Jaroslav Kozlowski (Srem near Poznan) is one of the most outstanding Polish contemporary artists. His work is closely associated with conceptual art, usually in the form of installations that include other disciplines and media such as drawings, light, sound, photographs and objects. Kozlowski is also the author of numerous books, prolific photographer, artist, painter and performer. His work is characterized by critical and analytical discourse about art and the mechanisms of perception, self-reflection and creating links between the grammar of artistic language and realm of meaning.
In the seventies Kozlowski became interested in the position of artists and art in modern civilization, believing that the system, whether it was socialist or market economy, or any other, necessarily affects the art production, so the alternative practice of conquering space of freedom is necessary and constant. He implemented this thesis in his own practice in 1972 with a project of autonomous networking of artists. The project had an international character and began by creating a mailing list and a manifesto that was written by Kozlowski and his friend Andrzej Kostolowski, although they denied authorship in the manifesto. The project resulted in a large international rhizomatic (non-hierarchical, with many inputs and outputs) network of personal relationships, which surpasses all political and geographical constraints. The response of artists from around the world was excellent, and when Kozlowski decided to present the received materials in his apartment to ten of his close friends, because of the report of one of the participants, the presentation was interrupted by the police and secret agents. On the legal basis of the culpability of the unregistered gathering of people in private premises that cannot be thought of as family – and the police further considered that it was an anarchist gathering that threatened the country – the appropriate charges were brought against Kozlowski. All of his materials were confiscated, then partially restored, and he alone was repeatedly questioned at the police station or in the apartments used by the secret police. Although the trial was adjourned the last day, Kozlowski was not allowed to teach at the academy for years, he was forbidden to travel abroad for five years, and his persistent and continuous art, gallery and publishing activities were closely monitored until the fall of the ruling system.
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