Principle of Equality – Open Studio

Inaugural Public Lecture by Anka Ptaszkowska, followed by a conversation with Adam Szymczyk


Adam Szymczyk appointed as Lecturer at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna and initiates the project “Principle of Equality—Open Studio” (March 2019–February 2020).

From March 2019 to February 2020 Adam Szymczyk is appointed as lecturer and initiator of the project “Principle of Equality—Open Studio.” Situated within the Institute of Fine Arts at the Academy, the two-semester program comprises of different forms and formats of student participation, including an inaugural public event, a program of lectures, follow-up sessions, a study trip, and an exhibition as the final outcome of the group’s activities to be presented in Fall 2019.

The project was initiated by Kontakt Collection and is realized in cooperation with ERSTE Foundation and the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna.

Principle of Equality—Open Studio

“Principle of Equality” is a term that Polish polymath curator, writer, and philosopher-activist Anka Ptaszkowska used as a guiding concept for her seminar at École supérieure d’Arts et Médias in Caen, France, where she taught in the 1980s and 1990s. The program “Principle of Equality” at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna in 2019 will continue along the political lines drafted by Ptaszkowska in her text and embodied by her multifarious practice.
Intuitively, equality is the twin sister of freedom. To proclaim the “Principle of Equality” within an esteemed educational institution sets the tone for this program, which is different to predetermining an outcome. Rather it opens up a space for uninhibited practice, individual or collective, and dependent on the participant. Attention is given to listening and being listened to, those two states that form reciprocity, as seen in the dual figures of speaker/receiver (as per artist Moyra Davey), writer/reader, artist/viewer. At some point in the process, these distinctions and their attendant hierarchies must give way to new relationships between equals.

Inaugural Public Lecture: Principle of Equality
By Anka Ptaszkowska, followed by a conversation with Adam Szymczyk
(in French and Polish, with simultaneous English translation)

March 19, 2019, 6 pm
Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Aula
Augasse 2–6, 1090 Vienna

Adam Szymczyk, Anka Ptaszkowska and Daniel Buren among the guests at the opening of Buren Stażewski Krasiński – Wspólna historia/Common History 1970 – 1994 at the Instytut Awangardy in Warsaw, Photo: Anna Zaradny, MAGIC, 2018 © Foksal Gallery Foundation

Adam Szymczyk

Szymczyk was Artistic Director of documenta 14 in Athens and Kassel, 2017. In 1997 he was co-founder of the “Stiftung Galerie Foksal” in Warsaw. From 2004 to 2007 he was director of the Kunsthalle Basel. In 2008, together with Elena Filipovic, he curated the 5th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art WHEN THINGS CAST NO SHADOW.

He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw and the Advisory Board of Kontakt, the Art Collection of Erste Group and ERSTE Foundation in Vienna. In 2011 he was awarded the Walter Hopps Prize for his curatorial achievements at the Menil Foundation in Houston.

Photo: © Gina Folly

Anka Ptaszkowska

Ptaszkowska (* 1935) is neither an art historian nor an art critic. From 1966-1970 she worked with the gallery Krzywe Kolo in Warsaw. She was editor of the Polish art magazine Struktury and Wiadomosci Plastyczne, and founder and co-director of the Foksal Gallery in Warsaw. From 1973 she directed the Gallery 1-36 and the Vitrine for l’art actuel (1977-1980) in Paris.

Ptaszkowska has organized numerous exhibitions and international exchange projects, such as Échange Entre Artistes, Pologne – USA, Experience Muséographique, Henryk Stazewski. From 1984 to 2003 she was Professor of Art History and Culture at the École des Beaux-Arts in Caen.

She is the author of numerous publications on modern art, in particular a monograph on Henryk Stazewski and a series of articles on Tadeusz Kantor; Articles and publications on French and international modern art; Essays on Polish and Russian contemporary art for Art Press; Co-author of Kantor à la Galerie Foksal, Galeria Foksal, Warsaw. Translations include Guy Debord’s La Societe du Spectacle, Slowo / Obraz Terytoria Gdansk. She is currently organizing Soirées privées in the former studio of Eustachy Kossakowski in Paris.

Florian Bauer

Director Social Finance, Sustainability and Innovation
Since 2023, Florian Bauer has been responsible for social finance, sustainability and social innovation at ERSTE Foundation. Prior to this role, Florian worked in the NGO & Social Entrepreneurship sector for more than 13 years. He led the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP), an international multilateral NGO that works to accelerate market-based deployment of renewable energy and energy efficient systems in developing countries, and was Managing Director & COO of the Impact Hub Vienna. From 2020-2023, Florian established strategic alliances with key partners and helped to create innovative semantic technology solutions at Semantic Web Company (SWC), a leading IT company in semantic AI solutions.