WILL. by Nicholas Grafia and Mikołaj Sobczak is a prequel to a new performance project premiering in Fall ’21 and shows both, a preliminary result of the current process and a recap of previous work connected to it. The works are sketches that tribute some of the duo’s main inspirational sources, figures and historical moments.
Grafia’s collage »Call-In Rage, Call-In Care« (1) shows Afro-American artists Essex Hemphil and Marlon Riggs. Both artists, aesthetically and topically, have been an important influence of the duo’s works ever-since. Through film, (oral) poetry and activism Riggs and Hemphil have been loud, artistic voices against (black) homophobia and the governance of the black body. Images that are crucial part of Grafia’s work itself.
Portrayed in Sobczak’s »Will« (2) are historic characters and activists Thaddeus Kościuszko, Jean Lapierre, Aggrippa Hull, Chief Little Turtle, Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera. It reassembles historic moments like the Gay Liberation Movements and the American Revolutionary War and holds examples for stark actions following the idea of liberation: Chief Little Turtle, who then fought the most decisive defeat in the history of the American military, General Kościuszko’s vision of freeing and educating African-American slaves, Marsha P. Johnson’s and Sylvia Riviera’s partaking in the Stonewall Riots, which resulted into modern LGBT rights movement all over the world...
Sobczak’s series on insurrectionary anarchism (3-6) focuses on the transformation of anarchist activity and unifying tactics and together with the audio-work »It’s 10PM. Do you know where your children are« allows us to zoom in and out between global mass movements and the complex conflicts of individual subjects themselves. Seeing those presented figures and ideas come to life in the new performance project is something to look forward to. Results will be shown at steirischer herbst ’21 and in HKW in fall this year.
As an artist duo, Nicholas Grafia and Mikołaj Sobczak are known for their extraordinary performances and video-works in which historic figures or iconic characters become part of a new version of history telling. The works are based on citations and references, academic and historic research and they result into their very own language: loud and colorful, insightful but simultaneously vulnerable and enriched with lots of painful truths about the westernized world.
Through their works, Grafia and Sobczak advertise a perspective beyond cis- heteronormative eurocentrism, while abolishing hegemonial hierarchies. This makes them outstanding advocates of the possibility of a different world, that could become a brighter future through the stories of these mentors of the past.

This installment is a prequel for the duo's new performance project premiering in autumn this year.

Diese Ausstellung ist ein Projekt im Rahmen von WELL* am Ebertplatz und wird gefördert von der Stiftung Kunstfonds im Rahmen von NEUSTART KULTUR. GOLD+BETON ist Teil vom Brunnen e.V. - dem Zusammenschluss der Kunsträume am Ebertplatz - der vom Kulturamt der Stadt Köln gefördert wird.