Footage of Jerzy Bereś's performance carried out on the 15th of October 1989 at the Centre of Polish Sculpture in Orońsko.
In his action, Bereś pursued a reflection on his own artistic practice, the question of transgressing the limits of form and the fluidity of borders in art. The artist's nudity does not bear an erotic character. It performs a semantic function, manifesting honesty and trust. The body is treated in a primitive and natural way, akin to wood or fire, which Bereś uses in his works. The subject – the artist – consciously reduces himself to the role of an object. Through a seeming negation of his own liberty and rejection of his own subjectivity, the subject acquires a sense of freedom and the possibility to decide upon himself. In his actions, Bereś reproduces the same situation time and time again, turning his performance into neck-breaking séances of working through the trauma of enslavement. He persistently assumes the role of a slave in order to set himself free. The constant return to the beginning does not offer a solution, yet it is not the effect that matters, but the process that leads to “liberation.”
The title of the action bears reference to Bereś's reflection on the idea of shame. In the artist's view, the same shame that bears testimony to the loss of subjectivity is something that defines his humanity.
Quoted from: Natalia Kaliś, Cudowna świadomość porażki. O „Wstydzie” Jerzego Beresia, “Konteksty” 2010, no 4, pp. 136-139.
© Centre of Polish Sculpture in Orońsko