WHO'S WHO AND WHY: Karol Radziszewski
photo: Kuba Dąbrowski

Karol Radziszewski


‘Actually I always want to be somewhere else, but, at the end of the day, I am right here. I don’t know. Maybe it’s time to move out?’

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Karol Radziszewski (born in 1980) – painter and performer. The first association with the name is “gay artist”. Simply, because homosexual orientation seems to be the main motif of his artwork. Whether it is paintings, installations, video art, or photography. Such interpretation is also reinforced with the fact that he openly “came out”, and he is the Editor-in-Chief of DIK Fagazine, queer art magazine published in Polish and English.

Radziszewski dislikes the label. In fact, when taken a closer look his art is more about transgression of borders. He discusses the intimate and public, pop culture code vs. academic art, Polish Catholicism vs. moral liberalism.


In this section we introduce Polish artists, places, new phenomena. We always ask the person or the place’s representative the following question: WHY ARE YOU HERE? It’s completely up to them, how are they going to answer it. Time for Karol Radziszewski

He has changed a friend’s apartment into a gallery for the “Fags” exhibition, painted murals in Warsaw metro, made a video documentary of how he awaited the outcome of an HIV test, and in the project “Fag Fighters” he photographed a fictional gay gang posing in pink balaclavas.

As an additional component to his last exhibition Backstage in “Bunkier Sztuki” in Kraków he organised a small casting for an eponymous film. The invitation was vague. It concerned young men, who were asked to reflect on the relationship to their own bodies. Conversations were recorded on camera. Did some included showing private parts? You can check in Kraków.

“I lack erotic artwork showing men, but made by women.”
“We are constantly attacked with images of naked men and women. It is a paradox that my work in a gallery is still provocative to some. Maybe because when show a naked body is isn’t for the purpose of selling something.”
“My art is a crusade against charging art with mission and activism. True gay activists are quite often discontented with what I do. They think I undermine gays.”
“I want to speak of desire, sex, being queer with irony, self-irony and mission-less. And people want to see an activist in me. And in fact I cannot escape that. In almost every interview I hear the question ‘What are you fighting for?’”
“Art is full of naked women, erotic symbols related to the female body, to desire. It is the case with surrealism. But as soon as you replace the female with a naked man, the surrealism instantly changes into realism. There is no irony, there is a gay. A female act can serve as a metaphor of many things, a male one is always realistic. Even people from the art world can find it hard to distinguish.”

KEYWORDS: art, gay, installation, performance, video art, publishing, magazine, paintings, multimedia


Good question. Actually I always want to be somewhere else, but, at the end of the day, I am right here. I don’t know. Maybe it’s time to move out?