A feature film centered around the figure of Oskar Dawicki. The artist himself plays the title role in a cinematic narrative of his life, a story interwoven with his signature performances, staged especially for the screen. The film also presents the works of other artists, such as Dawicki’s mentor, Zbigniew Warpechowski, who likewise makes an appearance in the movie.
The film was conceived by Łukasz Ronduda as an extension of the novel “Half Empty. The Life and Works of Oskar Dawicki” (2010), the first instance in which the artist’s life and artistic output were fictionalized. The film was produced by Wajda Studio as a joint project by a curator in the field of visual art (Ronduda), a film director (Sobieszczański) and the artist (Dawicki). The cast also included some of Poland’s top acting talents, such as Agata Buzek and Andrzej Chyra, along with a cameo from renowned curator Anda Rottenberg.
Following a number of festival screenings and a prize at the Berlinale (in the Expanded Forum section), the film went into distribution in Poland. Below is an excerpt from a press note on “Performer”:
In the film we meet Dawicki at a critical moment, when his Mentor (Zbigniew Warpechowski) is on his deathbed. Warpechowski is also the master of Dearest (Andrzej Chyra), Oskar’s childhood friend and current rival, an artist who had banked his career on the commercial and made a fortune because of it. Dawicki’s many-layered relationship with his Dealer (Agata Buzek) and lover as well, complicates the plot further. As in the case of Dawicki’s entire body of work, moral and societal norms are questioned. [...] “Performer” is the first exhibition of art presented in the form of a full-length film. The combination of artistic performance and cinematic action, paired with documentary footage and a fictional narrative, come together to create an astonishing picture of the world of contemporary art.