NOVY MIT. Heródek.


What is Novy mit? We are interested in telling the history of Heródek from scratch and in a new way.

The facts first: We are interested in Heródek, the conscious artist. Heródek, the literate. Heródek the humanist. Heródek, the philosopher. Heródek, the jazzman. Heródek the activist. Heródek, the friend of animals. Heródek the prophet.

We actually began telling the new tale of Heródek in 2012. What happened in 2012 turned out to have triggered what is happening around Wójciak today, or even what is still to happen. It is 2017. Even two or three years ago it seemed impossible or rather unimagined.

Earlier Heródek returns to Lipnica Wielka in 2012. The inhabitants of Lipnica watch the performance entitled The Failed Relative. In 2013, after 44 years, the artist’s photograph appears on the gravestone. In 2014 Heródek’s dream comes true symbolically: in the parish church his sculptures are displayed for one day. Novy mit leads us to 2019. This is when we will be celebrating 50th anniversary of the artist’s death and, let’s hope, the exhibition NOVY MIT / TROPY HERÓDKA (NEV MYTH HERÓDEK’S TRACKS) will be opened. The first exhibition, including as many exhibits as possible, gathered through the online Gnotek Counter. Gnotek in Lipnica dialect means simply a woodblock and this is how he called his sculptures. This ‘Heródek Woodstock’ will bring plenty of his sculptures together.

Here are some motifs we are going to tackle in Novy mit. We wish for enhanced dimensions of Heródek. The merry peasant’ is no longer sufficient for us. There exist prerequisites pointing out to the fact that he had a sense of being different and being predestined for something more than just being a shepherd. The inhabitants of Lipnica Wielka will talk together with us. We are not going to interfere with their statements. We will leave them without an evaluation or comments. There will also be art historians, curators, passionate collectors, other amateur artists, sceptics and maybe doctors speaking as well.

The fact that Heródek was literate will come as a considerable surprise for the supporters of the theory of his illiteracy. There is remaining evidence to that on pieces of paper at the Władysław Orkan Museum in Rabka-Zdrój. Karol wrote his surname with ‘V’. The ‘V’ just had to appear in Novy mit (or The Nev Myth if you prefer the English version). We are investigating the impact of Heródek’s art on Polish culture. As the first ones, we weigh his sculptures. We want to undertake the discussion if the nickname ‘Orawski Nikifor’, brought him more good or harm.

The fans of in crudo music will enjoy a treat. Till now, Heródek the musician was assessed from the point of view of the musicologist Janusz Mroczek (Heródek’s Music Making; Heródkowe muzykowanie, PSL, 1972, vol. 26, issue 4, pp. 215–222). Ludwik Młynarczyk from Kiczory will tell a new story of Wójciak the musician. A violinist, a teacher, a genuine music maker, Młynarczyk played together with Heródek.

Art historian Żaneta Groborz-Mazanek will talk in Novy mit about the phenomenon of Heródek’s output, about his art evading traditional classification. She will give us the key to reading Heródek’s output. Heródek’s sculpture, on the borderline between incompatible styles of expression will put together what is separate and Heródek will reveal his face unknown to date.

Finally the question of the gender of sculptures, so far described as genderless.

Heródek as a sculptor is mainly associated with simple forms. Among them are vertical poles, vertical poles with wings, vertical poles with characteristic arms (Resurrected Christs), vertical poles with two persons from one trunk, and finally, vertical poles without polychrome. There are no horizontal forms (e.g. Christ’s falls, Infant Jesus in the cradle) nor sitting ones (Pensive Christs), nor crucified Christs. Instead, there appears another new form: a painted, slightly carved board. Two such exhibits can be found in the museums in Zubrzyca Górna and Zakopane. There is also the third board, yet we know nothing about what has happened to it and where it is.

Around the thread of discovering Heródek, there will appear a pioneering publication concerning the late Jerzy Darowski. It will be published thanks to the close cooperation of the project authors with Darowski’s relatives.

We will also be asking for the memories of the amateur actors participating in the performance The Failed Relative. They will be taken care of by Magdalena Urbańska, theatre studies graduate, currently doing her PhD in film studies.

There is much more to be told, possibly not everything can be told. The myth, to be enlivened, needs to be faced with a menace. It will do anything not to be annihilated through forgetting. The core of the tale will remain unchanged: Heródek who could weave his myth about the courage to live his own way.

How long will Heródek’s Novy mit last?

We are going to keep it on until the exhibition and the publishing of the accompanying publication in 2019. What will happen then? Some people believe that it is only the beginning of discovering Heródek’s world – what we know is only the top of an iceberg.

We are unable to predict it today. We hope we will be followed by others.

Whoever they will be, we want them to tell Heródek’s myth in a supernev way.


                                                                                                                         Maja Spychaj-Kubacka