Introduction to Construction in Process

1981: Construction in Process I, Lodz, Poland
1985: Construction in Process II, Munich, Germany
1990: Construction in Process III, "Back in Lodz", Lodz, Poland
1993: Construction in Process IV, "My Home is Your Home", Lodz, Poland
1995: Construction in Process V, 'Co-existence', Mitzpe Ramon, Israel
1998: Construction in Process VI, 'The Bridge', Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
2000: Construction in Process VII, 'This Earth is a Flower', Bydgoszcz, Poland

a/. history

"... 1981? It's not so much 1981 that I want to talk about, I wanna talk to you about another world, a completely different world - a world in which art had a meaning that had nothing to do with what art has for us, here - now. A place where art really was important - where it really made a difference - where it really defined with how people dealt with all the difficulties of their lives. It had nothing to do with career, it had nothing to do with individual people's lives, it had nothing to do with galleries and other artists. It had to do with how to figure out how to live in the world, that was impossible to live in. And that's what this show was about. That's what CONSTRUCTION IN PROCESS is about. And all of that is being forgotten! And it's our challenge to try to maintain that memory. Everything changes. Everything changes. But some changes maintain a memory, and other changes don't maintain a memory. And it's our choice, whether we chose to remember - what the beginning of this event - this, this series of events, means." - American artist, Richard Nonas

In 1980, just before "Solidarity" was born, Polish artist Ryszard Wasko was invited by another artist Gerhard v.Graevenitz to take part in an exhibition of art of the 1970's called "Pier + Ocean" in London (later repeated at Kroller - Muller National Museum in Otterlo). The most outstanding artists participated in this event, representing such trends in art of those times as conceptualism, minimal art, land art, structuralism, etc.
Ryszard Wasko, who personally went there said afterwards:
"I had different feelings about this exhibition. On one hand I was impressed watching for the first time, such a full and comprehensive presentation of the most important ideas, artistic attitudes and pieces that had come into existence in the art world since the end of the 60's, through the 70's. And of course, it was great to be invited to take part in this exhibition because I felt connected to this movement. The show kind of made me think, naturally, that it was too bad there had been no chance to organize such an event in Poland so far. I felt it as a big loss. On the other hand, though, the exhibition seemed quite dead because of its dry, museum-style presentation of the objects, taken out of the life and context in which they were created. In other words, the 'process' of creating itself - which was often perceived in the 70's as a subject, a piece of art - was left out in the London show. Therefore this exhibition lost its power. In my opinion, a lack of an aspect of 'process' was a weakness of it. After that, the idea for the title CONSTRUCTION IN PROCESS, for an event in Lodz, came to my mind. I tried to emphasize the importance of two important aspects of art of the 70's, so that the sense of the word 'process' would be understood in its broad meaning and context."
(from the notes of the Archives of Contemporary Thought)

In a leaflet published by the Organizing Committee of CONSTRUCTION IN PROCESS (Creative Group Publishers, 1981), we can read:

"The CONSTRUCTION IN PROCESS event is to reveal what characteristics in art of the 70's that was comprehended as a kind of process, of what is operating:

  1. Between subject and object,
  2. Inside the object,
  3. Outside the object,
  4. Between the objects

Therefore CONSTRUCTION IN PROCESS doesn't comprise an issue of 'constuction' in itself, but concentrates on the activity and materials which reveal a moment of structuring, when the construction comes into being, and the relations that take place, as it were, outside the structure of this construction. ()
The CONSTRUCTION IN PROCESS exhibition has as its ambition to reveal a versatile artistic activity, and so it doesnot confine itself to one branch of art; it embraces various phenomena comprehensively."
(from the notes of The Archives of Contemporary Thought)

Ryszard Wasko:
"Back in Poland, when 'Solidarity' was born, I saw a chance to organize an exhibition which could show to Polish society what was done in the art world. On the other hand I adopted an idea of organizing and realizing this event in a different way from the one in London. I thought about a sort of artistic and social event, characteristic for Poland, that would be more than the exhibition itself. I considered a context of an avant-garde movement from between the wars (constructivism), with an independent movement of Polish art of the 70's."
(from notes of The Archives of Contemporary Thought)

In the text "Construction in Process - Before and After" by Ryszard Wasko, we can read:
"The organizing committee of CONSTRUCTION IN PROCESS took as its basic idea a statement of Mieczyslaw Szczuka, one of the founders of the BLOK-group and co-author of the manifesto What is Constructivism. He wrote in 1924: 'Art cannot be a vain ornament of society - the artist must cooperate in the organization of life'."
("Cahier" ICSAC, Brussels, 1984)

Ryszard Wasko:
- Without a doubt, we invoked Strzeminski, Kobro, the ideas of the "a.r." group and the experience of Polish constructivism in the program of the "Workshop" group which came into being in 1970 in Lodz. It would be very strange if we had not, since we had an international collection of "a.r." in the Museum of Art in Lodz. We grew up in this tradition, which was often considered a kind of philosophical base for us. That's why I invited Henryk Stazewski to join the Honorary Committee of the CONSTRUCTION IN PROCESS event, who was the only living representative of Polish constructivism, and a member of both BLOK and "a.r." groups.

