Krzysztof Honowski

Krzysztof Honowski

I work to describe the condition of exile. I look at exile as both historical fact and as how people become alienated from their societies and from themselves.

Born in London in 1986, Krzysztof Honowski studied English Literature at the University of Cambridge, and completed his postgraduate studies in Art at the Slade School of Fine Art in London and the Academy of Media Arts (KHM) Cologne. He is a doctoral candidate in Art Theory at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna.

He has presented performances, videos, and exhibitions internationally. These include Kustom Kar Kommandos Karaoke (2015-16) at the Barbican London, Sound Acts Festival Athens, and a.m. London as well as And Now The Screen Is Struck By Lightning (2019-21) at Tropez Berlin and PACT Zollverein. Group presentations include Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, ISSUE New York, and Jewish Museum Berlin.

In 2019 his short film Beasts Of No Nation had its world premiere at the Ruhrtriennale and was selected for the Official German Competition at the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen 2020. Since then it has been shown worldwide as part of the Emerging Artists programme of the German Short Film Association and German Films. A new installation with Laura Sundermann will be presented at Kunstverein Leverkusen in 2022.

In my practice I work to describe the condition of exile. I look at exile as both historical fact and as how people become alienated from their societies and from themselves. The pieces that I make often engage with concrete political moments by working through how these may have already been investigated in historical works of film or performance art. I am interested in how the poetic and artistic strategies of the recent past can be examined anew, often by combining them with contemporary digital prosumer methods and technologies. Through this approach multiple stories and temporalities can take place simultaneously in my work, producing the effect of a displacement. I make an offer to the viewer to join me in decoding, enjoying, and making sense of it.

Beasts Of No Nation

HD Video / 09:28 min / 2019

01:00 min excerpt

Official Selection German Competition International Short Film Festival Oberhausen 2020
Premiere at the Ruhrtriennale, Bochum on 15.9.2019

An essay film about crowds, nationalism, and the loneliness of rollercoasters. Born in London to Polish immigrants and now living in Germany, Krzysztof Honowski is very confused by what is happening right now in the two countries that he comes from. Examining the roots of his own political disappointment Honowski, together with the German actress Laura Sundermann, attempts to create a narrative that “speaks for a generation”.

This is of course impossible, and this parody of a grand narrative soon gets derailed by the small details of the everyday. Honowski and Sundermann’s narrator must instead confront their own cowardice, exhaustion, and disavowal.

Beasts of No Nation combines found footage from American documentaries about rollercoasters and fan shot footage of Eastern European football crowds with staged sequences. This collage slowly unfolds to the sound of a damaged copy of Luigi Nono’s Un Volto, Del Mare, a piece written shortly after the unfulfilled revolutions of 1968.

Performed and narrated by Laura Sundermann
with the participation of Bradley Davies and Kalli

Arabic Subtitles: Nadine Makarem
German Subtitles: Philipp Rühr

Not To Be Or Not Not To Be I & II

HD Video /  05:00 min / 2021

Two visual scores produced together with Rashad Becker for Issue Project Room, New York and AvanTokyo, Japan.

Two collages of diaristic fragments, phantasms, and totems. Each considers the importance of fantasy and desire for survival during a period of sensory deprivation. These contemporary vanitas images explicitly consider the incidental macabre of unceasing production in the face of global crisis.

Originally presented by ISSUE Project Room, New York and AvanTokyo as part of the Distant Pairs streaming collaboration with Fuji||||||||||ta on 22nd July 2021.

And Now The Screen Is Struck By Lightning

HD Video / 08:19 min / 2019–2021

A work about Berlin and the idea of the West, And Now The Screen Is Struck By Lightning takes as its starting point Tabea Blumenschein’s performance as Her, the drunk in Ulrike Ottinger’s 1979 feature film Ticket Of No Return. Blumenschein was the ultimate West Berlin superstar, whose celebrity came to an abrupt end with the fall of the wall. For a time she was homeless and now lives at the city’s periphery. Berlin meanwhile, has made the opposite journey. A city that was once on the furthest edge of “Western“ Europe is now at its centre. And if there’s anything the 20th century has taught us, it’s that the centre cannot hold.

With Bishop Black, Etoile Chaville, and Laura Sundermann. Costumes created by Ryan Chappell.

Based on a performance by Peter Cant and Krzysztof Honowski presented at Tropez in Berlin on 15 & 16.6.2019 at the invitation of Clare Molloy and Clara Meister.

And Now The Screen Is Struck By Lightning was developed into a two-part video work during a residency at PACT Zollverein in May 2020, the first part of which was broadcast online by PACT Zollverein in summer 2020. It was then shown in full online by Tropez TV and screened live at PACT Zollverein WerkStadt in Essen in 2021.