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Edward Krasiński and the Thin Blue Line

05/26/14

Polish artist Edward Krasiński (1925—2004) knew how to work a theme. His most iconic and readily recognizable pieces feature an almost maddening dedication to a steady blue strip of tape, running like an obsessive meridian throughout countless works. It persists like a white noise, at once present and diffused. Since its first use in in the late ‘60s, the tape appears again and again, always placed at a height of 1.3m, until the blue line effectively became Krasiński‘s calling card.

Of course, Krasiński’s specialty extended beyond the limitations of line. He was a sculptor and painter, specializing in the construction of particular spatial forms, instrumental in the neo-avant-garde in Poland’s art scene. His sculptures were atypical. They were not big, hulking masses, but instead made of rods, wires, cables—slighter, more narrow objects suspended in the air to infer the idea of movement. The aforementioned blue line came into being around 1968. Of its ubiquitousness in his work, Krasinski noted: I don't know if this is art. I know that it's a blue Scotch tape, width 19mm, length unknown. Always a wink, a nod, a lack of seriousness in a traditionally serious field--that’s what Krasiński was known for.

 

The blue tape effectively marked his territory, not just in the temporal, but the permanent. He owns that blue line and the blue line owns him. Indefinitely. 

 

Photos courtesy of Magazyn, Foksal Foundation Gallery, Art Basel Online and Art Info.