Fresh Talent Residency: an interview with Krzysztof Strzelecki

As part of our Fresh Talent programme, four artists were chosen to undertake a residency from a group of 25 that were part of our Fresh exhibition at the 2023 Biennial. Krzysztof was selected for a residency at the Guldagergaard International Ceramics Research Center in Denmark and will present his new work at our 2025 Biennial.

We asked Krzysztof to reflect on his time in Denmark and tell us about his experience during the residency and the impact on his artistic practice.


Introduction from Krzysztof

During my residency at the Guldagergaard Center in Skælskør, Denmark, I embarked on an immersive journey that has impacted my artistic practice. Surrounded by inspiring ceramic sculptures from other international artists, I found myself contemplating the interplay between past and present. The historic house’s collection has influenced my artistic direction, and established a bridge between history and contemporary expression.

The opportunity to connect with international artists was a highlight, leading to an exchange of ideas and techniques. Collaborating on projects has enriched my skill base and broadened my artistic horizons. Despite unexpected challenges, such as a piece exploding in the kiln, these experiences taught me resilience and adaptability. They underscored the importance of experimentation and the unpredictable nature of working with clay.


Overall, this residency has inspired me to push the boundaries of my practice, embracing new perspectives and innovative approaches in my future work.


The residency provided a valuable opportunity to step away from the hustle and bustle of city life and immerse myself in a communal environment.



Briefly talk about your practice

In my art practice, I create a world where subjects inhabit their environments freely. My ‘Cruising Fantasies’ series, for example, comprises ceramic vases exploring themes of erotic desire and the relationship between man and nature. From a distance, my work appears colourfully abstract, yet upon closer inspection, it reveals male figures engaged in intimate acts.

This series challenges the viewer’s tolerance toward the body and sexuality, and also explores how perceptions of the body have evolved. Using ceramics blurs the line between painting and sculpture, enhancing the theme of transformation. Through such work, I hope to spark conversations about identity, notions of beauty, and the blurring of past and present perspectives.



What were your expectations before starting your residency? Please tell us about your experience on location, the impact on your practice, and what surprised you the most

Viewing pictures online and on Google Maps before arriving did not prepare me for the real experience of this place. Situated in the picturesque town of Skælskør, Denmark, the Guldagergaard Center is nestled in the middle of a park that fosters creativity and relaxation. The surroundings were ideal for completing a project without distractions. Numerous sculptures by visiting artists surround the historic house and sparked a period of reflection. Time seemed to slow down, especially compared to the chaotic pace of big cities like London. The town is small but had everything I needed and is walkable. It was a refreshing change from my usual life, where grocery shopping without a delivery system or car can take two hours or more.

The climate in Denmark reminded me of my time living in Scotland. It rained a bit, but we appreciated every hour of sunshine, taking breaks to enjoy coffee on the terrace overlooking the idyllic garden. And, of course, the sea and a sandy beach were only a short 10-minute drive away. The surroundings are truly enchanting, offering a perfect balance of artistic immersion and leisure.



Was there any significant connection or collaboration with another artist or organisation? Will that continue?

What truly excited me about this residency was the opportunity to connect with other ceramic artists. During my time there I met artists from Australia, Sweden, Italy, Spain and Denmark. We not only exchanged ideas and techniques (which was invaluable) but also learnt about different cultures. Despite the short period and need to complete my project, I found time to collaborate on some small projects, experimenting with different firing techniques like coal firing and making plaster moulds together.

With a longer residency programme, I could have created even more collaborative projects. We often discussed our individual practices, what our art is about, and what we aim to convey. Hearing others’ thoughts at the early stages of a project encouraged me to reflect on my work. I have made new friends and we’re planning to visit each other’s studios or return to Guldagergaard to collaborate on something when we have more time.



What are you most excited to take forward in your practice?

Despite my expectations about learning and experimenting during my residency, I encountered unexpected events which obliged a change of plan. Although frustrating, this experience reminded me that clay has its own life. It forced me to view my art from a different perspective. When a piece exploded in the kiln, I was ready to discard it but, instead, I tried something new, and it paid off. This experience taught me to maintain distance and always be open to new ideas. Sometimes they work, and at other times they don’t – it’s all about the experience and outcomes.


See more of Krzysztof’s work.