far as possible from others, I avoid physical contact and even conversations. The project will be a performative activity recorded with video and photography.
The gestures that I will make during the performance will constitute a visual language that I have developed, because the covering of my head, face and body will prevent verbal communication. I wanted to create a vision of a modern community that uses materials available in nature to protect itself against the world and the impact of civilisation.