Concert at Mr Thug’s 2009 – 2010. Painting, film, photography, performance.
Mister Thug, or Mister Jan, was my homeless neighbour, a scrap metal collector. He lived in an abandoned hut, with no windows or door. He lived in it throughout the winter. I knew he was still alive when every morning I saw the smoke of his bonfire from my window. One day he gave me a white plastic lily. In the spring of 2009 I plucked up the courage to enter his garden and have a chat with him.
After that, I would borrow from Mister Jan interesting objects that he had collected in order to use them as models for my works. We often smoked cigarettes together by his bonfire. I think that we got quite friendly. In July, I organised in his garden an exhibition of the paintings that were the fruit of our acquaintance. Thanks to my action, Mister Jan became a more familiar figure in the neighbourhood and also, I think, better liked. After the vernissage, for the first time since I had got to know him, he went to a public bath for the homeless. He also hung some pictures on his hut. Two months later, his son paid him a visit. A year later, during the summer holidays, the assistant in the local grocery shop told me that Mister Jan was dead. His homeless neighbours confirmed this piece of information.
I decided to organise a concert dedicated to his memory in the same garden. I invited my sister Teresa Grebchenko, a percussionist, to make a performance.
Teresa played an improvised work, based on graphic scores from the 1960s. The instruments were made from locally found scrap metal and from bells made out of bottles of the e-cigarette liquid Wiśnia Extra. This resulted in a video documenting the performance and a cycle of oil paintings, with music recorded by Teresa. The music was played on the same objects that were depicted in the paintings.
The artists who took part in this project were: Teresa Grebchenko, Piotr Pawlus – video operator, Piotr Madej – sound engineer