In June 1981, as a result of the disenchantment with the artistic and life stances of his colleagues from Pracownia Dziekanka, Tomasz Sikorski organised the action TEST (B.S.O.K.) The title came from the first letters of the surnames of people who underwent the test: Bałdyga, Onuch, Szajna, Kryszkowski – the artist’s most immediate collaborators from that institution, who were invited into the room respectively. When the doors shut behind each of them, Sikorski suddenly punched them forcefully on their faces.
While Janusz Bałdyga, Jacek Kryszkowski and Jerzy Onuch left soon after receiving their punches, treating the situation (recorded on camera) as an artistic activity, on his part, Łukasz Szajna punched Sikorski back, turning out to be the only one not to bother about “art” and respond in a totally “non-artistic” way. It can be argued that Sikorski gravitated in this work towards indirect self-aggression.
The artist recalls: “At the time, Szajna and Kryszkowski were good boys living with their parents, and getting high on vodka and cigarettes, typical of the Polish communist “Babylon”. Back then, I was attracted to rebellious and anti-regime movements. In my private life, I preferred friends from punk-reggae circles, who manifested their liberty on a daily basis. I got my kicks from weed, which at the time came as a discovery and a powerful symbol (for the initiated) of the sense of standing out among the “Babylon” and booze culture of the communist Poland. And it was legal. I was annoyed by the artistic stiffness, the delusive sense of belonging to the circles of the so-called neo-avantgarde, in fact booze-driven and bourgeois, with its luminaries and people of authority, many of whom actually thrived under the communist regime.” Sikorski carried out his action six months prior to the imposition of martial law [13th Dec 1981 – transl. note]. As he recalls: “In December the ‘avant-garde’ and attachment to the tradition of artistic life suddenly hit the skids, while rebellious and anti-regime attitudes sharpened.
Language: no sound
Source: 16 mm
© Tomasz Sikorski
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