1646’s Background Evening is an evening event curated and composed by the exhibiting artist, enabling us viewers to interact, to get a closer look and a better understanding of the artist’s practice, from an often unexpected corner. This time, by means of a party!
Being a self-taught artist, Janek’s artistic practice ultimately originates from the post-war underground rave scene in Poland in the 90’s, starting out as a VJ (video jockey, mixing videos for the rave parties).
“Growing up in Poland in the 80s brought something that defined my anarchist-leaning political position – a deep distrust toward the state and its institutions. Communism in Poland had its ups and downs but the 1980’s was the time of its utter failure on all levels – morally, politically and economically. This resulted in the emergence of different kinds of informal economies. The 90s brought optimism and a kind of liberal enthusiasm – we had to work hard but everything was possible. I got involved in the underground rave subculture at that time. First just going to parties, then doing videos and helping to organise them. That was a defining, powerful political experience. We could build a space where people felt connected and happy without caring about the hierarchies of mainstream society.
DIY has countercultural roots for me. It allows us to create ‘parallel’ spaces, spaces which work according to different rules than the society around us. Some of my activities started from that way of thinking.”
One of those activities being ‘Goldex Poldex’: an art space in Krakow, active between 2008 and 2021, run by Janek and friends. The space focused on experimenting with funding strategies; looking for other profitable ways of producing art shows, like by playing online poker or smuggling cigarettes from Krakow to Berlin.
For his Background Evening, Janek invited Tomasz Kowalski, one of the friends whom he ran Goldex Poldex with. Tomasz is a visual artist and musician, whose paintings, sculptures and sound works combine the themes of nostalgia and anxiety and draw on elements of pop culture, questioning the perception of basic categories such as selfhood, space and time in the present conditions marked by the accelerated change.
On Saturday May 14th, Janek and Tomasz brought the early 2000’s Goldex Poldex party spirit to 1646 with a DJ set and an immersive video installation.