Józef Robakowski is one of the most prominent figures of the Central European avant-garde art. He is a creator of films, photographic series, video tapes, installations, drawings, objects, conceptual projects and initiator of many events, exhibitions and artistic actions. He also works in art theory and criticism, gives lectures, and coordinates artistic actions.
He studied art history in the Department of Fine Arts of the Mikołaj Kopernik University in Toruń, and cinematography at the National Higher School of Film, Television and Theatre (PWSFTviT) in Łódź. In Toruń, he was the founder of artistic collectives Oko (1960), Zero-61 (1961-1969), and Krąg (1965-1967), and member of the ‘Pętla’ Student Cine Club (1960-1966). In Łódź, he co-organised the Workshop of Film Form (from 1970), and the ‘Stacja Ł’ Television Creative Group (1991-1992). He teaches at the National Higher School of Film, Television and Theatre in Łódź.
Since 1971, he has been running a private gallery of present art, the aim of which is exchanging artistic thoughts, provoking creative initiatives – Galeria Wymiany (Exchange Gallery). The gallery collects films, videotapes, documentation, it also produces video films and is a contact office for the international artistic movement INFERMENTAL. Since 1959 Robakowski has been organising and participating in many exhibitions and art productions of the so-called different media.
- Impulsators (Impulsatory) (2000)
- Vital Video (1994)
- 1,2,3,4, (Light Cheeks) 1,2,3,4 (Videopoliczki) (1993)
- Idle Line (Gnuśna linia) (1992)
- My Leg Hurts (Ojej, boli mnie noga) (1990)
- More Air! (Powietrza!) (1985)
- I’m Going (Idę) (1973)
- 22x (1971)
- Test II. (1971)
- Test (1971)
- Market (Rynek) (1970)
- Krasznahorkai, Kata: “… I reject temporality”. An Interview with Józef Robakowski, 29th Dec 2008, Fair 04/I-2009
- Kuc, Kamilia and O’Pray, Michael (2014) The Struggle for Form. Perspectives on Polish Avant-Garde Film 1916-1989. London: Wallflower Press.
- Ronduda, Lukasz (2009) Polish Art of the 70s. Warsaw: Center for Contemporary Art.
- Ronduda, Łukasz and Zeyfang, Florian (2007) 1,2,3… Avant-Gardes: Film/Art between Experiment and Archive. Warsaw: Centre for Contemporary Art, and Berlin/New York: Sternberg.
- Borkowski, Grzegorz (2012) “Extended Cinema and Material Cinema – Grzegorz Borkowski talks with Józef Robakowski”, TRANZYSTOR CSWZU, nr 4—07.2012.
- Ronduda, Łukasz (2004) Subversive Strategies in the Media Arts: Józef Robakowski’s Found Footage and Video Scratch, Wro Art Center, July 2004