My gallery has represented Paweł Kruk practically from the start of its existence, but it is possible you’ve never heard of this artist. Perhaps it’s because he lives far from Poland, near San Francisco. His small town is so secretive and uninviting that the inhabitants try to make sure that no one hears about it. They like taking down the road sign that points the way there. Since it is hard to get to, a studio visit can be difficult to arrange, and it’s an open question if there’s a studio there at all. It is not even certain if the town exists or if this is only a few summer houses that do not make up anything resembling a town. Paweł has asked us not to mention the name of where he lives, and not to come there. They don’t want us there. Go surf in your own town.
All right, but what exactly does this artist do? From the very beginning (ever since graduating from the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznań), Paweł’s strategy has been to emulate successful people, though he is not trying to replicate their success. He studies these models like some kind of a fan, imitating them in a subversive (or perhaps just strange) way; he is fascinated by his own state of fascination. Meanwhile, his intentions are hard to decipher. If he were not an artist, would he be stalking people, showing up at their front door?
With Paweł not much can be taken for granted, but when we take a closer look we start to figure things out. When he says he is a firefighter and shows us pictures of the fire, I believe him. I also believed him in the past when he said he was Michael Jordan. It looked as though MJ himself was imitating Paweł Kruk’s movements on the court. They were indistinguishable. The Polish audience, badly dressed and disoriented as usual, watched both men—the world’s greatest sports star and his perfect replica from Koszalin—and was unable to say who was who.
In the town of _______ (this is the written form Paweł prefers and we shall be sticking to it at the exhibition—the point is for no one to be able to find it on the Internet) the artist produced a series of film stills. The film itself he did not produce. There are photographs and our imagination has to make up a narrative to join them. Isn’t it tiring not knowing anything, not having any concrete information, having to use our imaginations? Nobody really does this sort of thing anymore, unless they’re unable to produce a normal film. Paweł, isn’t art supposed to look different nowadays?
Before all this began, Paweł received a small grant to the tune of 1,000 dollars to “travel to a secret place at an unspecified time.” A condition for the grant was to send a postcard from his destination. He ended up in _______ and claims he sent the postcard, but it never arrived. Liar.