Index: Jan Swidzinski
Interdisciplinary artist, creator of contextual art, performer, contemporary art critic and philosopher, the main representative of the post-conceptual movement. Born on May 25, 1925, in Bydgoszcz. Lives and works in Warsaw.
During the Second World War Jan Świdziński studied architecture through underground courses organized by the Warsaw University of Technology, and he attended ballet classes at the Leon Wójcicki School. He also participated in the Home Army resistance movement. In 1947 he began his studies at the Higher School of Arts and Design (today the Academy of Fine Arts) in Warsaw, studying painting in the studio of Jan Cybis and graphics under the supervision of Tadeusz Kulisiewicz. He graduated with a degree in painting in 1952. He is the organizer and co-organizer of a number of meetings, festivals, conferences and exhibitions devoted to contextual art and performance art both in Poland and abroad.
Świdziński has published several articles and books about art, including Art as Contextual Art (Lund, Sweden: 1976), Art, Society and Self-consciousness (Calgary, Canada: 1979), Freedom and Limitation - The Anatomy of Post-modernism (Calgary, Canada; 1987), Quotations on Contextual Art (Eindhoven, Holland: 1988) and L'Art et son Contexte (Québec, Canada: 2005). In 2009, two of his books were translated and published in Polish: Sztuka i jej kontekst, a summary of his artistic and theoretical inquiries, and Sztuka, społeczeństwo, samoświadomość.
In 1989 Świdziński was appointed President of the Artists of the Other Arts Association, and in May 2005 he was awarded the Polonia Restituta Order for his contribution to the development and promotion of Polish culture in Poland and abroad. He has lectured at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts in Paris, the Université du Québec in Montreal, New York University in New York, L'École Sociologique Interrogative in Paris, the University of Calgary and Vancouver University.
Świdziński has coordinated and curated a number of major international conferences, including an international conference of artists and theorists from 35 countries held at the Remont Gallery in 1977 ("Art as an Action in the Context of Reality"), as well as performance art festivals such as the Interscop International Festival in Łucznica (1990), Real Time, the Story Telling International Performance Art Festival in Sopot (1993) and the Interakcje Performance Art Festival in Piotrków Trybunalski (1996).