On 7 May 1977, Stanisław Pyjas, 24, a fifth-year student of Polish Studies at the Jagiellonian University, poet and anti-Communist opposition activist, died suddenly in unexplained circumstances. His death came as a shock to the academic community, his family and circle of friends, sparking the opposition movement activity in Kraków.
“The premise and aim of the proposed multimedia exhibition is to rekindle the memory of Stanisław Pyjas. Taking into account how higher-order values such as truth, courage, integrity, individualism, nonconformity, or respect for others are being devalued today, set against hypocrisy, cynicism, subservience, and opportunism, the exhibition will try to endorse the former as the foundations for social relations and incentives to action. As democratic values, paradoxically the very same that Stanisław Pyjas laid down his young life for, are currently in crisis, it seems imperative to recall his steadfast, brave, committed stance”, says the author of the project Dorota Nieznalska.
“Dorota Nieznalska's exhibition The Case of Stanisław Pyjas, just like her installation Violence and Memory shown in 2019 at MOCAK, represents a new artistic movement, which takes its roots from archival materials. This kind of art is characterised by full respect for the document and its truth. The artistic gesture consists in composing the selected images and texts in a specific way. The result is a message which voices the most important human and symbolic aspects. An exhibition becomes a surprisingly configured document revealing the artist's emotions, feelings and beliefs towards a subject which is important to them. Dorota Nieznalska is an artist of unique sensitivity. She is not afraid of potentially shocking contexts – for which she has often paid the price. Her art pertains to the issues with the strongest influence on human life and sensitivity, such as war, religion, and death. In the project The Case of Stanisław Pyjas, the choice of documents creates 'a picture of life defined by death'. The artist shows that the Communist system of surveillance also oppressed people for the fact that they wanted to read books, live in mental freedom and strive for dignified self-determination”, says the Director of Bunkier Sztuki art gallery Dr Maria Anna Potocka.
Photo: May 77 Archive