We are delighted to announce that ZAK | BRANICKA has expanded its partnership with Polish artist Zofia Kulik by co-founding the Kulik-KwieKulik Foundation. The main goal of the project is to promote Zofia Kulik’s practice, both during the period of cooperation with her former partner Przemyslaw Kwiek in the artistic duo known as KwieKulik and also in her subsequent solo career as an individual artist.
The inaugural presentation, titled Quotes from the Archive, will focus on Zofia Kulik’s avant-garde concept of archive building – a revolutionary approach that embraces archiving as an essential artistic practice. The Light of a Dead Star (1979), the focal piece of the exhibition, is a decorative cloth panel stuck with plenty of black-and-white photographs. It refers to the work of KwieKulik from 1969 up to the official presentation of KwieKulik in the West in 1979 at De Appel Centre of Contemporary Art in Amsterdam.
In the 1970s and 1980s KwieKulik carried out a broad range of artistic activities, analysing and reflecting their private and public existence as a couple as well as their creative work with the Socialist reality. In their apartment they established the Studio of Activities, Documentation and Propagation and documented their practice in an archive of photos and videos.
Towards the end of the 1980s, the partners’ path parted in life and art alike. In her individual work, Kulik adopted a somewhat opposite direction through the practice of “closed forms”. She received most attention for her monumental black-and-white photo collages, resulting from the process of multiple exposure of manifold negatives from the artist’s own archive of images. Kulik’s compositions entered many institutional collections in Poland and internationally (Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź, Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, Tate Modern in London, Museum of Modern Art in New York, Moderna Museet in Stockholm).
Yet, having reached the peak of recognisability around 2008, the artist chose to abandon her individual work almost entirely and devote herself to the study and organisation of the historical oeuvre of KwieKulik. Numerous important publications and exhibitions followed. Ultimately, the KwieKulik Archive will enter the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw in the future, while the Archive of Zofia Kulik, which has been stored for many years at Kulik’s house in Łomianki, will continue to be managed by the Kulik-KwieKulik Foundation.
All the daily activities, imperceptible for users, but indispensable for the archive to survive, such as filing, arranging, organising, preserving, dusting, have now become Zofia Kulik’s manifesto. In the cycle of films Cultivating the Archive she demonstrates the various aspects of the way the artistic duo functions within the “fusion” of the household and the custody of the archive throughout the decades.