Gutt and Raniszewski collaborated since the 1970s in exploring and developing extra-verbal methods of communication. Their work was a process of visual interactions, which they called ”conversations’. In a censored, stifled and alienated Cold War Poland they became fascinated with the “primitive cultures” and studied ritualistic methods of expression and communication, constructing and exploring a visual language.
‘The Grand Conversation’: Gutt spontaneously painted Raniszewski’s face which led the visual dialogue to a wooden mask, cut-outs, sets, a small cube.
‘Malowanie ciała / Wyrazy na twarzy – Body painting/ Face expressions’: Gutt described it as ‘face painting in a unique, surreal aura created by the context of a gloomy, hungry, disintegrating reality of a totalitarian state.’
‘Dzikość Dziecka – Children’s Ferality : a visual conversation with children in a series of creative actions and body-paintings investigating an unmediated language.
Our work, they were not just aesthetic or formal events. They were rich in terms of both form and meaning. Social functions, that is, the construction of interhuman relations, initiations and ceremonies, led to a communal creation. All the different members of the community took part and all of them performed a creative function. In a sense, these situations were close to the principles of the Open Form of Oskar Hansen. The construction of myths served as a point of ingress to another reality, which was often more important than that of everyday life. Instead of mimetic recreation, it was painting, ornament and body markings that gave rise to ephemeral, multi-vocal forms of expression.
Wiktor Gutt/Waldemar Raniszewski