Slubice. Between Friday, October 20 and Sunday, October 22, the festival of new art and image lAbiRynT in Slubice and Frankfurt an der Oder will take place again this year. The (literally) cross-border, recurring series of events, in which Thomas Kellner is involved as an artist, revolves this time thematically around the notion of emptiness on the one hand, and is dedicated to the curator, theorist and artist Jerzy Olek, too. People will find a dense, exciting program, which promises interesting encounters and delightful experiences. As usual, the Galeria Okno, led by the great curators Anna Panek-Kusz and Michael Kurzwelly, hosts a multimedia variety of ideas and creators. Thomas Kellner's contribution with a photograph within the exposition in memory of Jerzy Olek adds the distinctive aesthetic touch of the photographer to the concept.
Adhering to a longstanding practice, Jerzy Olek consistently organized a collective display, extending personal invitations to different, chosen guests. We envision that he continues to organize and take part at this display at present. However, there's a twist: instead of featuring his customary introductory text, the presentation showcases brief remarks from the very minds behind the pieces. This approach pays homage to Jerzy's customary assortment of miniatures ("ef") in Stary Gieraltów, where each artwork is accompanied by a concise statement.
In this show, honoring Jerzy Olek: Michal Jakubowicz (1977), Gottfried Jäger (1937), Wolf Kahlen (1940), Thomas Kellner (1966), Remigiusz Koniecko (1977), Michael Kurzwelly (1963), Boguslaw Michnik (1945), Jürgen O. Olbrich (1955), Anna Panek-Kusz (1975), Marek Pozniak (1960), Józef Robakowski (1939), Carola Ruf (1955), Tadeusz Sawa-Boryslawski (1952), Rudolf Sikora (1946), Zdenek Stuchlik (1950), Grzegorz Sztabinski (1946–2020), Gisela Weimann (1943), Stefan Wojnecki (1929-2023), Naoya Yoshikawa (1962); miejsce | Ort | place: Dolina Uradu, ul. Szosowa 34, Urad
Good to know: Hours, locations and events for the lAbiRynT Festival
The Festival will begins on Friday, October 20 at 3:15 pm at the Slubicki Miejski Osrodek Kultury in Slubice. The opening will include a lecture by Marta Smolinska on Jerzy Olek, followed by displays including pieces by Jerzy Olek, Janusz Piotr Musial, Cezary Hladki, Daisuke Iwamoto and Wolfram DER Spyra. A concert with Manuel Fischer-Dieskau, Fidan Aghayeva-Edler and Margarete Huber is scheduled for 7:00 pm. Lectures by Michal Jakubowicz and Tadeusz Sawa-Boryslawski and a documentary film by Peter Jancárek will follow from 7:30 pm. On Saturday, October 21, there will be various shows and performances in Frankfurt (Oder) and Urad. Highlights include performances by Wolfram Spyra and Roksana Vikaluk, as well as pieces by Patrick Huber and others. Sunday will also feature more presentations of objects, performances and lectures in various venues, including the Biblioteka Miejska in Slubice and Brückenplatz over the German side. Figures such as Ilkka Sariola, Gisela Weimann, and Anna Lindkvist will be participating.
Jerzy Olek photographer and curator of Labirynt in the city of Slubice: Pioneering Visionary in Multimedia
Jerzy Olek, a distinguished visual artist, and theorist, was born on March 28, 1943, in Sanok, Poland. He left an indelible mark through his innovative approach and his multimedia practices. Olek's artistic pursuits were centered around capturing the subjective imagery of space through mediums such as drawing, mirroring, graphics, and computer printing. He crafted intricate visual structures and installations that were both mesmerizing and thought-provoking.
Jerzy Olek was born in the picturesque town of Sanok in 1943 and spent his formative years amidst the breathtaking landscapes of the Bieszczady Mountains. In 1965, he graduated with a degree in civil engineering from the Wroclaw University of Technology, embarking on a journey that would shape the Polish creative scene. His debut solo exhibition in 1965 marked the beginning of a prolific career.
Throughout his life, Olek was an active member of various creative groups and publications, channeling his passion for the craft of photography. Notably, in 1977, he founded the influential "Foto-Medium-Art" movement and gallery in Wroclaw, solidifying his status as a trailblazer in the realm of aesthetic expression.
Olek's dedication to education was apparent as he taught at esteemed institutions like the UAP in Poznan and the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznan, Gdansk, Wroclaw University of Technology, and Wroclaw University. He specialized in the psychophysiology of vision and new media, shaping the next generation of artists and thinkers.
