Polish Performance Archive

Description by Filmoteka Muzeum

Lyyying Dead, or Testing the Miracle Theory (Leeeżenie trupem, czyli testowanie teorii cudu, 1990) took place in front of the building of the “Hortex” coffee house in Piotrkowska St. in Łódź, which had enjoyed a cult status under communism. As probably the most popular meeting spot, crowded and full of potential and usually unaware participants of happenings, it became the city’s street art Mecca. Artists created “ruptures” in the seemingly orderly reality and bent social norms. Within this action, members of Wspólnota Leeeżeć (The Lyyying Community) simply lay together on the pavement on the city’s busiest street, covered with white sheets, their smart black shoes the only thing protruding from underneath.

Although extremely simple, the action sparked a myriad of observers’ reactions. To a certain extent, it also consisted in testing social sensitivity. For a brief while, passers-by were shaken out of their routine and compelled to adopt a stance towards that strange occurrence, whichemanated an air of anxiety. Some observers were checking if the artists were still breathing, they were nudging them and looking underneath the white sheets. The majority did not realise that they had become participants of an artistic action, unlike in a usual art gallery situation.

Going out into the public space did pose certain threats, but it allowed the artists to confront and encounter the viewers on a different basis. Thus, they could reach out to broader audiences, including those without interest in contemporary art. Public interventions had been previously carried out by Ewa Partum (The Legality of Space), Krzysztof Niemczyk (Bath in a Fountain), Tadeusz Kantor (The Letter), Akademia Ruchu (Stumble); and at a similar time and in a similar context by Łódź Kaliska and Pomarańczowa Alternatywa in various Polish cities.

Description of the action from Tygodnik Leeeżeć (The Lyyying Weekly): “It was more or less yesterday that we realised that a third party had a hand in everything we did. But we could not catch that hand red-handed. That was why we organised an activity (meaning: lyyying) which was supposed to provoke a brutal tangible intervention from outside, titled Lyyying Dead, or Testing the Miracle Theory. The basic question was: will we rise from the dead or not, and when? So the community lay down on the pavement and was covered with sheets. After about half an hour, the absolute in the form of an alarm clock made them rise to astaaanding position (see: Manifesto no. 3). For as it stems from the miracle theory, the more one desires the miraculous, the more indispensable it becomes to broaden its borders, at any cost”.               (source: Michał Gralak, "Zapis działań", Tygodnik Leeeżeć no. 12/1990).

Wspólnota Leeeżeć comprising: Andrzej Miastkowski vel Egon Fietke, Rafał Tarnowski, Michał Gralak, Paweł Pallester, Jacek Poremba