Katarzyna Kobro Wladyslaw Strzeminski

In a leaflet published by the Organizing Committee of CONSTRUCTION IN PROCESS, we read:
A basic aim of CONSTRUCTION IN PROCESS is to present the tens of artists from all over the world who held solid places in the contemporary art scecne. For many reasons, including political ones, they couldn't be known to Polish people. Exposing Polish society to world art and culture, we must go back to the best traditions in art of the period between wars, when "a.r." group (Strzeminski, Kobro, Stazewski, Przybos, Brzekowski) organized in Lodz one of the worlds first collections of contemporary art.
The spirit and sense of the CONSTRUCTION IN PROCESS exhibition refers to the tradition of Polish constructivism."
(Creative Group Publishers, 1981; notes from The Archives of Contemporary Thought)

enlarged unistic sculpture of Katarzyna Kobro in Julianow Park in Lodz for the film "Constructivism in Poland" Henryk Stazewski's sculpture located in the grounds of the Art Academy in Lodz

The organizing committee of CONSTRUCTION IN PROCESS was created by members of Renewal Committee in the Film School in Lodz (Lech Czolnowski, Andrzej Kamrowski, Violetta Krajewska, Jacek Jozwiak, Mariella Nitoslawska, Jozef Robakowski, Tomasz Snopkiewicz, Ryszard Wasko, Piotr Zarebski), and others (Krzysztof Osada, Maciej Karwas, Maria Wasko). There were many important things to do, such as placing the event in the current social, cultural and political context in Poland.

Organizing Committee (incomplete) of CONSTRUCTION IN PROCESS Lodz, 1981 from left to right standing; Jozef Robakowski, Malgorzata Potocka, Lech Czolnowski, Violetta Krajewska, L. Muszynski, Mariella Nitoslawska, Tomasz Snopkiewicz, sitting; Piotr Zarebski, Jacek Jozwiak, Ryszard Wasko

Do not support the art of politicians or economists
Do not support power manias of any kind
Do not accept coercion
Do not wage intrigues, battles, manipulations or hidden manoeuvres
Do not keep up malcontents and destruction
Do not support any fight of one artist against another artist
Do not destroy anonymous travelling artists
Do not praise any art which is not a result of artistic work
Do not share the view that one artist must eat more than other artist
Do not think that everything what you make is art
Do not say that you were born at the wrong time
Do not let yourself be pushed out of society
Do not assume the existance of east-west or south north animals
Do not accede to division of dogs into nations or states
Do not repeat: My home is my castle
Do not rejoice in people's downfall
Do not say that you have enough troubles of your own
Do not let anyone pat you on the back
Do not await dole or charity
Do not propagate or proceed after anything or anywhere at all costs
Do not say: I discovered it first
Do not allow a low level of consciousness
Do not use the word: provincial-modern, traditional-civilized, old-new
Do not bless artistic mafias, clans or sindicates
Do not support doctrines, leaders or commandants
Do not give up

Ryszard Wasko's Manifesto "For the artists of crystal water and for the rose (and also for Ad Reinhardt)"

b/. A summing of Construction in Process

Construction in Process is a non-profit, international art celebration that has become the definitive international independent artistic event. The event is managed and supervised by international and local artists.

Construction in Process is a cross art form project, including all arts media. Improvisation, spontaneity, energy, excitement, solidarity and co-operation are fundamental to its success.

Construction in Process is held periodically in a different location as an invocative of co-existence and solidarity among artists from around the world, provides different forms of artistic activity: forums, performances, concerts, readings, discussions and exhibitions that vibrate the art culture. Encourages a climate of experimentation and dynamism and the development of collaborative projects between artists with diverse cultural, political and philosophical points of view.

Construction in Process embraces all cultural backgrounds and all political and religious convictions and opens its door to all artistic activities and work undertaken may include:

The only condition to take part in Construction in Process events is a direct participation of the artist.


© 1999 Wieslaw Michalak / webmaster