A memorial is an object which serves as a focus for the memory or the commemoration of something or somebody. The most common type of memorial is the gravestone. Some memorials last longer than the memory of the events they commemorate.
My work lasts as long as its creative process and is inseparable from my person. Although I compose image sequences and occasionally installations, the nature of my actions is ephemeral in every respect. Few traces are left behind aside from documentation. The freedom and diversity of artistic expression, site-specificity and, above all, the direct contact between the artist and the audience are principles which guide me. Involving spectators with no prior agreement, I improvise so as to create interpersonal situations. Meeting new people and increasing the involvement of the audience in my actions became a goal even more important than the great need to be understood. I am fascinated by how much courage and passion is unleashed in us by the evanescent nature. It is extremely moving. I identify with it and I endeavor to portray it. I believe that such artistic output is needed more than ever in turbulent times of humanitarian and democratic crises.
Tomasz Szrama (b. 1970 in Poland) graduated in 1998 from the Academy of Fine Arts in Wroclaw, Poland. Currently he lives in Helsinki, Finland. Szrama shifts between multiple disciplines, including photography, video, action and other time-based works. Regardless of the medium, a dominant thread, common in his work is the use of his own body and methods of performance art, which he has practiced since 1995. Characteristic features of his actions are the use of spectators, active participation of the audience and improvisation. Such a strategy embeds his presentations into the tradition of understanding performance art as a process art, where the very moment of creation is essential. His work touches on themes of travel, trust in interpersonal relationships, and the ever present potential for personal failure.
Szrama has been regularly performing internationally in numerous events and festivals in 26 countries across Europe, Asia, Africa, North and South America. He works both in institutional contexts, venues such as the Museum Reina Sofia, Göteborgs Konsthall, Scandinavia House NYC, Bangkok Art Centre, and in unique locations such as the deck of an aircraft, a ferry boat, a village in the Mexican desert, a yurt in the Mongolian steppe.
Further, over the past 16 years, he has been an active performance art event organiser. Szrama has worked as a producer, designer, technical manager and has been responsible for organising live art events at HIAP – Helsinki International Artist Programme. Currently gives lectures and offers workshops. Szrama is a working grant recipient from the Arts Promotion Centre Finland for the year 2016, the years 2018–2020 and the year 2022, from the Kone Foundation for 2017 and the Finnish Cultural Foundation for 2021.