Zdzisław Sosnowski works with experimental film and photography, as well as performance art and audio art. He combines creation with the activity of an animator of artistic circles and a theoretician. In the 70s of the 20th century he was one of the most active figures in neo-avant-garde movement, whose activity was situated on the border between notional and post-conceptual art.
In Wrocław he co-created the Actual Art’s Gallery artistic group and co-operated with the Permafo Gallery. After moving to Warsaw, together with Jacek Drabik and Janusz Haka he managed the Współczesna (Contemporary) Gallery. At that time he co-organized the famous exhibition Aspects of Polish Modern Art (1975). Later he ran the Studio Gallery where he presented works of Sol Le Witt, Mario Merz and others.
His works from the first half of the 70s are an outcome of media study (photography and film) which reveal the artist’s interest in the semiotics of image. What is characteristic of him is questioning the value of a project which results from the artist’s individual work on it: authorization, uniqueness and existential charge. It is the documentation of everyday, banal experiences recorded in photographic series that deserve our attention. Among his projects we find: Potatoes (1971), Glasses (1971), Smiles (1972), Little/Big Change (1971) and films: Simple Activities (1971/1972), Eating (1973). The film Scaleaning of Fish (1970), realized in a similar convention, additionally shocks with the aesthetics of an alarming and at the same time desired disgust.
He was one of the first artists to use the language of popular culture and consciously created his own myth and media image. The most remarkable example of this practice is a series of photographs taken since 1974 and the film Goalkeeper. Impersonating the roles of a sport star and a women’s idol, he used images drawn from the iconosphere of pop-culture. He deliberately discarded the interest in analytical deliberations and concentrated on the social and cultural problems. Goalkeeper remains one of the most important works – documents of post-conceptual art.
Contemporary works – large format My Time (2000) and Fly Collectors (2007), made with the use of computer technologies, are a ludic extension of the problems of self-creation, self-reflection and tautology.
Zdzisław Sosnowski (born in 1947) graduated from the State College of Fine Arts in Wrocław. Since 1982 he has lived and worked in Paris.
The artist’s works have been presented at individual and group exhibitions, at Akumulatory 2 Gallery, Poznań, 1973; Dziekanka Gallery, Warsaw, 1973; at the 10th Biennale de Paris, 1977; Presences Polonaises, Centre Pompidou, 1983; Wanda Dunikowski Galerie, Kőln, 1989; 1,2,3… Avant-Gardes, Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, Warszawa (2007), Tate Modern, London (2008), My Time, Foto-Medium-Art Gallery, Kraków, 2008; Now! Artists of Foto-Medium-Art Gallery, Masovian Centre of Contemporary Art “Elektorwnia”, Radom, Poland; Controlled Image. The Question of Image Control In Poland In the 70s and 80s, Royal College of Art, London 2009 and others.
The artist’s position and achievements have been discussed by many critics; Marcin Giżycki, Bożena Stokłosa, Jan Stanisław Wojciechowski, and recently Łukasz Ronduda, David Crowley.