Exhibitions and Books by Jerzy Olek
Jerzy Olek curated and contributed to numerous exhibitions that challenged conventional creative boundaries, showcasing his relentless pursuit of pushing the imaginative framework. Some of the notable exhibitions he orchestrated include "Border states of photography" (Katowice 1977), "Skjulte Dimensioner" (Odense, Copenhagen 1993), "Q-bis-m II" (Nantes 2004), and "Towards the Essence" (Tokyo, Kyoto 2010).
In addition to his impactful exhibitions, Jerzy Olek penned several significant books that delved into the depths of his cultural philosophy. Notable works include "My Road to Dimensionlessness" (Wroclaw 2001), "Enabling the Impossible" (Wroclaw 2007), "7 from/behind/the Illusion" (Poznan 2013), and "Seeing the Ideal, or Limitless Lines" (Wroclaw 2015). These publications offer profound insights into Olek's creative journey and vision.
Jerzy Olek: Pioneering the Boundless Frontiers of practice and Influence
Jerzy Olek's influence in the world of photography and multimedia creation extends far beyond his own creations. As a revered professor, curator, and author, he played an integral role in shaping the contemporary discourse in Poland and beyond. Olek's ability to seamlessly transcend traditional aesthetic boundaries is a testament to his ingenuity and unwavering dedication to the exploration of imagination. His legacy continues to inspire artists and enthusiasts, leaving an indelible mark on the world of visual artistic practice.
Curators of the Festival
Anna Panek-Kusz, born in 1975, holds a master's degree in photography and is an alumna of the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznan with a focus on multimedia communication. Her dedication to culture was acknowledged in 2005 with a distinction in the field, followed by the prestigious "Lubuski Animator of Culture" title and a medal from the Marshal of Lubuskie Voivodeship in 2006. Recognizing her impactful role in shaping the culture of the Polish-German borderland, the Land of Brandenburg honored her with an order for special achievements in 2014.
Professionally, Anna seamlessly blends her creative pursuits with gallery management and the orchestration of diverse artistic events, often with an educational aspect. Her artwork has been exhibited both within Poland and internationally, showcasing projects like "Forms," "Icons," "Who are you, what are you dreaming of," "Genesis," "From non-existence to existence," and "Synthesis of symmetry."
Since 2002, she has held the position of curator at the OKNO Gallery within the Slubice Municipal Cultural Center. In this role, she has been instrumental in developing and curating the gallery's unique exhibition program focused on new media, as well as a cross-border educational program. Additionally, Anna is the visionary and coordinator behind numerous international initiatives, workshops, and projects catering to various audiences, demonstrating her commitment to fostering artistic dialogue and growth. Notably, she has been a co-creator and curator of the International Festival "lAbiRynT" since 2010, contributing significantly to its success and recognition on the global stage.
Michael Kurzwelly, (Darmstadt, 1963), studyied painting at the Alanus Hochschule in Alfter. In 1990, he made a pivotal move to Poznan, Poland, where he founded the Miedzynarodowe Centrum Sztuki. A significant shift occurred in 1998 when he relocated to Frankfurt (Oder), Germany. Here, he took on a teaching role at the European University Viadrina, a position he held until 2018, alongside various other roles.
Kurzwelly gained widespread recognition through the Slubfurt project, which reimagined the German-Polish border cities of Frankfurt (Oder) and Slubice as a unified city, living out the experiment of shared existence. He coined his approach a "reality construction," involving the reinterpretation of and intervention in spaces, extending into a conceptual form that encompasses social sculpture and diverse forms of creative work by inhabitants in societal processes. Notably, the Slubfurt project led to the declaration of Slubfurt as the capital of Nowa Amerika in 2010, reinterpreting the entire German-Polish border region as a collective space for development, supported by a civic network co-founded by Kurzwelly.
Kurzwelly's realm of reality constructions extends to the weisse zone project, where he crafted a functional hiking guide for the 145 km² weisse zone area north of Berlin—deliberately removed from conventional maps. Establishing the institut für weisse zone Forschung (iwf) in 2006, and presenting projects like Loch Netz in 2010 for the Neue Gesellschaft Bildende Kunst (NGBK), Kurzwelly has demonstrated a pioneering and innovative approach that challenges conventional boundaries and engages with the very essence of space and human interaction.