Wojciech Krukowski. Photo: Swiadka Hisorii
Volume 2

Remembering Wojciech Krukowski (1944 -2014) the founder of Akademia Ruchu (Academy of Movement)

In November 2013 Wojciech Krukowski still walked among New York crowds at Times Square when the members of Akademia Ruchu (Academy of Movement) were performing their action as a part of the Performa 13 project. His presence was also strongly felt during the performance of The Chinese Lesson at The Segal Center (even though he only observed it from behind a column of the theatre). The friends of the Segal Center and the Academy of Movement had a chance to talk to Wojtek for the last time after the performance of The Chinese Lesson this past November. He died not a long time later, in January 2014 in Warsaw, Poland.

All his life Wojciech Krukowski was devoted to a variety of unconventional artistic and theatrical events and in 1973 he created Akademia Ruchu that crowned his artistic ideas and at the same time became a point of departure into new, experimental ventures. Akademia Ruchu known as the “theater of behavior” combined performative actions and visual arts creating politically charged interventions in all sorts of public and sometimes private spaces. Involving regular bystanders, the actions politicized the society and to a great extent contributed to the erosion of communism.

After the fall of communism in Poland in 1990 Wojciech Krukowski, an art historian by profession, became a director of the Center of Contemporary Art, Zamek Ujazdowski, in Warsaw and he held this function till 2009. Since then he devoted all his energy to his creative activities.

It is hard to imagine experimental performance without the invigorating presence of Wojciech Krukowski, one of the most humble, but at the same time innovative artists and organizers of cultural life in Poland. His ideals and concepts will be continued by his wife Joanna, and the remaining members of his ensemble that decided to keep the Academy of Movement moving.

Krystyna Lipińska Illakowicz teaches Polish language, theatre, and film at Yale University. She writes on Polish-American cultural exchanges, theatre, and film. She has published both in English and Polish about Witold Gombrowicz, Bruno Schulz, Tadeusz Kantor, and others. Currently she is working on a book tentatively titled The Image of America in Poland in the 1920s and 1930s.

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