Critics’ Picks

View of “Karol Radziszewski, One Day These Kids…”, 2023.

View of “Karol Radziszewski, One Day These Kids…”, 2023.


Karol Radziszewski

Between Bridges
Adalbertstraße 43
February 10–April 15, 2023

Most of us have been there at one time or another: sitting up straight in a classroom, staring ahead at the horizon of a blackboard in an attempt to follow a history lesson. Artist, archivist, and activist Karol Radziszewski conjures that sensation with “One Day These Kids...” Accompanied by an array of talks, this performative exhibition marks another chapter of ther artist’s engagement with queer archives from Central and Eastern Europe. The show’s title alludes to David Wojnarowicz’s photostat Untitled (One Day This Kid . . .), 1990, in which the artist reflects on past experiences of homophobic violence and discrimination. Radziszewski’s exhibition is structured around the central installation The Classroom, 2023, which has been assembled from fourteen school desks from the end of the 1990s that the artist sourced from Poland. Under the desks are assorted wads of ancient chewing gum, on their surfaces some pencil drawings, articles, and collages exploring queer desires and historiographies. Along the walls, The Gallery of Portraits, 2020—, depicts figures whose queerness has been effaced from their biographies: among them, Ukrainian writer and feminist Olha Kobylianska (1863–1942); the Armenian film director and artist Sergei Parajanov (1924–1990); and the Polish physicist and transgender activist Ewa Hołuszko. Completing the pedagogical visual grammar of the space are the green poured concrete floor and the set of neon lamps that Between Bridges’ founder Wolfgang Tillmans brought from London to Berlin.

Mobilizing the power structures of the classroom, Radziszewski turns our attention to the lessons not taught, not learnt, not allowed, both back when he was a student and now. He plays with the embodied tension between the memory of a disciplinary regime and the fundamental necessity of open, shame-free access to knowledge, and between the repressed history of sexuality and an affirmative construction of gender.