Pitch-In Culture Archive
The Pitch-In Culture was a unique phenomenon of Polish cultural landscape of the 1980s. This informal community brought together radical, critical, and progressive artists from two different generations: the former members of the Zero-61 group and the Film Form Workshop, who had begun their activities back in the 1960s and their younger colleagues, who were breaking up with conceptualism and the ethos of the avant-garde. The nihilistic, anarchistic, neo-Dada circle of the Pitch-In Culture distanced itself both from the state-supported art and from the so-called “church” art created by artists related to the political opposition. The Pitch-In Culture Collection presents artists, their works, manifestos and texts, as well as the documentation of exhibitions and artistic performances.
Name of collection
- Pitch-In Culture
Provenance and cultural activities
The Pitch-In Culture was an artistic alternative phenomenon whose climax of activities occurred between 1981 and 1987. It was not a typical art group but rather a constellation of artists who chose sharing as a way of living, working, partying, and creating. The very name of the Pitch-In Culture evoked a sense of a community and referred both to collective creative work and the practice of chipping in to buy a bottle of vodka. The Pitch-In Culture was linked with The Attic — a private workshop and a gallery in the attic of a building at ulica Piotrkowska (Łódź) and Teofilów, the location of plein-air sessions of neo-avant-garde artists. The phenomenon can be seen as a part of the movement of private galleries formed in Poland in the 1970s and 1980s. In their actions the community used wit, bluff, and provocation to challenge the official, mainstream art, the so-called “church” exhibitions, and social standards.
The Pitch-In Culture produced a number of scattered materials, i.e. photos, videos, ready-made art, and manifestos, which were collected and stored as a kind of “family archive” by Zofia Łuczko who participated in the events. The revival of interest in the achievements of the Pitch-In Culture and the disputes regarding its legacy reached their peak in 2012 during meetings dedicated to the work of this group. It was then when artists associated with the Łódź Kaliska encouraged Zofia Łuczko to take the effort to make the collected materials available. The collection, supplemented by private archives of Grzegorz Zygier and the members of Łódź Kaliska was published on a dedicated website using the help and the infrastructure of the City of Culture Foundation (managed by Zofia Łuczko with her husband and her son).
The on-line collection presents the heritage of scattered materials. It gives the voice to the artists and answers numerous inquiries from researchers interested in the subject such as art historians, curators, and authors.
Due to a shortage of resources and staff, the Foundation discontinued digitalisation of the materials and suspended any educational activities. The Foundation cooperates with exhibitions organisers and producers of events associated with the avant-garde art of the 1980s, such as the Museum of Art in Łódź, and the Centre of Contemporary Art Znaki Czasu in Toruń. The website also serves as a communication platform between the general public and some of the creators of the Pitch-In Culture.
Neither the majority of the artists nor the creator of the collection herself feels related to the anti-communist political opposition. Their actions expressed dissent against official art represented by both public institutions and the symbolic elites of the art circles. Living and creating together was an anarchistic gesture of establishing of an alternative community and a neo-Dada provocation following the rules of inconsistency. The participants of the Pitch-In Culture were simultaneously members of other art groups, e.g. Łódź Kaliska and the City Hall (Urząd Miasta). Despite their reluctance to join political activism, the social network of the Pitch-In Culture was surveilled by the Security Service.
The range of collection’s materials in ample; it includes artefacts such as manifestos and leaflets, but mostly documentation of the events in the form of photos and notes, which give the collection a nature of an "archive of fragments". Some of them are devoted to discussions on the conditions of contemporary art and the situation of the artists while other reflect the socio-political reality of Polish People's Republic in the 1980s.Sources:
Jarosław Lubiak (ed.), "Szczerość i blaga. Etyka prac Łodzi Kaliskiej w latach 1979-89", Łódź 2009.
Marek Janiak (ed.), "Kultura Zrzuty", Warsaw 1989.
Description of content
The Pitch-In Culture was created mainly by photographers, art film and new media artists. It was the works and the attitudes of the older generation of creators and theoreticians, who to a varying degree were engaged in the movement — both former members of the Film Form Workshop and the Zero-61 groups (Józef Robakowski, Antoni Mikołajczyk, Andrzej Różycki et. al.) as well as those without direct links to any specific art group (e.g. Andrzej Partum, Anastazy B. Wiśniewski, Jan Świdziński) — that determined the main principles that guided this milieu. Although younger artists were by no means credulous towards their older colleagues, and often openly challenged them, as in the case of the conflict between Jacek Kryszkowski and Józef Robakowski, the Pitch-In Culture was founded upon the radical art of the 1970s, which explored the structure of new media (film, photography, and video) and their socio-cultural contexts, in accordance with the concept of Świdziński’s conceptual art. This focus on photography and other new media well reflects the content of the archives, which is dominated by photographs: both artistic works, and the documentation of happenings, art performances, meetings, and festivals. The collection also features several art films and video recordings.
Set as an alternative to the artistic mainstream and distanced from public institutions, the Pitch-In Culture community relied on personal relations between the artists, private galleries and studios, and had limited technical capabilities of pursuing interests in the new media art. Thus, many of the activities were single-time events: actions, happenings, art performances, and discussions. Apart from photographs, these events were documented using notes, which too can be found in the collection, as well as numerous sketches and drafts. Finally, manuscripts and typescripts of manifestos and other programme documents created by the Pitch-In Culture milieu constitute an important part of the collection.
Particularly significant were the art-zines: collectively prepared magazines containing drawings, photographs, poems, manifestos, reports, and anecdotes printed in small numbers. Without a doubt the Tango magazine was the flagship of the Pitch-In Culture. There were 9 issues (each with ca. 200 copies printed) published in the years 1983-1986. Additionally, Andrzej Kwietniewski was the author of a single issue of the Great Tango (Wielkie Tango), while Jacek Kryszkowski with the help of Elżbieta Kacprzak published the Halo Haloo magazine (later titled Hola Hoop and Hali Gali), while Marek Sobczak published the SDS journal. Other publications include The Attic Chronicle (Kronika Strychu) and Łódź Kaliska created by Łódź Kaliska and City Hall (Urząd Miasta). Publishing was among key activities, as it served the purpose of communication and helped to sustain the collaboration between the artists.
The Pitch-In Culture Collection also contains a number of posters, leaflets, brochures, and articles on the activities of the entire milieu or its particular members.
Marek Janiak (red.), "Kultura Zrzuty", Warszawa 1989.
- film: 0-9
- grey literature (regular archival documents such as brochures, bulletins, leaflets, reports, intelligence files, records, working papers, meeting minutes): 10-99
- manuscripts (ego-documents, diaries, notes, letters, drafts, etc.): 10-99
- memorabilia (posters, flyers, stamps, etc.): 10-99
- photos: 100-499
- publications (books, newspapers, articles, press clippings): 10-99
Stakeholder(s) of the collection
Date of founding
Place of founding
Łódź Piotrkowska 203/205, Poland
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Creator(s) of content
Important events in the history of the collection
- completely open to the public
Author(s) of this page
- Kruczkowska, Patrycja
- Stanczyk, Xawery
Łuczko, Zofia , interview by Kruczkowska, Patrycja , November 09, 2016. COURAGE Registry Oral History Collection