Karol Radziszewski: QAI/RU

Karol Radziszewski: QAI/RUKarol Radziszewski: QAI/RU


As part of Garage Field Research, Karol Radziszewski continues his long-term project Queer Archives Institute (QAI). The QAI initiative is a not-for-profit organization engaged in artistic activity, research, collecting, digitization, presentation, display, analysis, and artistic interpretation of queer archives primarily from the countries of the former Eastern Bloc.

Post-socialist states, where many historical threads have been ruptured or, indeed, never actually emerged, are witnessing attempts to construct national identities anew and develop new narratives. History, including art history, is largely (re)constructed and sometimes manipulated depending on the current political conditions. In his artistic practice Radziszewski takes special interest in strategies that provide possibilities to actively respond to these processes. In doing so, he undertakes to review history, rewriting it from an artistic perspective and complementing the main narratives with neglected threads, with a particular focus on minority voices. Radziszewski’s efforts toward queering and decolonizing history are founded on the archives that he acquires and studies.

Principal sites of study in this project are artifacts from Garage Archive Collection and independent/private archives such as the Moscow Archive of Gays and Lesbians and those of Natalya Kamenetskaya, Dmitry Kuzmin, and Irina Aktuganova. Radziszewski also intends to interview older LGBTQ community representatives for the QAI oral history series and to produce a Russia-related issue DIK Fagazine, a publication that usually summarizes the artist’s research in a particular country or region. The magazine is the first and, so far, the only artistic periodical from Central and Eastern Europe devoted entirely to queer topics and themes. First published in March 2005, DIK Fagazine combines archival research with contemporary artistic contributions.

Queer Archives Institute is an artistic project run by one person, the artist himself, but based on collaborations. The initiative attempts to activate a new way of thinking about the potential form of an independent quasi-institution. As it develops a collection, such an entity does not automatically need to pursue classic museum status, but may seek to preserve its performative, critical, sometimes interventionist character. It is a long-term project open to international collaboration with artists, activists, and academics. QAI exhibitions have already been shown at Videobrasil, São Paulo; Y Gallery of Contemporary Art, Minsk; Fundación Gilberto Alzate Avendaño, Bogota; Centrala, Birmingham; Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb; HAU/Schwules Museum, Berlin; and Center for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw.

Status: 2020–2022

Researcher: Karol Radziszewski



Karol Radziszewski (b. 1980) lives and works in Warsaw, where he received his MFA from the Academy of Fine Arts in 2004. He works with film, photography, and installations and creates interdisciplinary projects. His archive-based methodology crosses multiple cultural, historical, religious, social, and gender boundaries. Since 2005 he has been the publisher and editor-in-chief of DIK Fagazine. He is the founder of the Queer Archives Institute (2015). His work has been presented in institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art and Zacheta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw; Whitechapel Gallery, London; Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna; New Museum, New York; VideoBrasil, Sao Paulo; TOP Museum, Tokyo; Cobra Museum, Amsterdam; Wroclaw Contemporary Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art in Krakow, and Muzeum Sztuki in Lodz. He has participated in several international biennales including PERFORMA 13, New York; 7th Göteborg Biennial; 4th Prague Biennial; and 15th WRO Media Art Biennale.