Andrzej Dudek-Dürer

Andrzej Dudek-Dürer

Meditation as an art. Art as a form of refuge

Andrzej Dudek-Dürer considers himself to be the incarnation of Albrecht Dürer, born in Germany in 1471. Such a firm declaration makes many a critic and recipient helpless, rejecting the possibility of the existence of the "wheel of life and death", or accepting it as a joke or even Witkac's bluff. No, this category, although important in the latest creative activities, counts for him. Andrzej Dudek-Dürer creates a specific psychological and artistic fact which, through a meditation-like performance, connects all his works, performed in various techniques, into an energetic bond. Responsible treatment of performance as a form of intercession for deceased artists (creating symbolic forms that provide shelter, such as a wheel, lighting a candle, playing the sitar), and at the same time declaring resignation from one own and specific identity, for many years, with the paratheatrical form of live activities, have distinguished the artist from creations that only show a struggle with a specific form or space or trying to fuse art with life, which is the old avant-garde utopia, best defined and revealed by the Fluxus movement. Polish performance lacks actions that would create a specific temporal and ideological structure, and in this sense, there are no such important figures as it was in the 1970s and 1980s. How to define the artist's attitude, because it is always important. Andrzej Dudek-Dürer does not fight anyone, he does not even want to compete, at most with his realizations he is claiming his place on the map of Polish art. Depending on the needs, he is a photographer, graphic artist, video creator, who can use virtually every moment of his life to create not only something intriguing, but he can turn his travels, thoughts and ideas into art, which is a form of meditation with a symbolic problem contained in it. Like a Buddhist monk creating mandalas out of sand, Andrzej Dudek-Dürer is able to use his performance to create important psychological interpersonal bonds, always connected with his struggle with matter, which is a feature of his actions. In this sense, he is a traditionalist, although he follows his generation brought up on conceptualism, i.e. he is a fosterling of late artistic modernism, but he has never been attached to the neo-avant-garde rhetoric of minimal-art purism and conceptualism or radicalism of body art, which is worth considering in the best way. he had years ago in the activities of the Viennese Actionists. His photographic, graphic and video works are reconciliation with himself, with his anxieties or even obsessions that must be neutralized. The performance, as I remember it from 1994, when I saw it for the first time at Willa Herbst belonging to the Art Museum in Łódź in October 1994, was a form of meditation. In the graphics, he shows, for example, Apocalypse without death, acting on a well-known work by Dürer, which concerns a vision contemporary to a German artist from the end of the 15th century, as well as the final fight between "good and evil". The artist from Wrocław does not want to invalidate the dimension of the Apocalypse, but to deprive it of its tragic dimension. Does an artist have that power? He wants to mute the works of the German artist from the turn of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, giving them a more humanistic mark, without the fear and trembling, so strongly emphasized in the famous series Apocalypse. A question can be asked whether the apocalypse is still important, or only reduced to the dimension of a film like Armageddon (1998), and is its dimension only annihilation? I talked about this issue with the artist in an interview entitled Awareness of the transformation process. Here is an interesting fragment: K. Jurecki: In your interpretation, the apocalypse appeared even on toilet paper or closed in a glass jar! Andrzej Dudek-Dürer: The 1970s and 1980s in the People's Republic of Poland were a difficult period for both artists and the entire Polish society, due to the difficulties in acquiring various material goods. For artists, these problems were related to the inability to purchase graphic paints (for various graphic techniques), art papers, brushes, photo papers (with special parameters), in some respects it was a better period than the 1960s. Special shops for artists were created at that time where something was "thrown" from time to time. In this context, there were works made, for example, on toilet paper (which could not be easily bought at that time, Apocalypse on toilet paper, object, 1978), others on daily newspapers, wallpapers, breakfast paper, tissue paper, boards or the so-called contour maps for schoolchildren… and many, many other materials. I believe that if a creator is creative, he is able to adapt various aspects of the so-called everyday reality and transform it into a formula of creativity. During this time, I developed recipes for several types of graphic paints, incl. for serigraphy. Interest in the old chromate techniques resulted in part from the need to be independent of the photographic market. The apocalypse on toilet paper is a manifestation of danger, a manifestation of the ephemeral and impermanence of all the so-called materiality, it is a kind of paradox of existence, revealing both the circle of birth and death; it is a reflection on the values and quality of life. The apocalypse in the jar has similar references. This work with the jar was made during martial law. A transparent jar and a hidden threat that can be released is a kind of reflection on decisions. So Pandora's Box? Yes, accidental action can have incalculable consequences. Toilet paper is a symbol of something very mundane, something that quickly degenerates and degrades. It should be added that this paper did not exist then, and on the other hand, I indicated that an artist can and should work on anything. You are not familiar with my works on wallpapers, on which I made serigraphy. You just need to be aware of the workings of whatever matter you work with, and understand the possibilities of rapid decomposition. This can be seen in the context of the current civilization, which is flooding us with various gadgets and trinkets. The apocalypse understood more broadly and more universally appeared in my photography in the early 1970s - these were photos of rubbish dumps, old neglected cemeteries (the series of Crosses that were not available to the public at that time by censorship). Documentations from the performance Auto-Crucifixion (1973) were rejected from the exhibition on the grounds that “they are decadent and defeatist” and “that such works may hurt religious feelings”. The current cultural situation resembles that of the late nineteenth century, when Oscar Wilde published Portrait of Dorian Gray (1890), as an expression of the concept of "art for art", liberated from the then defined rules of academic art. For Wilde following in the footsteps of the romantics, all that mattered was hedonistic beauty and the fulfillment of his hedonistic desires. Let us use the short, but very characteristic quote with which Lord Henry Wotton responds: "And art? She asked. Is Love's disease? Religion Disappointment? A refined surrogate for faith "It can be said that this is a confession typical of postmodern modernism, in which time Wolfgang Welsch proposed not a cultural juxtaposition of two eras, but a mutual interpenetration, in which the current postmodernism, of course not in all artistic fields and manifestations, can from the twentieth century modernism, but not from the neo-avnagardy. A completely different attitude is represented by Andrzej Dudek-Dürer, although of course he works in postmodern times, to some extent under the pressure of the latest digital technology. But many works from the 21st century refer to the archetype of Christ, the Buddha, show that art works miracles (levitation) and convey a gesture of energetic and spiritual greeting to everyone. Thus, it makes us aware of the fight against the stigma of death, which was the task of art in virtually all religious systems and practices from the very beginning of the existence of homo sapiens. His art is also distinguished by faith, which is deprived of all postmodern images, stripped of the "aura", that the condition created by a religious creator, living according to certain ethical rules, has a potential power to influence the world. This category, inherent in many of Andrzej Dudek-Dürer's works, will make the impact of his paintings, I believe, grow with time. Of course, there is also an aspect of postmodern irony, though rarely, that weakens sacred images. The spiritual energy of art also tries to destroy the omnipresent ideologization and politicization of art for the sake of the sacred character of the human person and the whole world, understood as an "energy form". But it is a form of individual religious syncretism, without any specific reference to the formula of Buddhism or Hinduism. Without expansion and excessive emphasis on the ideological layer, to shelter: oneself, people, including famous deceased artists. It can be said that this is a kind of creativity as a refuge, or mandala. Shelters from destruction, annihilation, so that there would be final liberation from the circle of birth and death.

Krzysztof Jurecki


Posted on

17 April 2012