The works from the Brushing Grass series document simple performative actions among clusters of grass. Brushed with a comb or smoothed out with the artists’ bare hands, the plants look like humanoid heads, adorned with thick mops of hair. And yet they resist; unruly ‘hair’ sticks out, grasses break when touched.
This action takes us to the care that should be at the very core of our relationship with other living beings, while at the same time pointing out the ‘cross-special segregation’ we perpetuate. Only some forms of living organisms get to live comfortably with us and are looked after, albeit always on our terms.
The second part of the gallery consists of photographs from the Dried Plants series.
Using the vernacular of the 20th-century American neo-avant-garde, we could say these photographs document the displacement of something ‘natural’, taking it from a ‘site’ to a ‘non-site’ and back. In the picture, there are butterburs and wild carrots that were taken to the artist’s studio to be pressed dry between newspapers and cardboard, only to be brought back to nature again.
Text by Sebastian Cichocki
Krzysztof Maniak (born 1990 in Tuchów)
Visual artist. In 2015, he graduated from the Inter-media Faculty at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków (under the supervision of Dr Bogdan Achimescu). In 2018, he completed his PhD in Fine Arts at the Faculty of Painting there. Maniak has won numerous scholarships and awards, such as Talenty Trójki 2013, the 14th edition of the Artystyczna Podróż Hestii Competition, and the Grand Prix of the V Spring Salon at the BWA Contemporary Art Gallery in Tarnów. His works were showcased at many collective exhibitions, including: As You Can See: Polish Art Today, and The Penumbral Age. Art in the Time of Planetary Change at the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw; Into the Country at the SALT Ulus gallery in Ankara, Keep Both Feet on the Ground at the BWA Contemporary Art Gallery in Katowice and in Tarnów, Polish Forest at the Biała Gallery in Lublin, and Nature in Art at the Museum of Contemporary Art MOCAK in Kraków. Maniak has also presented his works at individual exhibitions, such as Standstill at the Baltic Gallery of Contemporary Art, I Remember Snow at the BWA Contemporary Art Gallery in Warsaw, and Krzysztof Maniak’s Selected Films, Photographs, Walks, and Objects 2016-2019 at the BWA Contemporary Art Gallery in Targów and Bielsko-Biała.
Sebastian Cichocki (born 1975 in Gliwice)
Cichocki is the head curator at the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw. He has authored and co-authored several exhibitions, including the Polonia Pavilion at the 52nd and 54th Art Biennale in Venice (with Monika Sosnowska in 2007, and with Yael Bartana in 2011); Rainbow in the Dark: On the Joy and Torment of Faith at the SALT Galata in Istanbul and Malmö Konstmuseum, Making Use: Life in Postartistic Times, Zofia Rydet. Record 1978-1990, and The Penumbral Age. Art in the Time of Planetary Change at the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, and seven editions of the Bródno Sculpture Park in Warsaw, including the Venice Bródno Biennale. Cichocki is the author of various texts and exhibition catalogues, and a promoter of art in 1:1 scale. His main area of work is environmental contemplation and (post)artistic practices in the times of climate crisis.
Krzysztof Maniak’s photographs can be viewed at the 18th edition of the Kraków Photomonth Festival that started on 21st May 2020 in Kraków. Find more information at photomonth.com.