Alex Cecchetti: Tamam Shud: An Artist’s Novel Exhibition

Alex Cecchetti: Tamam Shud: An Artist’s Novel Exhibition

Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art

Alex Cecchetti, Detective Nicasio d’après Giorgione, 2017. China ink on paper and nipple-screw key.

August 31, 2017
Alex Cecchetti
Tamam Shud: An Artist’s Novel Exhibition
September 1–October 1, 2017
Opening: September 1, 7pm
Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art
2 Jazdów Street
00-467 Warsaw
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 12–7pm,
Thursday 12–9pm

T +48 22 628 12 71
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Curated by The Book Lovers (Joanna Zielińska, David Maroto)

“I am dead. My body was found in 2014, somewhere between Los Angeles and Warsaw, dismembered. The labels of my clothes, my fingerprints and even the size number on the shoes have been carefully unstitched, deleted, washed, bleached, and delivered to oblivion. Nothing can be used for identification. The only clue, in a secret pocket sewn inside my trousers, detectives have recovered a fragile piece of paper torn from the pages of a book, written there, the words Tamam Shud, ‘this is the end.’”

In Tamam Shud, a murder mystery artist’s novel by Alex Cecchetti, the narrator realises he is dead and decides to investigate the causes of his own death. In order to create the narrative, Cecchetti devised a two-year-long art project in which the present exhibition culminates a creative process leading to the upcoming artist’s novel (to be published early 2018). The exhibition releases clues that unveil aspects of the fiction-like pieces of a puzzle.

The exhibition’s performative nature is three-fold. Firstly, a series of rooms contain pieces (dance bars, doors and cabinets) that, like musical scores, are activated by the spectators’ participation. For instance, the Dance Room features a number of staircase handrails modified in such a way that, when visitors place their hands on them and follow their curves and twists from one end to the other, they perform a choreographed ballet dance sequence.

Other performative events, such as a synaesthesia concert, a dance performance, and meals served in the Dinner Room (based on a menu specially created by the artist, in which there are no dishes listed, but poems) will take place at different times during the exhibition.

The third performative aspect focuses on a couple of detectives who carry out their investigations, observing the events unfolding during the show, and communicating these to the artist, who will use them as fodder for the writing of his novel. It is said that the detectives are in possession of a special key that can open and disclose secret parts of the exhibition.

“To die without memories, this is the horror. You know, life is short, but death never ends. And now I have no one to love and no one to hate for eternity. This is why I have decided to investigate my own death.”


Alex Cecchetti was an artist, a poet and a choreographer. Difficult to classify, his work can be considered as the art of the un-representable. The artist died for the first time in 2014 for unknown reasons, though he continues to produce new work, present new performances and publish new poems.

The Book Lovers (since 2011) is the name of the collaboration between curator Joanna Zielińska and artist David Maroto, and is focused on research into the artist’s novel employed as a medium in the visual arts.

To learn more about the Tamam Shud project, click here.


The institution is funded by The Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of Poland. Project was made possible thanks to the generous support of: Institut Français; Institut Français Pologne; Flanders State of the Art; Italian Institute Warsaw; Mondriaan Fonds. Partner: La Ferme du Buisson.

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Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art
August 31, 2017

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