Karol Radziszewski

b. 1980, Białystok

Creator of films, photographs, installations, and interdisciplinary projects; painter and draughtsman. A painting graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, he co-founded the art and curatorship collective Latająca galeria szu szu (with Ivo Nikič and Piotr Kopik). He is publisher and editor-in-chief of DIK Fagazine. He frequently referenced popular culture in his early works, developing a recognisable comic book style: black outlines on white. He is inspired by random photographs as well as religious pictures, blending gay and erotic tropes in the resulting works. He created a series of paintings in recent years—replicas of his own childhood drawings. Apart from art, Radziszewski engages in research, dissemination, and publishing of works associated with Polish gay culture. He founded the Queer Archives Institute in 2015, an organisation with a focus on collecting and presenting art associated with the queer movement in Central & Eastern Europe. He received the Polityka Passport Award in 2009 and among other events participated in the Performa 13 Biennial in New York (2013). He lives and works in Warsaw.


from the cycle Balance Exercises, 2009, acrylic, canvas, 100 × 73 cm

The Balance Exercises series references visual instructions in old textbooks, such as first-aid manuals. Figures in illustrations produced in the first half of the 20th century have hairstyles typical for the period, their facial details rendered in a characteristic manner. Karol Radziszewski has turned the series of tutorials into a set of ambiguous representations. In replicating drawings from old books on canvas, the artist emphasises the convention and canon of male corporeality renditions. The series is a sound match for the artist’s interest in the male body, consistently developed since his university years.

America Is Not Ready for This

2012, video, 67’27’’

Karol Radziszewski’s film was based on interviews with gallery owners/ managers, curators, and artists with connections to the American art scene. The project was inspired by the visit to New York in the 1970s by Natalia LL, a major neo-avant-garde Polish artist. The film’s narrative uses accounts—often as not mutually contradictory—of persons recalling Natalia LL’s presence and work in the United States, and asking questions related to gender, feminist art, and conceptualism. The issue of East European artists’ presence in the global art world following the collapse of the Iron Curtain is the other essential theme of Radziszewski’s project.


2022, acrylic, canvas, 140 x 140 cm

 On the dance stage, Harnasie are the protagonists of Karol Szymanowski’s ballet of that name, which premiered at the Paris Opera in 1936. Here Radziszewski draws on an archival photo session of the androgynous Serge Lifar, the dancer and choreographer who performed the main role. Visually, Radziszewski is inspired by the universe of Polish highlander folklore—Zakopane woodcuts by Władysław Skoczylas, folk painting on glass—but also by the Cubist fascination with primitivism and the composition of Picasso’s Demoiselles d’Avignon. Radziszewski’s painting was shown for the first time at the exhibition Myths at BWA Warszawa. Before that, he included Szymanowski in the series Poczet, a collection of portraits of prominent non-heteronormative figures from the world of Polish history and culture. In his research on queer historiography, Radziszewski takes us behind the scenes of the building of a national identity, which, like every myth, has hidden depths.



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