22/01/2023, 4:00 pm,

Mikołaj Sobczak + Nicholas Grafia, Peasants

, Kunsthalle Münster

Mikołaj Sobczak with Nicholas Grafia, Peasants (still), 2021, Performance, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin

Credit

In their performance, artists Nicholas Grafia and Mikołaj Sobczak pick up on global historical narratives about exploitation, imperialism and oppression from the point of view of those affected. The title of the work, Peasants, refers to a segment in society that has always been emblematic of exploitation on the one hand and revolutionary forces on the other. In order to convey given interwoven historical and social events, In order to convey given interwoven historical and social events, the two artists sometimes draw on the genre of epic theatre. The forty-minute performance takes its starting point at the beginning of the 19th century, at the time of the Haitian Revolution. With the aid of traditional Haitian and Slavic mythologies and sagas, Grafia and Sobczak subtly interweave current socio-political discourses with tales from folk belief. Based on this method, they address topics like the imbalance of (co)existence on the global level, various phenomena subsisting beyond the boundaries of mainstream society, groups regarded as stigmatized or the effects of exploitative ideologies of both the past and the present. The artists deliberately play with the understandability of their narratives, not only by speaking different languages, but also by moving through time and space, as it were—like mythical beings navigating between centuries. Thematically, their performance takes them from ancient Rome to the current border policy of the EU. The music, choreography and costumes are likewise geared toward bringing the stories and traumas of marginalized groups into narrative focus. The performance thus illuminates the origins of structural discrimination and, at the same time, highlights ongoing injustices.

Mikołaj Sobczak (born 1989 in Poznań, Poland) works as an artist with video, painting and ceramics, often including performative actions, for which he regularly collaborates with the artist Nicholas Grafia. His works deal with political issues and historical politics, especially with regard to the perspectives and lives of marginalized subjects. After studying at the Academy of Fine Arts Warsaw (2011–2016) and a scholarship at the Berlin University of the Arts (2014–2015), he graduated as a master student of Aernout Mik from the Kunstakademie Münster in 2019. Since 2021 he has been an artist-in-residence at the Rijksakadmie van beeldende kunsten in Amsterdam. His works have been shown in solo and group exhibitions at numerous institutions: Kunsthalle Düsseldorf (2017); Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw (2018); Dortmunder Kunstverein (2019); Museum Ludwig, Cologne (2019); Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Düsseldorf (2019); Maison Populaire, Paris (2020); Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art, Warsaw (2020); VII Moscow International Biennale for Young Art (2020); steirischer Herbst, Graz (2021); MUDAM, Luxembourg (2021) and the Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin (2021). In 2021 he was awarded the most important prize for art in Poland – Paszport Polityki. In 2022, Galeria Bielska BWA, Bielsko-Biala will present a solo exhibition of the artist’s work. Sobczak lives and works in Warsaw and Amsterdam.

Nicholas Grafia (born 1990 in Angeles City, Philippines) is an artist working with painting, video and performance. His works negotiate processes of memory formation and the inclusion and exclusion of subjects in the writing of history. Grafia graduated in fine arts in 2019 as a master student of Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. He previously studied at the Kunstakademie Münster, the School of Arts and Cultures in Newcastle and British, American and Postcolonial Studies at WWU Münster. His work has been shown in solo and group exhibitions at numerous institutions: Shoot the Lobster, New York (2019), Kunsthal Aarhus, Aarhus (2019), Museum Ludwig, Cologne (2019), Tramway, Glasgow (2019), Capitain Petzel, Berlin (2020), Andersen's Contemporary , Copenhagen (2020), fffriedrich, Frankfurt am Main (2020), KIT - Kunst im Tunnel, Düsseldorf (2021), Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW), Berlin (2021), KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin (2021), Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin (2022), Smack Mellon, New York (2022) and at Hordaland Kunstsenter, Bergen (2022). Grafia lives and works in Düsseldorf.

The performance is supported by:

In the context of the exhibition

Mikołaj Sobczak. Leibeigene

, Kunsthalle Münster → Exhibition
Other Events:

18/10/2022, 6:00 pm,

Talk with Mikołaj Sobczak und Merle Radtke

, Kunsthalle Münster

28/10/2022, 6:00 pm,

Guided tour through the exhibition Mikołaj Sobczak. Leibeigene with Constanze Venjacob

, Kunsthalle Münster

13/11/2022, 3:00 pm,

Guided tour through the exhibition Mikołaj Sobczak. Leibeigene with Constanze Venjakob

, Kunsthalle Münster

11/12/2022, 3:00 pm,

Curator's tour of the exhibition Mikołaj Sobczak. Leibeigene with Merle Radtke

, Kunsthalle Münster

20/01/2023, 6:00 pm,

Guided tour through the exhibition Mikołaj Sobczak. Leibeigene with Constanze Venjakob

, Kunsthalle Münster