The communal approach is a resource for Paweł Althamer’s (b. 1967) artistic practice. This artist, trained in sculpture, involves his family members, neighbours and people he meets in the street. This collaboration produces sculptures – which the artist calls totems – that are the traces of the process that has taken place. His practice also involves moving in the public space and bringing the ways of making art to where people are. During his solo exhibition at HAM in 2019, for example, Althamer expanded his exhibition to Jakomäki, a suburb of Helsinki. What matters most in collaborative works is not what the end result looks like, but the process itself and playing together.
Searching for your own boundaries is part of Althamer’s art. The artist’s own body is the closest subject available to him, and through it he seeks contact with other people. By making art together with others he also provides the participants with the opportunity for a new kind of self-reflection. Althamer has produced collaborative works in a suburb of Warsaw where he has lived for many years. A suburban identity is an important part of what he is as an artist. In his participatory projects, Althamer does not recognize societal or social differences.
Photos: Matti Pyykkö