Marek Konieczny Think Crazy

11.12.2012 – 17.02.2013 Marek Konieczny Think Crazy

Zachęta – National Gallery of Art

curator: Maria Brewińska
collaboration:Magdalena Komornicka

Think Crazy is the name of the artistic strategy and at the same time the title of the exhibition of Marek Konieczny, an artist pivotal for the conceptual breakthrough in Polish art at the turn of the 1960s/1970s, but also, from the late 1970s, a ‘deserter of conceptualism”, one of the pioneers of mail art and unconventional artistic practices in public space.

Konieczny’s work, especially that dating from the late 1970s onwards, is not easily categorized. He began as a constructivist-informed painter, author of abstract combinatoric systems and random processes, which from 1968 were gradually supplanted by perfomance practices inspired by conceptualism and the efforts to dematerialize the object in art. Among Konieczny’s emblematic actions were Do Something with It (1969), Drop Something in Here (1968-69), or 140 Pieces of Purple Paper (1970), all of them based on viewer interaction and active participation. The idea of non-rational conceptual communication was explored by Konieczny in mail art projects as part of which he notified other artists by post that at a specific time he would be sending light signals in their direction. All these actions generate random processes, which are meant to stimulate and activize not only rational mental processes, but also emotions, sensibilities and imagination.

Since 1974, Konieczny has pursued the Think Crazy idiom, an artistic strategy aimed at experiencing the non-standard forms of behaviour, emotions, intuitive reactions, corporeality and eroticism hidden under the guise of rationality. At this time, a horn affixed to the artist’s forehead becomes an integral element of his performance pieces and installations. Some time later, another breakthrough occurs as part of the Think Crazy strategy – a return to the object, manifested in a series of sophisticated, or decadent perhaps, images and objects involving elements such as pyramids, gold, sickles, frameworks, furs or animals figures, which appear in Konieczny’s films and other works.

The Zachęta show comes as a manifestation of the Think Crazy idea, a selection of several symbolic items from the range of ‘absolute artificiality’: a golden horn, a golden bag from Drop Something in Here. Also featured are films: 24012008 Think Crazy (1975), Dialogue with Pyramid (1975), Santa Conversatione (1975), In the Sea – Seven Evenings, Seven Mornings (1975), Smile (1976), all pulsating with humour, eroticism, a rhythm of radical gestures.

Marek Konieczny
Born under the sign of Crab
Son of the Moon
Loves orchids
And only emerald will make him happy
Once an engineer
Skier, visionary, tempter
Deserter of conceptualism
Author of the Think Crazy idea
He lives in Europe.

Marek Konieczny studied at the Silesian University of Technology in Gliwice at the turn of the 1950s/1960s. He worked with Oskar Hansen designing the modern housing estates Osiedle im. Słowackiego in Lublin and Przyczółek Grochowski in Warsaw. He studied painting at the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts 1961-67, and around 1969 abandoned architecture on behalf of art.

From March 1989 through February 1990, he ran a guest studio in the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts’ Faculty of Painting, as the first visiting professor requested by the students on the wave of general change. He began his course by stating that, ‘There will be no painting here’. The classes were indeed unorthodox, consisting mainly of discussions of art and unpredictable situations provoked by Konieczny and his students, which formed a ‘chain of individual initiations’ triggering off new events or interactions in the spirit of Think Crazy. Among Konieczny’s students were Cezary Bodzianowski, Artur Dynowski, Piotr Uklański or Jarosław Paluch. Though Konieczny ran his studio for less than a year, his educational and artistic strategies proved a strong influence on the artistic development and personality of his students.

