Christian Jankowski

Christian Jankowski

Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art

Christian Jankowski, Heavy-weight History, 2013. Print on barite paper. Photo: Szymon Rogiński.

June 22, 2013

Christian Jankowski
Heavy-weight History
7 June–25 August 2013

Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle
ul. Jazdów 2
00-467 Warsaw

T +48 22 628 12 71/3

Curator: Ewa Gorządek

Christian Jankowski’s exhibition Heavy-weight History, on view at the Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle until 25 August 2013, offers for the first time in Poland a comprehensive presentation of works from the German artist (b. 1968). The artist, working across video, installation, photography, and the mass media formats of television and cinema, joins in his practice a surprising turn of events with the elements of dry irony as well as the aesthetics of mass media (especially popular TV shows and movies). The exhibition shown at the CCA in Warsaw consists of a retrospective presentation of the most significant works by Jankowski from 1992 to 2012, including his latest work, Heavy-weight History, which was realised in Warsaw specifically for this occasion.

The exhibition offers an insight into Christian Jankowski’s artistic practice, evading chronology and divisions into different media. His practice contains the subversive spirit of actions rooted in the 1960s, and synthesizes them into film work, installations, photographs, and objects. The artist undermines clichés and—in a refreshing manner, seasoned with irony—uses formats that are ubiquitous in mass culture to provoke reflection on the role of the artist as well as art in contemporary society. Jankowski often collaborates on projects with those whom are outside of the art system (e.g. children, magicians, psychotherapists, fortune-tellers, politicians, casting agencies, and professionals from different fields), exploring the boundaries and relations between fiction and reality, art and commercial products, art and its recipients, and finally, art and popular culture.

For the occasion of the Warsaw exhibition, Christian Jankowski has prepared a new project called Heavy-weight History, which combines sports, art, and history in an original way. Polish weightlifters accepted a challenge against History, and thanks to the strength of their muscles they managed to lift chosen Warsaw monuments above the ground for a moment (the monument of Ludwik Waryński, the Warsaw Mermaid in the Old Town Market Place, as well as one of the soldiers of the “Four Sleeping Men”), the athletes also attempted to lift a few others (monument of Willy Brandt, Ronald Reagan, Little Insurgent, and so forth). 

The substantial aim of Christian Jankowski’s project Heavy-weight History is to create an artistic situation in which current art, today’s art, will initiate a dialogue with the not-so-ancient history, commemorated with monuments, in search of a contemporary perspective for it. In the site-specific project, the artist undertakes the issue of the functioning of the public space, indicatively, symbolic places marked by the monuments and sculptures rested on them—most often referring to history, commemorating important events and outstanding figures. “Lifting” the Warsaw monuments has an essential meaning in a figurative and literal sense—underlining the great value of history—and just the act of lifting the monument by means of human strength can be used as a reminder that the crucial moments in history happened because of people, and if we want to have an impact on our collective reality, we should be proactive, make an effort and take matters into “our own hands.”

Information: CCA Press Office, T/F +48 22 625 05 22, biuroprasowe [​at​]


Christian Jankowski at Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle
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June 22, 2013

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