There exists in art
a poetically envolved trend
(expressionist in one of its various aspects)
which aims at the artist's emotional expression,
at revealing his/her 'anxieties', resorting to uncontrollable, so consequently 'authentic', impulses
as a means of this expression
(hence the favourite criterium of 'truth'),
strenghtening its bonds with the tradition through addressing 'universal' ('fundamental') issues.
It displays various facets:
verges on mysticism
(Beksiński, Kantor, Hasior, Dróżdż),
engages in politics
(Wajda, Konwicki, students' theatre,
poetic group 'Teraz'), moralizes (Szajna, Grochowiak, Bryl, Królikiewicz),
plays a didactic role
(Hanuszkiewicz, Penderecki, Cieślewicz),
(Ptaszyn-Wróblewski, K.T. Toeplitz)
or is radically fatalistic
(Żebrowski, A. Szapocznikow).
The above-mentioned trend,
commonly understood and enthusiastically embraced,
on the one hand appeals to the public's 'sensitivity',
and on the other, to their 'sense of human self'.
It expresses what the average viewer knows
or suspects but cannot express.
Satisfying the audience
or occasionally coquetting them is nothing
but an inseparable ritual.
In its very principle, therefore,
the trend is populist in nature.
Considering its popularity,
the value of this trend seems to be indisputable. Confronted with such a perspective,
we decided to undertake para-scientific activity,
cold and calculated artistic theory-practice,
the activity which in the eyes
of the poetically-intuitive criticism
(Osęka, Skrodzki, Jackiewicz, Fuksiewicz)
is nothing but a primitive amusement
of a flamboyant few, unworthy of 'critical thought'.
We ignore the 'judgemental verdicts'
as well as 'explanatory statements'
those critics offer.
The general revaluation in the art
of the latter half of our century renders,
in our opinion,
both this art and the entire trend out-dated,
existing solely as a mere reminder of the past.
First of all:
1. Entering the territory of mechanical means
of recording and transmission,
we strongly object to all the attepmts
at annexing part of this territory
to the realm of verbalism.
To be more specific, we reject literary cinema.
2. We also reject all other utility functions
which negate the very essence of cinema,
engagement in politics,
and entertaining the public.
3. We reject anything that hampers breaking
with the tradition which makes it impossible
to construct a picture of reality
different from that imposed on us
by our school and upbringing.
we also reject the film language,
limited by rigid codification
as well as specific utility functions.
We, by contrast, pay special attention
to the technical equipment as a pure channel,
unaffected by outside influences.
Our activity aims in its essence at abandoning
whatever our education and what is called
'the current culture' have imposed on us.
4. Perceiving the reality
as having been relayed to us,
we resolve to examine it through analysis
of the way means of communication function.
We consider such an approach
(reducing the situations under examination
to their elementary states or meanings to banalities)
to be our first and foremost goal.
There is no insight into new spheres
of the reality
without the right apparatus
which may enable such an insight.
Thus, having no ambitions to create
the picture of the world
(in other words actually finishing the work)
we are trying to establish what can be created
with the use of such a phenomenon as film technique
and what is the actual range as well as the limits
of non-verbal interpretation.
We want to give the subjective
yet another chance
in its game with the objective.
We set up the 'Workshop' group
in the Łódź Film School, in 1970.
Połom, Wojciech Bruszewski,
Wacław Antczak, Jacek Łomnicki,
Tadeusz Junak, Antoni Mikołajczyk,
Lech Czołnowski, Zdzisław
Józef Robakowski, Paweł Kwiek,
Kazimierz Bendkowski, Andrzej Różycki,
Ryszard Waśko,Zbigniew Rybczyński.
Among numerous activists and supporters,
the following four people became the group's actual pillars::
Wojciech Bruszewski, Paweł Kwiek,
Józef Robakowski, Ryszard Waśko.
This manifesto here was written by me.
The group performed on the alternative artistic scene both in Poland as well as in many European countries, and took part in such important events as:
Atelier 72 in Edinburgh,
Documenta 6 in Kassel,
Film Als Film in Cologne, Essen, Stuttgart, Berlin, Film As Film in London.
Independent publications were a crucial aspect of the group's activity. We were the precursors of independent publishing in Poland. The first issue of 'Workshop' was released in 1974,
whereas the last one, '7', in 1975.
I left the group in 1976.
in the train to Edinburgh 1972
with Sean Connery in Edinburgh 1972
Złote Grono, Zielona Góra 1973
in Muzeum Sztuki, Łódź 1973
in De Appel Gallery, Amsterdam 1975
exhibition in BWA, Łódź 1975
Janusz Połom, Paweł Kwiek,
Andrzej Różycki, Lech Czołnowski,
retrospective exhibitions of
the Workshop Group in CSW,
You will find a brilliant account of those times in Józef Robakowski's 'Żywa Galeria'
('Living Gallery') published by
Łódzki Dom Kultury- Galeria FF..