Cultivating the Archive was the first public presentation of recent films by Zofia Kulik. Her “for-camera activities” are made from footage collected by the artist over many years. She documents her daily work, artistic and non-artistic events, her work on the archive, discussions with former partner Przemysław Kwiek, and her own spontaneous performances. This mosaic consists of archival files (recorded since the 1990s), as well as some new recordings: for a conference in Kyoto, for a seminar in Zurych, and one documenting the artist’s return to the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts after nearly 50 years to recreate her early sculpture. The whole thing constitutes a realistic documentation through which we can follow both the familiar and the more obscure motifs of Zofia Kulik’s art.
Kyoto. How Kulik, without leaving home, explains her work to an audience thousands of miles away and seeks out a relationship with a Japanese artist
Initiating the Cultivating the Archive series, the video was made for the Kyoto conference “Art of Dealing with Hard Reality”. The artist shows her studio, the traditional darkroom, and the archive of things, which she has been collecting to use their images in her photographic compositions. In the film, Zofia Kulik presents and analyses two of her artworks: All the Missiles Are One Missile and From Siberia to Cyberia.
Cultivating the Archive, or, in other words: a performative work
Part 1. How the sum total of small actions builds the archive
featuring: Helena Kulik, Zofia’s mother
editing: Michał Januszaniec
Part 2. How everyday activities unexpectedly stimulate the archivist’s memory
iPhone camera and dialogs with: Przemysław Kwiek
The film consists of two parts. The first one is a compilation of shots from many hours of footage documenting Zofia Kulik’s meticulous archival work.
The second part is a single-take recording of a spontaneous “for-camera activity” performed by Zofia Kulik and documented by Przemysław Kwiek.
A Sum of Rags and an Archive Next Door
The kingdom of Helena Kulik, Zofia’s mother, in which the archivist grew up
The film shows two spaces. On the left screen, we see Helena Kulik in her room, surrounded by piles of patterned textiles collected over many years while she was a dressmaker. At a certain moment the film stops, and on the right screen, literally behind a wall, we see Zofia Kulik in front of a wall of shelves filled with files forming an archive of 1970s art. The film ends with a view of two parallel stills.
Two Approaches to the Archive: the never-ending series on KwieKulik
featuring: Przemysław Kwiek
Episode 1.Video-Decoration, or, in other words: do it, forget it, and “good-bye”
Episode 2. Activity with a Frame, or, in other words: how to make no cuts
Episode 3. The Folklore of Archiving, or, in other words: Kulik documents while Kwiek films
A film in three parts. In each, two artists, Kulik and Kwiek, former partners, manifest two different attitudes to their joint work and to the archive they had collected over twenty years. Their constant disagreements and exchanges of arguments highlight the more general problems of how to treat and preserve artifacts that at the beginning were directed against closed forms and objects in art.
The lost sculpture and return to sculpting, or, in other words: wet clay in the hands of the archivist
Shot in 2017, the film shows a return of Zofia Kulik, a neo-avant-garde artist and more recently an author of large black-and-white photographic compositions, to the sculpture studio for the first time in nearly 50 years to recreate an early piece (1967/1968). The piece, a male nude study, was highly rated, exhibited, and even preserved in the Warsaw Art Academy archive. A couple of years later Kulik accidentally witnessed a scene whereby her sculpture was removed from storage and disposed of. She did nothing to save the piece, though, as she was devoted to process-based and ephemeral art at that time.