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Dziaczkowski Archive

The Foundation for Visual Arts is in the process of securing, cataloguing, digitising, and publishing the work of artist Jan Dziaczkowski, who died in 2011, at the age of 28.

There might, at first, appear to exist an inherent conflict and indeed contradiction underlying the notion of the creation of a sealed archive for an oeuvre that, in the case of Dziaczkowski’s, was in the process of expanding and evolving with fecund vigour. The Dziaczkowski Archive therefore attempts to harness the kinetic impulse behind Dziaczkowski’s active prolificacy, while also paying heed to the archivist’s preservative responsibilities.

Jan Dziaczkowski (1983-2011) was born in Warsaw. In 2007 he graduated from the Department of Painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, having studied there under Professor Krzysztof Wachowiak.

A painter, photographer, illustrator and collagist, Dziaczkowski would, in a period of just a few years, begin to establish himself as one of the most talented and compelling of young artists at work in Poland. Exhibited both within Poland and abroad, he participated in group shows in England, Germany, Spain, and the United States, including You Can’t Get There From Here, at the Camera Club of New York in 2010.

Dziaczkowski collaborated with and was supported by the Foundation for Visual Arts. Keine Grenze, his 2008 solo exhibit at the ZPAF i S-ka Gallery, showcased collages in which the artist explored a parallel postwar architectural legacy for Western European cities. Working with period postcards, Dziaczkowski spliced, transposed, and juxtaposed elements of Eastern Bloc architecture with Western European landmarks. The resulting cityscapes (in which, for example, Chartres Cathedral finds itself hemmed in by stolid rows of Soviet apartment blocks) are conjectural; and yet they also, upon first glance, feel eerily familiar.

Jan Dziaczkowski died in September 2011, while hiking in the Tatra Mountains. Since his death, the Foundation for Visual Arts has begun cataloguing and archiving the artist’s paintings, photographs, drawings, and collages, with a view toward preserving his tragically abbreviated legacy and disseminating his work over time.

In May 2012, the Foundation printed a limited-edition poster featuring a collage Dziaczkowski created, in 2009, for the cover of Architektura-murator magazine. The poster, which first appeared at the Art Yard Sale fair in Warsaw, was offset-printed in a limited edition of 300 numbered copies. (A limited number of posters from this edition remain in our online shop.) All proceeds from the poster have been and will continue to be dedicated to the Dziaczkowski Archive.

In September and October 2012, the Foundation, in collaboration with Warsaw’s Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, organised an exhibit entitled Why Don’t All of Us Like Adventures? The Story of Jan Dziaczkowski, which brought together the work of artists connected to and bilaterally influenced by Dziaczkowski. The exhibit served as a tribute to the artist’s memory; but also to the enduring spark of present-tense creativity, even and especially in the face of the tragic and unexpected.

In October and November 2015, the Foundaton, in collaboration with Zachęta — National Gallery of Art, organised an exhibit entitled Jan Dziaczkowski. True and Untrue. It was the first monographic presentation of the work of Jan Dziaczkowski, demonstrating the full extent of its artistic scope. Dziaczkowski is known to a wider public first and foremost as the author of collages presented at numerous exhibitions in Poland and overseas. Less well known are the remaining areas of his work that encompass painting, drawings and photography, part of which have never yet been exhibited.