Video projection (colour), audio:
Casting. Warsaw, single channel, loop, 16:9 PAL, 1080i, stereo, duration: 1 56’40”, language: Polish, subtitles:English
Casting. Tel-Aviv, two channels, loop, 16:9 PAL, 1080p, stereo, duration: 1st channel – 4’26”, 2nd channel – 26’00”, language: English, subtitles: Polish
Casting. New York, single channel, loop, 16:9 PAL, 1080i, stereo, duration: 27’40”, language: English
Artist Katarzyna Kozyra travels the world, looking for herself and inviting the audience to participate in the casting… for the role of herself. “Casting” started as a part of another of Kozyra’s projects – a full-length autobiographical feature film.Kozyra looking for Kozyra. A leading man or leading lady, actors for supporting roles, who at the same time would be scriptwriters and propose e.g. how to write out various episodes in her life. Physical resemblance, gender, age or origin don’t matter, the point is the understanding of the character and readiness for emotional investment in the role. What was conceived as one of the phases of filmmaking, became a project in its own right, divided in three separate parts: Warsaw, Tel-Aviv and New York.
“Casting” is a logical continuation of Kozyra’s artistic oeuvre which has always been based on her most personal experiences: biographical (“Olympia” – Kozyra suffering from cancer poses as Olympia), “carnal” (“Bathhouses” – the artist with a film camera explores women’s bathhouse and disguised as a man – men’s as well), or performance (series:“In Art Dreams Come True” – where she studies various gender clichés: femininity and masculinity, playing a diva, a castrate, a pop star, etc.) But even these most intimate experiences are always portrayed in such a way as to strongly engage the audience – emotionally, socially and physically – and express universal ideas, concerns and problems of the contemporary world. The main slogan of the “Casting” are the words which the artist utters in one of her films, a pseudo-documentary “In Art Dreams Come True”: “This omnipotence of mine gives me certainty that whatever I undertake, I’ll succeed, because I am potentially talented in every domain.” Everyone can be an artist, even for a moment – in front of the camera, playing his or her role, interpreting it. In “Casting” Katarzyna Kozyra reverses these roles. She is the one who becomes the audience, and the audience become creators. Therefore “Casting” turns into a performance of many people in front of one artist in which they tell their stories about Katarzyna Kozyra. Each participant of the “Casting” is asked to take on the role of the artist, performing in front of her and the camera. “Casting” asks fundamental questions about who is an artist nowadays, where is he or she and what does it mean to be an artist. The figure of the artist herself in this project is, above all, the material for others. And it is subject to various interpretations, depending on the location of the project: Warsaw, Tel-Aviv or New York.
- The project (the Warsaw edition) became the artist’s doctoral dissertation defended in July 2011 at the Faculty of New Media, Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts. It was supervised by prof Grzegorz Kowalski and reviewed by prof. Sławomir Ratajski and prof. Magdalena Środa.
- Each edition of the project was accompanied by an exhibition of Kozyra’s works. In Zachęta – a retrospective from the early 90s to the latest pieces. In the Center for Contemporary Art in Tel-Aviv the exhibition featured the series “In Art Dreams Come True,” while in New York the curators (Paulina Babecka and Anna Walewska) compiled a collage of Kozyra’s works composed of screens connected together and suspended in NY’s Family Business Gallery.
- The exhibition moved in the late 2011 from Zachęta to the National Museum in Cracow was protested by the organisation Krucjata Młodych (Youth Crusade).
- In Warsaw, in the spring 2011, the second stage of the Casting was held at the Faculty of Sculpture of the Academy of Fine Art.
- “Katarzyna Kozyra. Warsaw, Tel-Aviv, New York”, Salon Akademii Gallery, Warsaw 2012.
The Artist would like to thank all her collaborators and people who helped in the realisation of the project, in particular:
Marcelina Babińska, Piotr Bartuszek, Paulina Bebecka, Ruy Sanchez-Blanco, Izabela Bielińska, Maurizio Cattelan, Sergio Edelsztein, Mor Efrony, Agata Gajda, Agnieszka Gojska, Daria Irincheeva, Grzegorz Kowalski, Julia Leopold, Monika Lewandowska, Marta Maciąga, Konrad Michalski, Ewa Niemczewska, Anna Pudełko, Ines Riuz Artola, David Rudoy, Asaf Saban, Magda Sawon, Diana Schoef, Anna Spodarzewska, Mirek Szewczyk, Agata Szulc, Anna Walewska, Hanna Wróblewska, Konrad Zduniak, Ifat Zvirin
Zachęta – National Gallery of Art, Warsaw, Polish Institute in New York, Centre for Contemporary Art, Tel-Aviv, Polish Institute in Tel-Aviv, Adam Mickiewicz Institute, Warsaw, Żak Branicka Foundation, Cracow, B2 PRO, New York, Family Business Gallery, New York, Postmasters Gallery, New York, Bunker Media, Moving image Contemporary Video Art Fair.