Grzegorz Klaman

Sculptor, born January 7, 1959, in Nowy Targ; lives and works in Gdansk.

In 1980 Klaman graduated from the State High School of Visual Art Techniques in Zakopane. He became a student of the Sculpture Department of the State Higher School of the Visual Arts (today the Academy of Fine Arts) in Gdansk, which he completed in 1985. Upon completing his studies, he began to teach at his alma mater. He proceeded through all of the levels of an academic career and is currently a professor of the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdansk.

The artist's early attitudes and perceptions were shaped by his close-up view of the rise and, shortly thereafter, the fall of the "Solidarity" movement. He shared the general enthusiasm that accompanied the movement's birth and in the protests that came with its suppression during Martial Law. He participated in demonstrations, co-edited underground publications and painted protest murals. Between 1984 and 1986 he worked with Kazimierz Kowalczyk in creating colossal and simultaneously ephemeral works at various sites in the city of Gdansk, an activity that formed a part of the so-called "rotating gallery." In his sculptures of the 1980s, Klaman favored figurative art that was dramatic in its expression in the spirit of "new expressionism."

Beginning in his student years, he had been creating galleries as well as outdoor sites of artistic activity for himself and a group of his peers. These were, in sequence, the "rotating gallery," located at various sites around the city of Gdansk (1984-1986), the "Baraki" / "Barracks" at Chmielna Street (turn of 1986/87), the Galeria Wyspa / Island Gallery on the peninsula known as Granary Island (1987-1994), the Island Gallery at the art school dormitory on Chlebnicka Street (1990-2002), and the Open Atelier in the former Municipal Bathhouse (1992, known as the Laznia / Bathhouse Contemporary Art Center since 1998). All of these forms, which were institutionalized to a greater or lesser degree, chose the public space as the terrain of their activity.

Klaman's criticism and sensitivity to manifestations stereotypical thinking, stagnation, or simply the corruption of authorities found expression in art forms that were monumental, dominating, cold, and quasi-architectural.
Klaman referred to the Polish situation strictly in a design for the national flag, in which the white and red fields were supplemented with a band of black, symbolizing the influence of the Catholic Church on the State.

The artist's theoretical interests are located in contemporary times and the future, and in particular in the problems of power, technology and medicine on one hand, and the body as a subject of study and manipulation on the other. The artist explored these issues in a manner deprived of all symbolism, reference to tradition or conventional ways of thinking, which often caused them to be rejected by critics and even censored at times.

In recent years the artist has shown that he is far from abandoning his public activity. For the celebrations of the 20th anniversary of "Solidarity" in the year 2000, Klaman constructed a monumental form that stood at the entrance to an exhibition titled DROGA DO WOLNOSCI / ROAD TO FREEDOM held within the Gdansk Shipyard.


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