Self-interview with selfie – Jakub Ceglarz, artist

We copyrighted the idea in 2012. The concept is simple. We identify emerging creatives, interesting people who we believe will be captivating to read about. We invite people to interview themselves and to take a selfie. The self-interview with selfie was inspired by an empirical tool specifically for use in memory studies research. Our idea was developed to overcome some of the practical limitations of one-to-one interviews and address a new type of journalism. We ask queer creatives & interesting people to interview themselves. The manner can be through storytelling, diary-keeping, questions, images, sound, or any other meaning of representation. We believe it is interesting what our guests wanna tell people about themselves avoiding the intrusion by another person. Today we invited Jakub Ceglarz.

Jakub Ceglarz, selfie

INTERVIEW WITH JAKUB CEGLARZ BY JAKUB CEGLARZ

Interview over coffee that didn’t take place, but it happened anyway; sometime between 2019-2021*

*[because queer time matters differently]

JC notes:

As I approached Lab 155, an artist-run space in Bologna, I wondered about the exhibition I was about to see. The show “Love” included installation works by queer Polish artists Jakub Ceglarz. From what I knew, it would feature pieces that visually intersect domestic and erotic matters. When I entered the small gallery space, I noticed dicks – quite a lot of them if I need to be honest. Phalluses on both large walls, phalluses on the table that occupied the middle of the space and phalluses featured on hand towels that were gently hanged in the corner. Jakub was sitting on a small foldable chair on the right side of the gallery near the entrance – he startled me when I walked in.

JC

(cheerfully)

Hello!

JC

Hi! Apologies, I got startled a bit…

JC

Oh! Sorry. How are you? Was it hard to find the gallery?

JC

I am well, thank you. No, it wasn’t – Google Maps is a saviour sometimes. How are you?

JC

(giggles)

Oh, yes – Google Maps can be helpful. I am good, thanks. Would you like a coffee or tea?

JC

Coffee, please.

JC

Great, let me make you some while you wander around the gallery and then we can sit down and talk. Do you take milk and sugar?

JC

No milk, a lot of sugar, please.

JC

(giggles)

Just like me…

JC

(giggles)

Yeah, like you…

Jakub Ceglarz, “Love” exhibition, Lab 155, Bologna, 2019

JC notes:

I was left alone in the gallery. I looked around it, trying to understand where to start. I noticed a small stack of papers covered in phallus-shaped confetti on the table. I figured it would be a guide or something like that. While lifting the papers, I focused on the table cloth that was made from a shiny mustard colour latex-like fabric, decorated with embroidered phalluses in different shapes and sizes. On the biggest one, I noticed the phrase “There is a sad gaiety in our love”. 

JC

Jakub?! That phrase on the table cloth sounds familiar.

JC

(a voice from the back of the gallery)

It is a quote. Jean Genet “Our Lady of The Flowers”.

JC

Aaa – I see.

JC

I use it quite a lot. If you turn around you will see a large grey phallus. On its balls, there is a phrase “their warm sperm” … I am not sure why I put it there, but, and it might be just me, there is something … hmmm … weirdly cosy about the phrase “warm sperm”.

JC

Do you read Genet a lot?

JC

Occasionally.

(takes a pause)

Coffee is almost ready.

JC

What else interests you? And may I ask, why all the phalluses?

JC

(shouts)

Fuck! Sorry! Shit!

I burned myself!

I didn’t hear you over the cattle. Can you repeat the question?

JC

Why the dicks?

JC

(giggles)

It emerged from few things. The first would be the “LOVE” piece that is opposite the felt grey penis. It is made from wall stickers that are made from photographs of a homemade dildo. A cast of my own dick… I know, I know… it is quite masturbatory of me. I wanted to use sexual and erotic materials to think through sexual practices, not in terms of the usual dichotomy of private/public, or hidden/revealed – but instead in terms of it being a part of the home ecology.

JC

Ecology?

JC

Yeah, ecology – dynamic, liveable tensions that produce a sense of spatial and temporal, and equal togetherness. I call it home.

JC

Hmmm…

JC

It can also be portable! Home, I mean.

(walks back to space with two mugs of coffee)

Coffee is ready.

JC

Oh, thank you. These mugs are fun – what is it that is written on them?

JC

Cocksucker – in red nail polish.

Jakub Ceglarz, “Love” exhibition, Lab 155, Bologna, 2019

JC notes:

The coffee was sweet and rejuvenating. Jakub walked with me through the exhibition – we touched almost every piece. This was odd for me yet pleasant. I started to think that sensuality and bodily contact with his work was essential. Jakub made a joke – not that funny – more as a distraction from our conversation. He seemed awkward when he spoke about his work. When I raised it with him he said that he has difficulty talking to people in an intimate, one-on-one setting. He then remarked: “It was always easier for me to have sex with someone, even a stranger than to have a conversation about myself and my work. So, I try making my work in a similar way – by trying to re-enact that sensual and visceral comfort”

JC

Thank you for the coffee. It was great.

JC

No problem. We should go see the garden. I have been working there too.

JC

Great. Lead the way

JC notes:

We stepped into the back of the gallery and emerged a year later in the garden of Jakub’s house in Birmingham, UK. The weather was sunny. At the back of the garden, I noticed a makeshift tent that Jakub put up to protect his works that lied on the gravel. There were additional phalluses here. A large white one with a red rope tightening its shaft – and detailed embroidery of another one adorned with a golden threat. Jakub pointed at the tent. 

JC

Every day I try to make some new work and arrange it together with the old work. I am playing around – trying to think through the sense of portability within my practice. I started to see myself as a queer snail of sorts.

JC

Snail?

JC

Yeah… it is something that I am wondering about. Snails have a different sense of time – they appear out of joint to the human way of life. They are fabulously different in that sense.

JC

I see…

JC

They are also both sticky and slimy at the same time. This somehow reminds me of a way that Crisco operated historically as lubricious materiality within the gay community. It both, provided comfort and ease to experience deep pleasures and, through the shared knowledge of its usage, bonded/glued communities together.

JC

Interesting, as far as I know, you can also cook with it.

JC

Oh, yes, yes. After all, it was created as a gastronomic product.

(moment of silence)

JC

Jakub, I don’t see any snails here…

JC

I don’t either – but thinking with a snail seems to make sense.

JC

Portable, comfortable, visceral, slimy and sticky home…

JC

A queer thing indeed.

Jakub Ceglarz, “Adoration in the Garden”, STRYX Gallery, Birmingham, 2020

 

ABOUT:
Jakub Jan Ceglarz is a queer Polish artist based in Birmingham, UK. He has exhibited his work nationally (Edinburgh, London, Birmingham, Blackpoll) and internationally (Portugal, Belgium, Hungary, Italy). His practice is concerned with queering social, political, historical and material structures of layers. He is challenging them by engaging with the sexual, visceral and mundane forms of homespun aesthetics. His work takes the form of performance-based, palimpsestuous films, photographs, embroidery, installations and art writings. He holds a PhD in Fine Art, Queer Theory and Continental Philosophy from Birmingham School of Art (2018). For his work, he received Mike Holland Prize (2013) and Gertrude Ashton Bowater Bequest Award (2012). He is currently teaching Queer Studies in Arts and Culture at Glasgow School of Art, UK. 
Portfolio LINK 
Research LINK 
Instagram: @ceglarzjakub 

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