On 'Interleaving The Archive: Group Action With KK'

Holly Argent, 'Interleaving the Archive: Group Action With KK'

KwieKulik (KK), Przemyslaw Kwiek and Zofia Kulik, were a Polish artistic duo making work in Warsaw, Poland between 1971 and 1987. Their political and often ephemeral work attempted to expose their situation as artists working under communist rule in the People’s Republic of Poland.

Interleaving the archive (Group Action with KK) traverses, through subjective readings of KwieKulik’s archive and their various activities, research trips to Warsaw, moments of resistance, and reflections on the status of ‘art workers’ in contemporary economies.

The title uses the term interleave – to alternately insert pages into a book to either keep blank or use for personal notes – to describe the way fragment and fiction play a role in reflecting on the historicisation of artists who may have been overlooked. It also describes the physicality of carrying out research especially in archives, which are commonly centred on the document as a form that constitutes evidence of presence.

In Summer 2018 I received an exhibition catalogue from Michelle Hirschhorn-Smith for the Women Artists of the North East Library. It was for Zofia Kulik’s first UK solo exhibition in 1995 at Zone Gallery (1992 – 1998) in Newcastle, touring to Dundee and Bristol. At that moment, Kulik’s practice had a different kind of proximity to me than it had before. Interleaving the Archive is an attempt to think again about that feeling of attraction to another artist’s practice, which could possibly also be ‘invention’ and influenced by what else occupies your peripheries.

The writer Holly Pester suggests that tactics such as gossip and anecdote are not only credible and legitimate research methodologies but are critical tools for encountering historical archives that are already concerned with marginalised histories or situated knowledges.1 I find something exciting about the potential of these methods that encourage plot building and an openness to the construction of artistic legacies, especially when as an interloper, I will only ever have a limited knowledge of post-war Warsaw or Newcastle’s art science in the 90s.

Thank you to the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw and the Kulik-KwieKulik Foundation for the permission to screen KwieKulik’s films.

This work was developed during Hospitalfields Interdisciplinary Residency 2019. Thank you to the Hospitalfields team and residency group.


Holly Argent

Holly Argent graduated from Newcastle University in 2017. Besides the library itself, and the exhibition at Workplace Foundation, she has recently presented work at Arthouses, Whitley Bay; The Everyday Political at CGP, London (July 2018), Studio is Sudden: with Giles Bailey and CIRCA Projects; and The Northern Charter. She co-curated Where Do We Go From Here? at Ex Libris Gallery. Argent was awarded the Forshaw Rome Residency at The British School at Rome from Newcastle University (July 2017) and the Luby’s Legs Foundation Emerging Artist Bursary. She currently sits on the Programme Committee at The Northern Charter.