Residency Unlimited is a performative and video project realized over the course of two months, March and April 2012, during which Gilewicz cleaned the premises of Flux Factory. This action was an exploration of the status of an immigrant while at the same time quantifying the idea of artistic success.
The artist declares the following about his project:
As a Polish immigrant, I have always had to face the truth about the most popular jobs for first generation Polish immigrants in the US, namely cleaning and construction. As an artist, I have firsthand experience with these jobs, in order to secure funds for my living expenses and – above all – for the production of my artworks. As Wojciech Gilewicz, a private person, I have always sought cleanliness, order, and harmony.
In March and April 2012 I cleaned the Flux Factory building, to explore the intersection of immigrant labor and artistic practice. My goal was not to play the role of a cleaner but to really become a cleaner. I decided to start my project as an anonymous person, working in a building as a sort of a trade worker. In fact I was also trying to limit theoretical approach of any kind to my project and concentrate instead on the simple physical action of changing and organizing the space.
Could cleaning be seen as a tool for beautification and changing reality, in a way that art can sometimes do? How would this project be perceived in terms of art? Can you judge cleaning and its outcome in the same way you judge art? Can a cleaner become an artist as much as an artist can become a cleaner?
My project in Flux Factory, as a two month part-time unpaid job, and the exhibition “Residency Unlimited” were made possible thanks to a grant from the Polish Ministry of Culture. This adds yet another layer to the discussion about the paradoxes of the art system today, its institutions, networks and possibilities that artists have to create and exhibit their work.
Wojciech Gilewicz (b. 1974) lives and works between Warsaw and New York. He works with painting, video, photography and installations. His practice extends to site-specific projects as well as performative actions. In 2009 the Centre of Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle in Warsaw published Them – an artistic album of Wojciech Gilewicz’s series of photographic double self-portraits from 2002 onwards and which continues to date.
Wojciech Gilewicz has exhibited at institutions including Foksal Gallery, Warsaw; SculptureCenter, New York; Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis; Muzeum Sztuki in Lodz; Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrade; The National Museum in Warsaw; Fondation Deutsch de la Meurthe, Paris; Zacheta – National Gallery of Art, Warsaw; Pianissimo, Milan; Zendai Museum of Modern Art, Shanghai; castillo/corrales, Paris; CCA Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw; Museums of Bat Yam; ISCP Gallery, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Ivano-Frankivsk; FRAC Limousin, Limoges; Real Art Ways, Hartford; National Museum of Contemporary Art / Changdong Art Studio, Seoul and Aspen Art Museum. His video works have been screened in venues such as Centre Pompidou, Paris; Reina Sophia National Museum, Madrid; HKW, Berlin, Foksal Gallery, Warsaw and Palais de Tokyo, Paris
For more information on the artist, please visit his website: www.gilewicz.net .