Grass just Grass (1996)
Bednarski, Krzysztof M.

collection Academy of Fine Arts, Faculty of conservation, Warsaw, Poland
case researchers Monika Jadzinska, Iwona Szmelter

Grass just Grass, dated 1996, by Krzysztof M. Bednarski sculptor, action artist, installation artist, poster designer is essentially an autobiographical work, drawing on personal history and symbolic representation. The installation is connected with emotional experiences of the author as well as the viewer. Bednarski uses interaction leading to the expression of emotions and associations, with a particular role for the site as an inherent element of the artwork.

The artwork consists of different elements: twelve wooden boxes, 1800 m of cut green coated barbed wire, small red cotton balls, ‘dirty’ peat full of pieces of leaves, sticks, conifer needles etc., four working light bulbs, sound from a CD.
The viewer is faced with a simple form made of ordinary materials, affecting his/her senses and intellect. What can be put into words is revealed in the course of the ’second reading’.

The work has been repeatedly presented in various arrangements, in several versions and adaptations. The artist places particular emphasis on the closed sensual and physical contact with the green grass with small red balls that turn out to be the barbed wire. This work is a sort of field of energy, open form, the space outlined by the artist to liberate thoughts, associations and possible interpretations. But the artwork and artist’s attitude had changed in the physical and metaphorical sense due to external and internal conditions, time, historical and personal circumstances.

Misinterpretations of the meaning of the artwork, distortion of the truth, problems of re-installation and attempts to situate a work in inappropriate space with the lack of some integral elements like scent, dampness and sound, seem to be the most controversial subjects for preservation, presentation and conservation/restoration treatments.