Selected exhibitions: 
Kultura niezależna 27 lat później (Galeria DAP, Warszawa / Warsaw, 2011); Labirynt. Zakręty awangardy – wystawa dzieł sztuki z kolekcji Galerii BWA w Lublinie (BWA, Lublin, 2010); The Perpetual Dialogue (Andrea Rosen Gallery, Nowy Jork / New York, 2009); Marek Konieczny. Think crazy rococo (Art+on, Warszawa / Warsaw, 2009); Marek Konieczny. DRZEWA na think crazy (Galeria Traffic, Warszawa / Warsaw, 2006); Marek Konieczny. Think crazy – gold crazy (Galeria XXI, Warszawa / Warsaw, 2004); Transistart 2003 Sztuka lotu – lot sztuki (CSW / Centre of Contemporary Art Łaźnia, Gdańsk, 2003); Autonomiczny ruch konceptualny w Polsce (Galeria Stara, BWA Lublin, 2002); Gabinet Intelektualnych Tortur, Marek Konieczny @ Think Crazy Institute (Galeria QQ, Kraków, 1995); Marek Konieczny. Sklepienie (Galeria Grodzka, Lublin, 1993); Stoliczku nakryj się (Babia Góra, 1992); Marek Konieczny. Opera na rzeźbę. Kryptokonserwatyzm. Performance (Mała Galeria ZPAF–CSW; Galeria Zapiecek, Warszawa / Warsaw, 1991); Massons (ul. Mostowa 90, Warszawa / Warsaw, 1990); Stypa na performance (Akademia Sztuk Pięknych / Academy of Fine Arts, Warszawa / Warsaw, 1989); Elementy typologii Think Crazy (BWA Lublin, 1986); Tendencje intelektualne w sztuce polskiej po 1945 roku (BWA Lublin, 1985); Marek Konieczny (SBWA Forma, Warszawa / Warsaw, 1985); Skupienie i ekstaza (Galeria Labirynt, Lublin, 1985); Marek Konieczny. THINK CRAZY z cyklu / from the series Pokaz jednego dzieła (Dom Artysty Plastyka, Warszawa / Warsaw, 1980); The Third Biennale of Sydney – European Dialogue (Sydney, 1979); 12th Annual Avant-Garde Festival (Nowy Jork / New York, 1975); Think Crazy (Galeria Studio, Warszawa / Warsaw, 1978); Informacja i emocja (Muzeum Narodowe w Warszawie / National Museum in Warsaw, 1975); Informacja–Wyobraźnia–Działanie. Antybiennale plakatu (Galeria Współczesna, Warszawa / Warsaw, 1970).

Works in the collections of: Muzeum Narodowe w Warszawie; Dada Research Center, Niemcy / Germany; Fundació Joan Miró, Centre d’Estudis d’Art Contemporani, Barcelona; Franklin Furnance Archiv, New York; Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Galeria de Mangelang, Groningen; Galeria Studio, Warszawa i w kolekcjach prywatnych / and private collections.

Selected Actions:
Tow. Kwaśniewski (Warsaw/ Warszawa, 1995); Podwójny święty (Muzeum Narodowe w Warszawie / National Museum un Warsaw, 1994); Think crazy na jedno oko (Muzeum Narodowe w Warszawie / National Museum un Warsaw, 1993); Powrót do źródeł (Warszawa / Warsaw, 1986); Kolekcja wenecka (Warszawa / Warsaw, 1985); Późna Warszawska Jesień (Warszawa / Warsaw, 1985); Martwa natura z rybą i nożem (Warszawa / Warsaw, 1984); Biały Orzeł (pracownia artysty / artist studio, Warszawa /Warsaw, 1983); Przyjęcie na stan wojenny (pracownia artysty / artist studio, Warszawa /Warsaw, 1982); Jednorożec, z cyklu  / from the series special equipment) (wielokrotnie od / frequently since 1978); Think crazy na kaplicę sykstyńską (instalacja w pracowni / installation in the studio, 1976–1980); Think crazy na flagę (Warszawa / Warsaw, 1975), Chodźmy na 1 maja (Warszawa / Warsaw, 1973), Festiwal zapachów (Elbląg, 1971), Widmo wolności (Warszawa / Warsaw, 1971–72); Widmo na śniegu (Warszawa / Warsaw, 1971); Trwająca dyskusja (Warszawa / Warsaw, 1971); 140 sztuk fioletowego papieru (Nasz mozół), Galeria Współczesna, Warsawa / Warsaw, 1970); 0,15 kontakt (Warszawa / Warsaw 1970); Wrzuć tu coś (Warszawa / Warsaw, 1968–69).

Related media
  • Grafika obiektu: Marek Konieczny. Think Crazy
    mediateka / folders / Texts
    Marek Konieczny. Think Crazy
    Folder accompanying the exhibition
  • Grafika obiektu: Marek Konieczny Think Crazy
    mediateka / posters
    Marek Konieczny Think Crazy
  • Grafika obiektu: Marek Konieczny
    mediateka / video-documentation
    Marek Konieczny
    Think Crazy


Marek Konieczny
Think Crazy
11.12.2012 – 17.02.2013

Zachęta – National Gallery of Art
pl. Małachowskiego 3, 00-916 Warsaw
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Godziny otwarcia:
Tuesday – Sunday 12–8 p.m.
Thursday – free entry
ticket office is open until 7.30 p.m.

sponsors of the gallery: Lidex, Netia
sponsors of the opening ceremony: DeLonghi, Kenwood, A.Blikle, Freixenet
media patronage: Gazeta Wyborcza, Polskie Radio, The Warsaw Voice, Stolica, PANI,