• Wiktor Gutt, Waldemar Raniszewski, Grand Conversation, 1972

The Grand Conversation is one of the classic works of the Polish neoavant- garde of the 1970s. In it, Gutt and Raniszewski critically redefined Oskar Hansen’s Open Form theory. The artists went beyond rational considerations for visual communication, turning instead to the ritual, non-verbal communications of tribal cultures. This artistic dialogue began in 1972 with Gutt spontaneously painting Raniszewski’s face. In response, Raniszewski created a coloured mask, attempting to make a wooden reproduction of what his friend had painted on his face. The mask came to resemble a small cube, a geometric model of Raniszewski’s head, which was then scaled up to 2 × 2 metres in size. The space inside it went on to become a background for interaction between the artists and their friends. The “conversing” artists’ subsequent responses gave rise to an extraordinary work in
process, which developed for more than thirty years.

Wiktor Gutt stresses that the Grand Conversation did not end with Raniszewski’s death in 2005: “In 2009, I recreated the first painting from 1972, this time on a black girl, Adji Djallo from Senegal. In the ‘Grand Conversation’, time was and is virtual, and can run in different directions, like it does in myths”.

Collaborators: A. Djallo, C. Chojnowski, K. Chromiński, A. Czebotar,
D. Gutt, H. Gutt, Ł. Gutt, J. Jarnuszkiewicz, G. Kowalski, Z. Kulik, M. Kwiek, S. Miarka,
M. Pałyska, K. Radomski, K. Raniszewski, B. Szulczewski, I. Szum, J.S. Wojciechowski, A. Wojdyno, H. Zawadzka

Year: 1972-2008
Medium: digitised slideshow, sculpture
Format: 7:25

Acquisition: purchase
Ownership form: collection
Source: Wiktor Gutt, spadkobiercy Waldemara Raniszewskiego
Index: MSN:4300-28/2013
Acquisition date:
Financing source: Purchased with the support of Ministry of Culture and National Heritage