The specific processes of transformation and transgression are defining moments in the work of Polish artist Daniel Rycharski. Being both Catholic and gay, he inevitably faces a double dose of marginalisation, which is quite consciously thematised in his artistic practice using the most comprehensible idioms and commonly shared symbols as elements connecting different worlds, as well as participatory forms of art projects based on direct communication with the environment. The two-channel video Valentines / Ash Wednesday from 2018, selected for the third scene of our series Oh and Hah, Beauty, Ruin and Slack, features the artist’s action during which he burnt, in the open landscape, a discarded confessional kneeler and a fragment of wall from a gay club darkroom. He then mixed the ashes of both and sprinkled them on slices of bread that he ate. The eloquent, quiet, and actually very simple action carries layers of meaning, where sin and acceptance, the unity of the Christian LGBT+ community, finality and rebirth create an urgent, complex image of the longing for and dignity of human existence free from prejudice.
Daniel Rycharski is a graduate of the Faculty of Art at the Pedagogical University of Krakow (2009), with a PhD from the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow (2013). On the ground of multiple exclusion or marginalisation (on a social as well as symbolic level), Rycharski has created, over the past decade, a consistent, believable, impressive work, surprisingly eloquent even without detailed knowledge of the context. After his studies, the artist decided to return to his home village of Kurówko, symbolically excluding himself from the liberal artistic community in Polish art centres; in the Polish countryside, he has systematically developed activities on the very edge of acceptability. In 2019, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Warsaw organized a major exhibition of his work, titled Fears. Most recently, he has been the main character of the feature film All Our Fears (2021) directed by Łukasz Ronduda.
Special thanks to the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic and Moravian-Silesian Region.